This offseason, the Raiders set out to improve their receiving core and they accomplished this goal by adding two of the best wide receivers on the market: Antonio Brown and Tyrell Williams. Quarterback Derek Carr and Oakland’s offense now have a legitimate deep threat in Williams.
With Williams’ background as an all-state and collegiate track star, it should come as no surprise that he has been a legitimate deep threat in the NFL. According to Pro Football Focus, he had a deep pass catch rate of 52.9%, which ranked 11th in the league (minimum eight deep targets) in 2018. This could make him and Carr a perfect match because last season, the quarterback posted a 49% accuracy rate on deep passes, which was the fifth highest of any passer (minimum 18 attempts) in the NFL. Also, he ranked tenth in yards per deep attempt with 14.2 and Williams posted 20.47 yards per deep target, which was good enough for seventh best in the league. Carr should be happy that the team added Williams because the playmaker is a weapon the team was lacking last season.
Last season, the Raiders offense lacked a legitimate deep threat. Jordy Nelson’s 17.6 yards per deep attempt ranked 17th in the league. The two players who had the most amounts of deep catches were Nelson and Seth Roberts who combined for nine; Williams had the same amount by himself. He also out gained Roberts and Nelson together on deep catches by 38 yards (348 to 310). Taking all of this into consideration, I think it’s safe to say Tyrell Williams will be a welcomed addition to Oakland’s offense. General manager Mike Mayock and head coach Jon Gruden certainly did their homework with this addition.
Concerns about the offensive line are legitimate. The Raiders offensive line has to be better and give Carr time to throw the ball down the field. Failing to improve Carr’s protection will certainly make it difficult for Williams to replicate his 2018 success. However, consider this: Last season Oakland’s pass protection ranked 30th (according to Pro Football Focus) and the Chargers finished 31th. Williams has proved that he can be productive with a less than stellar offensive line.
*Pro Football Focus defines a deep passes as targets of 20 yards or more