NAPA — If wide receiver Brice Butler doesn't know about Ken-Yon Rambo, it's worth his time and effort to find out soon so that he can avoid the kind of pitfall that derailed Rambo's once-promising Raiders career.
Like Butler, Rambo joined the Raiders as a seventh-round draft pick on a team with plenty of receiver depth. Butler also followed the trail blazed by Rambo by turning a late-game catch into a pivotal touchdown in his Raiders debut Friday night.
The key now is for Butler to build upon his fast start and not flame out the way Rambo did in 2001. The Raiders released Rambo at the end of training camp. Butler still has plenty of time to bolster his stock.
“He's been a nice surprise,” Raiders coach Dennis Allen said of Butler.
Yet, what he has done so far is little more than a nice start in the overall scheme of things. It's imperative Butler not get complacent and make too much of his showing against the Dallas Cowboys, when Butler led all receivers with 70 yards on his two receptions.
“We'll make sure we keep our thumb on him, make sure he doesn't read too much of the good stuff (reporters are) going to write about him,” Allen said.
Butler arrived from San Diego State via Southern Cal, the ninth of 10 players selected by the Raiders in the NFL draft in April.
He joined a crowded field of hopefuls that included undrafted rookies Greg Jenkins, Conner Vernon and Sam McGuffie and inexperienced players such as Travionte Session, Isaiah Williams and Juron Criner.
Making the leap from prospect to the opening-game, 53-man roster entails standing out during practice and games.
Denarius Moore did just that in 2011 and went from fifth-round draft pick to starting receiver. Rod Streater followed suit in 2012 in going from undrafted rookie to opening-day starter. Now it's Butler who is surging to the head of the class and making a push for not only a roster spot but meaningful playing time.