Rookie surprise: Raiders WR Louis Murphy

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Posted by ESPN.com’s Bill Williamson

Louis Murphy is far from a finished product. But he is a bright spot for the Raiders.

The fourth-round pick from Florida has become a major part of the offense. Murphy has started all season and has 11 catches for 172 yards. He is tied with tight end Zach Miller for the team lead in receptions.

Murphy has a strong chance of staying in the starting lineup when No. 1 receiver Chaz Schilens comes back in the next few weeks from a broken foot.

Murphy was considered a strong prospect when he was drafted. He was successful for the Gators. He has good tools and a chance to be a strong possession receiver for years to come.

But Murphy wasn’t expected to have such a huge role so early in his career with the Raiders. That role was supposed to be taken by No. 7 overall draft pick Darrius Heyward-Bey. But Murphy has overshadowed Heyward-Bey since the May minicamp.

If you didn’t know better, you’d think Murphy was the first-round pick and Heyward-Bey was the mid-rounder. Heyward-Bey has two catches. Murphy has had at least two catches in each game.

Murphy has proven to be clutch. He had a go-ahead, 57-yard touchdown on opening night against San Diego before the Chargers came back in the final seconds. Murphy still has a way to go and has had his share of drops, but he is clearly a player to watch down the road and he is already exceeding expectations.