Nelson Agholor is Raiders reclamation project

The Las Vegas Raiders lacked a true number one wide receiver in 2019 and will probably select one in the 2020 NFL Draft. In the meantime, they signed Nelson Agholor.

Not every deal the Raiders make has to be franchise altering, some low-key signings provide depth or give the coaching staff the chance to work with players that for whatever reason didn’t pan out with other teams. Agholor belongs in the second category after a less than stellar career. Pro Football Focus made their case for the wide receiver:

In 2017, he was moved to the slot, where he no longer had to negotiate aggressive physical press on the outside and where he could exploit his quickness. Including the playoffs, he had career highs in PFF grade (74.9), yards (935 receiving) and touchdowns (8) and his quarterbacks had a passer rating of 114.5 when throwing his way. He caught the highest rate of targets in his career as well (71.3%) and looked like a player that could be a very useful member of a receiving corps that just needs an inside threat.

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His success in the slot came after Agholor dropped 11 catchable passes in his first two seasons and hardly displayed the impact he was expected to have on the field.

To his credit, Agholor was drafted by former Eagles coach Chip Kelly, who seemed lost and confused more often than not. It’s not a coincidence that the wide receiver thrived once Kelly was shown the door. Agholor may never be an elite player but can fill a niche for the Raiders.

There’s something to take into account when talking about Agholor’s role with the team: He plays the same position as the rising Hunter Renfrow. It will be unlikely Agholor takes over Renfrow’s spot and unless the Raiders employ packages that feature both at the same time, the former first round pick might not see the field much unless Renfrow gets hurt. In other words, Agholor may have limited opportunities to have an impact.

Agholor is far from being a featured receiver and could be running out of chances. Nevertheless, he needs to make the most of the opportunity the Raiders are giving him, as bleak as it may be.

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Gabe Martin

I think he’s a great depth pick up. I have seen Agholor nake some really good plays. I’ve also seen him sacrifice his body and make some good play springing blocks. Raiders have had several great or could be great receivers with plenty of drops. That is the one must in my mind that Raiders must demand across the board within their receiving corps.