The Las Vegas Raiders have revamped their wide receiver corps in the offseason. However, the group as a whole is a question mark ahead of the 2020 season.
The Raiders were conscious they needed to upgrade their wide receiver corps after a less than stellar 2019 season. Tyrell Williams was injured throughout the year and was not fully effective. Hunter Renfrow had a good rookie season, but he’s best suited in the slot. Knowing they needed a true number one wideout, Las Vegas selected a couple wide receivers in the draft, Henry Ruggs III and Bryan Edwards. Moreover, they added Nelson Agholor in free agency. Their wide receiver corps will certainly look quite different in 2020.
Potential comes with Uncertainty
Both Ruggs and Edwards showed in college they could take over games. Nevertheless, the pro game is quite different and at this point, it’s uncertain if their skill sets will translate into the NFL. That may or may not happen. Although Agholor has the physical tools to succeed, he hasn’t been able to become a steady contributor. In spite of all his talent, he may be running out of chances to show he can be a playmaker.
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What about the Returning
Williams is coming back from plantar fasciitis and although he hasn’t suffered any setbacks, he needs to show he’s healthy. Zay Jones didn’t have much chemistry with Derek Carr and didn’t have many passes thrown his way in 2019. After training together in the offseason, the duo should have a better rapport on the field. On the other hand, Renfrow put solid numbers once he bounced back from a rib injury in the last two games of the season. He should have no problems replicating his success.
Work in Progress
In spite of all the questions, it definitely seems like the Raiders improved after adding Edwards, Ruggs, and Agholor. Similarly, Williams, Jones, and Renfrow should be better than last year. On paper, this year’s wide receiver group is better than their 2019 counterpart. Nonetheless, it’s untested. For that reason, they are 19th in PFF’s latest wide receiver rankings. The advance statistics site says that overall, the Raiders wide receiver corps performed well in spite of parting ways with Antonio Brown before the 2019 season started. Likewise, they see tight end Darren Waller and Renfrow as key pieces going into next season.
“The disaster that wasÂ Antonio Brown’sÂ 2019 season and injuries toÂ Tyrell WilliamsÂ limited this group last season. However, the Raiders were still able to put up solid results offensively thanks to the emergence of pieces likeÂ Darren WallerÂ (86.8 receiving grade) andÂ Hunter RenfrowÂ (76.5 receiving grade). They added unteachable speed and athleticism to that group with their first pick in theÂ 2020 NFL DraftÂ by selectingÂ Henry Ruggs IIIÂ out of Alabama. Ruggs’ production with the Crimson Tide won’t blow you away, butÂ he has the tools to be a complete wide receiver at the next level, and not just a deep threat. It remains to be seen if he can be that player right out of the gate, though.”
The fact the Raiders doubled down at wide receiver in the draft should boost their chances of getting better in 2020. Similarly, the rewards of signing Agholor outweigh the risk, which is minimal. The Raiders deserve praise for being self-aware and prioritizing the position in the offseason.
The Raiders wide receiver corps should definitely be better this upcoming season. How much? It remains to be seen.
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