The Las Vegas Raiders selected wide receiver Hunter Renfrow in the fifth round of the 2019 NFL Draft. Although expectations surrounding late-round selections are moderate, he turned out to be a playmaker for the Silver and Black in his first year.
Renfrow showed he can take over games towards the end of the 2019 season. He finished the year with a back-to-back 100-yard games after missing three outings with a rib injury. All in all, the Clemson product had 73 catches for 605 yards and four touchdowns. That’s more impressive when you consider almost half of his yards came in three games (Weeks 8, 16, and 17).
Also, don’t forget Renfrow was Pro Football Focus’ (PFF) fourth highest graded receiver last season. Only Terry McLaurin, Deebo Samuel and A.J. Brown had a higher note.
Hunter Renfrow: 4th highest-graded rookie WR in 2019pic.twitter.com/tUw5w2u62A
— PFF (@PFF) March 13, 2020
Contributing from the Slot
Even though the Raiders just drafted Henry Ruggs III and Bryan Edwards, Renfrow will likely have a significant role on offense. After all, he was quarterback Derek Carr’s go-to receiver in meaningful downs last season. His numbers might not reflect it, but when it came to targets, Renfrow had as much impact as some of the NFL’s top receivers. In a recent article, Ben Linsey of PFF broke down the league’s most targeted receivers by situation. Surprisingly, Renfrow’s name came up a couple times.
First, when Linsey listed receivers that had their names called on third or fourth downs. Renfrow No. 7 out of 10. Regarding the Raiders rookie receiver, the analyst said the following:
One name I do want to highlight here is Hunter Renfrow. In the flurry of strong seasons from rookie wide receivers in 2019, Renfrow’s name might fly a little under the radar. That shouldn’t be the case. His 76.5 receiving grade trailed only Terry McLaurin and A.J. Brown among all rookie wide receivers, and he’s already shown himself to be a reliable slot option that can be counted on for plays on key downs.
Rams wide receiver Cooper Kupp, the Browns’ Jarvis Landry, and the Chiefs’ Tyreek Hill were some of the receivers in that list. Later in the article, Renfrow popped up once again. Now when quarterbacks were under pressure. This time though, he took the sixth place with 84 routes, 17 targets and 20% rate. Finally, Renfrow was the fifth most targeted receiver in red zone situations, where he ran 42 routes, had 12 targets for a 28.6% rate.
What’s next in 2020?
Renfrow’s numbers should be even better in 2020. Despite the fact the Raiders added Ruggs and Edwards, the sophomore receiver should continue seeing a healthy amount of opportunities for two reasons. To begin with, Renfrow should be even more polished and productive in his second season. In 2019, he didn’t see more than four targets in his first seven games. The first time he saw more than four was in Week 9, when he had seven. After that, he would see five or six targets per outing.
The other reason why Renfrow will keep contributing is ironically the addition of Ruggs and Edwards. Even if they see plenty of passes their way, they will also open things up for Renfrow, who was easily covered last season since the Raiders lacked weapons on offense.
Renfrow won’t probably be confused with an All-Pro wide receiver anytime soon. However, he will continue to play an important role for the Raiders this upcoming season after a low-key campaign in which he thrived without much help.
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