And the Raiders 2019 Preseason Awards Go to…

Earlier this week, there was a message circulating on Raiders Twitter that encouraged fans to predict which players are going to win the 2019 Raiders Preseason Awards. Here’s my take.

Raiders Breakout Guy: Wide receiver Hunter Renfrow

Why would a rookie slot receiver be the breakout guy? It’s quite simple actually. With all the bigger names on offense such as wide receiver Antonio Brown, deep threat Tyrell Williams, and running back Josh Jacobs as the focal points of the offense, Renfrow will slip through the cracks. Renfrow had a 2% drop ratio his final year at Clemson and his specialty is chain moving. Capable of working in the slot or out wide, he do the dirty work across the middle, Renfrow reminds coach Jon Gruden of slot wide receiver Wes Welker.

Comeback Kid: Wide receiver Antonio Brown

How can “AB” aka “Mr. Big Chest” be the comeback kid? Last year, Brown was stricken by the Madden curse and through the offseason, his former pupil has been claiming he’s outshining the best in the business after one good season in the NFL as the number two guy in Pittsburgh. Brown wasted no time linking up and putting in work with quarterback Derek Carr. They already seem to have great chemistry and a motivated Brown is going to be dangerous.
Rising Star: Cornerback Gareon Conley

Conley was the last of Reggie’s picks and now that he’s healthy, he has shown why he was referred to as Conley Island back in college. Conley had a coming out party last season without much of a pass rush. The Raiders front seven has been upgraded and it will afford Conley opportunities to jump short routes and take interceptions to the house.
Dont forget about: Running back Chris Warren III

Warren led the NFL in preseason rushing last season. At 6’3″ 260 pounds, there is a need for a power specialist on this running back committee. The perceived starting offensive line averages 330 pounds to a man this season and the power look is enticing.

Needs to rebound: Quarterback Derek Carr

I am aware that Carr threw for 4,049 yards last season. He also threw for a career low in touchdowns (19) and threw an ungodly amount of interceptions inside the opponents redzone. Being sacked 51 times and on 8.4% of his dropbacks is a problem, but not all of those sacks were on his offensive line. The cupboards have been restocked and there is no shortage of talent around him. Now is the time for Carr to have an MVP-caliber season.
Darkhorse MVP: Offensive Tackle Trent Brown

Gruden has named Brown as a starter on the right side of the line. What does that mean? Brown is in line to stymie the pass rushers of the AFC West and force them into playing opposite of where they usually rush from. Pass rushers Von Miller, Joey Bosa, and Frank Clark are predominantly schemed to rush from the strong side of the line of scrimmage. Carr plays his best when he has a clean pocket, and Brown will be tasked with sealing the edge on offense. However, if Kolton Miller doesn’t bounce back from his struggles, a shift in sides may be in the cards for Brown.
Under the Rader: Defensive lineman P.J. Hall

Hall is an interior pass rushing specialist who is another forgotten man. With the addition of defensive end Clelin Ferrell, re-signing of Johnathan Hankins, a healthy Justin Ellis and more favored Maurice Hurst, everyone mentions the entire depth chart except for Hall, who beats his man often enough to be held early and often in games. Hopefully, he’s improved his strength and technique in the offseason and can finish more plays than last season.

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