One of the most pressing needs for the Las Vegas Raiders this offseason was a competent wide receiver group. After adding talent in both the draft and free agency while getting back a couple of players, the unit is definitely better than it was last year.
The Las Vegas Raiders wide receiver group is a mix of youth and veterans
Last season, the Raiders receiving leader was tight end Darren Waller with 90 catches for 1,145 yards. Second and third in the list with 651 yards and 605 respectively, were Tyrell Williams and Hunter Renfrow. No other wideout on the roster surpassed the 200-yard mark, so upgrades were definitely necessary.
The Raiders took matters into their hands and drafted Henry Ruggs III and Bryan Edwards. Moreover, they added veteran Nelson Agholor in free agency. The newcomers will join a group that includes a now healthy Williams and Renfrow. All of them have different skill sets, so the Raiders not only got replenished the position, they now have options.
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Hunter Renfrow welcomes his new teammates
Despite the new additions to the wide receiver corps, Renfrow will still have a key role in the offense. Last season, the Clemson product hauled 49 passes and four touchdowns even though he missed three contests. Also, he only became a factor towards the end of the year, finishing with back-to-back 100-yard games.
In his latest press conference, Renfrow talked about watching Ruggs and Ewards in action. The sophomore says that playing wide receiver comes naturally for his rookie counterparts.
“It’s been so impressive to watch them play honestly. I felt like last year I was messing up a route or just a concept every other play and you barely have any with them. Just the intelligence that they’re bringing, it really has been really impressive.”
Renfrow says the Raiders rookie duo are some of the best players he’s seen in his whole playing career. He says they have been able to grasp the complexity of the pro game while working on their technique.
“Whether it’s a freshman coming in in college or I guess my second training camp watching rookies, they’re two of the best I’ve ever seen between Bryan and Henry for sure. Because you have so much just going on your head, just making sure you line up the right way and then, how you wanna attack these guys, but there’s no technique. What’s been impressive is they’re finding ways to kind of remember what to do and then finding better ways to do it.”
The Raiders did a good job of addressing their dearth at wide receiver this offseason. While they still need to step on the football field and play some meaningful games, the improvement is noticeable. We wouldn’t be surprised if the unit goes from being a liability last season to be a strength in 2020. The pieces are there, it’s just a matter of production matching the noise.
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Top Photo: John Locker, Pool/Associated Press