The Las Vegas Raiders came away from the 2019 NFL Draft with some steals. Among them, was former Clemson Tiger Hunter Renfrow.
Renfrow was selected in the fifth round of the 2019 NFL Draft and throughout the season, he outperformed his draft status. As the Raiders continue to build their offensive identity in head coach Jon Gruden’s third year, Renfrow’s development will be key.
A Look Back at 2019
In a season that arguably was defined by the Antonio Brown debacle, Renfrow was a ray of hope. As far as receiving with the Raiders as a whole, tight end Darren Waller led the them in receptions. It was a shift from Jared Cook, who is now a New Orleans Saint, and had the same accomplishment.
One way or another, the Raiders and Derek Carr need the receiving group to be dramatically better in 2020 if they want to improve on their 7-9 record. The quarterback has to be able to trust and believe in his outside weapons. You could say Renfrow was the biggest standout in 2019.
A quote from Gruden on what he thought of Renfrow, “I think the young kid from Clemson is special”.
Indeed, Renfrow was special this past year for the Raiders, although he missed three games because of an rib injury, he led Raiders wide receivers with 49 catches for 607 yards and four touchdowns. Pro Football Focus gave him an impressive 76.0 rating in his rookie year.
The young man from Clemson broke out despite only having four starts, becoming a safety blanket for Carr on third down while showing sleek route running and great hands. After Week 9, his yards per reception really took off, which is an indication of what we can expect next season. In his final two games, his catch average was an impressive, 15.29 and 17.0 respectively. Also noteworthy, he scored a touchdown in those last two matches as well.
We could only imagine what might’ve been if he hadn’t missed the three games he did after leaving the New York Jets game early in the first half. In spite of that, his toughness left a very lasting impression of what he could become for Raider Nation.
Impressive Down The StretchThe last few weeks, Renfrow showed his talent to the fans when he put up some big time numbers for a slot receiver. Carr started to trust him and you can tell he was his go-to wideout not name Darren Waller. In the final two games, he piled up 13 catches for 210 yards with two touchdowns and in those matches, he reached 100-plus receiving yards and showed some big time after catch abilities.
Jon Gruden was quoted telling the Las Vegas journal “ We asked him to do a lot, he ran some routes that were outstanding.”
When the Raiders play their first game in the new stadium, Renfrow will have plenty of time to make his mark in Gruden’s offense. There will be many changes at that position this offseason, but one thing’s for sure, Renfrow isn’t going anywhere but upward in this offense.
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