Raiders Had One of NFL’s Weakest WR Corps In 2019

The Las Vegas Raiders signed Tyrell Williams to lead their wide receiver group in 2019. Nevertheless, he didn’t have the impact the team expected, and no other receiver was a threat on a constant basis. It’s not surprising to look back and learn they had one of the bottom-ranked units last season.

Williams started the year strong scoring one touchdown in five consecutive weeks. Also, Hunter Renfrow finished the season strong with a couple back-to-back 100-yard games… but that’s it. There isn’t much to salvage from the 2019 Raiders wide receiver corps. The highlights were scarce and far between. Opposing teams didn’t have to game plan for any Las Vegas wideout.

Even the Raiders tight ends had much more of an impact than their wide receiver counterpart. Darren Waller led the team with 90 catches for 1,145 yards. Together with rookie Foster Moreau, they accounted for eight touchdowns, more than one-third of quarterback Derek Carr’s 21. It was clear they needed upgrades at wide receiver.

This past draft, the Raiders selected a couple wide receivers. Henry Ruggs III and Bryan Edwards will bring speed and physicality to a group that lacked both last season.

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Looking Back at the 2019 Raiders Wide Receivers In the Meantime

It’s not surprising to see the 2019 Raiders wide receiver group rank almost at the very bottom of the league. That’s precisely what happened when Pro Football Focus (PFF) placed them at No. 31. In a recent article, Steve Palazzolo of PFF ranked the NFL’s wide receiver corps from best to worst.

Palazzolo is sure to point out Renfrow seems poised to be the Raiders go-to slot receiver this season. Moreover, he believes Williams may be better on a secondary role.

Hunter Renfrow was the highest-graded receiver on the team a year ago, at 75.5 overall, as the rookie caught 49 passes for 605 yards and became a valuable weapon in the slot. Tyrell Williams was signed to stretch the field, and he produced along his career baseline with a 66.7 receiving grade while averaging 15.5 yards per reception. He is a complementary piece who will be most effective if [Henry] Ruggs does draw most of the defense’s attention.

Ruggs and Edwards Can Infuse Playmaking Prowess

Palazzolo pointed out that Ruggs’ addition will definitely help the group as a whole. On the other hand, the analyst wonders if the Raiders will feed him the ball enough. Also, he’s uncertain whether other teams will treat him as a true No. 1.

They had their pick of any receiver in the draft and went with the fastest option in Henry Ruggs III, who ran a 4.27 at the scouting combine. That speed shows up on the field, too, as Ruggs can get behind the defense or take it to the house on screens or slants. The question is how much he’ll be fed and if he’ll be treated like a true No. 1. Even if Ruggs is an 80-to-100-target receiver who creates big plays and alters gameplans, he’ll add the proper first-round value, but Las Vegas’ expectations might be even higher.

Although Edwards’ physicality isn’t in question, his ability to create separation is.

The other key draft pick is third-rounder Bryan Edwards, a physical 215-pounder with a great highlight reel who didn’t create separation as well as the top receivers in the class.

General manager Mike Mayock knew the Raiders wide receiver bunch needed an infusion of talent. He came out of the draft with a couple potential upgrades that on paper automatically make the unit stronger. However, Raiders brass will only see how improved the group will be until kickoff.

In the meantime, the Raiders can look back and keep in mind they need to score more points if the want to qualify for the playoffs.

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Top Photo: Darren Yamashita/USA TODAY Sports

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