After being an area of need last season, the Las Vegas Raiders wide receiver corps looks in better shape in 2020. This past offseason, they made it a priority to upgrade the position through the draft and free agency. While rookies Henry Ruggs III and Bryan Edwards got plenty of attention, veteran Nelson Agholor has carved a niche for himself in the Silver and Black offense, but he deserves a bigger role.
The Raiders made the right decision when they signed Nelson Agholor
The Raiders were aggressive in free agency when looking for upgrades to their roster. Although most of their signings were on the defensive side of the ball, they made a few acquisitions on offense. They brought in quarterback Marcus Mariota, tight end Jason Witten and Agholor. Surprisingly, the former Eagles wide receiver is the one who has had the biggest impact this season.
We wouldn’t have blamed you if you thought Agholor was going to have a minimal impact. Heck, you could have made the case he wasn’t even going to make the roster. At the time of his signing, the Raiders had a surplus of wide receivers. Tyrell Williams was still part of the team’s plans and the team had a plethora of young players with upside. There was a chance ‘Nelly’ was going to be buried on the depth chart behind young wideouts.
In the end, Agholor made the cut and has played in every game this season. Against the Carolina Panthers in Week 1, he had only one reception, but it was for a touchdown. He hauled in just another pass the following game and it wasn’t until Week 3 that he saw an increase in targets.
Against the New England Patriots, he had two while he caught four versus the Buffalo Bills and scored his second touchdown of the season. More recently, Agholor had his best game with the Raiders and he did it while hauling in just two passes. Against the Kansas City Chiefs, he had a 59-yard touchdown, the first one the Silver and Black had at Arrowhead Stadium in Week 5. All in all, he had two receptions for 67 yards and a touchdown.
Nelson Agholor deserves a more prominent role moving forward
So far, Agholor has hauled in 10 receptions for 158 yards and three touchdowns. Moreover, he is only one of two receivers that have a perfect passer rating when their respective teams target them. Interestingly, his number of catches has remained relatively low even though his playing time has increased.
In the first two games of the season, Agholor played in only 19 percent of the team’s snaps on offense. His playing time went up in Week 3 but that was due to an ankle injury Bryan Edwards had in Week 2. Had the rookie wide receiver not sustained that lesion, Agholor’s snaps might not have gone up.
It’s possible that once Edwards comes back, Agholor’s role will decrease. However, the Raiders should strongly consider keeping ’15’ on the field as much as possible. After all, it doesn’t make sense to reduce the role of someone whose contributions have been key. It’s also true Edwards has lots of potential and the Raiders will slide him back in the lineup once he’s healthy. Nevertheless, they need to find a way to get both receivers involved in the offense. For the time being, Vic Tafur of The Athletic believes Agholor has earned a bigger role and he’s right.
The Raiders have a good problem at wide receiver. While they have to help Edwards develop, they can’t just sideline Agholor. He has delivered when he has had his name called and the team benefits from his presence on the field. They have to keep him there and let him do his thing.
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Top Photo: AP Photo/Charlie Riedel