Back in 2016, Las Vegas Raiders quarterback Derek Carr had an amazing year throwing to wide receiver Michael Crabtree. Is Nelson Agholor the 2.0 version?
Agholor has been one of the best surprises to come out of the Raiders 2020 free-agent class. The team’s brass signed him in an effort to revamp a wide receiver room that needed help. Despite being 27, he is the most experienced receiver on the Silver and Black’s roster. Although his 17 receptions are not going to jump off the page, his impact has been off of the charts.
Agholor’s explosiveness and creativity are helping him average over 20 yards per reception, and just under a third of his passes have gone for touchdowns. There should be another touchdown to his name, unfortunately, an illegal formation took it way versus the Bills.
Agholor’s reliability to win his one on one matchups is something that Raider Nation hasn’t seen in a few years. In fact, this chemistry is becoming eerily similar to the one between Crabtree quarterback Derek Carr.
How does Agholor match up for the Raiders?
Agholor isn’t going to go for 89 receptions or break 1,000 yards as Crabtree did in his massive 2016 season. His strength lays on turning a 50/50 ball into an 80/20 catch, something that is as mesmerizing as the corner fades. That is very similar to what Crabtree did in 2016. We all know that Carr needs absolute trust in his receivers in order to throw those kinds of passes. For the time being, it seems he and ‘Nelly’ have that connection, as he once did with Crabtree.
But how similar are their impacts? The squads that Crabtree played on are very different than the one ’15’ is on right now. Agholor is on a team that features Darren Waller, Josh Jacobs, and a slew of wide receivers that can also take the top off of the defense. Oh, and this is all under head coach Jon Gruden’s offensive scheme. So obviously, Agholor’s not in the same scenario as Crabtree was, but he doesn’t need to be. See, Crabtree was a focal point, along with Amari Cooper who sometimes would disappear from time to time, turning him into the WR1.
Agholor is not the WR1 for the Raiders, but he might be the most important wide receiver the team haves this season. His deep threat capabilities and reliability to make a big play when one is desperately needed is unmatched by anybody in Gruden’s wide receiver room, so far.
Some final words
At the time of the signing, bringing Agholor looked like a peculiar move. Be that as it may, the team desperately needed help at the spot. Everyone believed Agholor would just be another training camp body at the time of the signing. With Agholor’s time in Philadelphia ending on a sour note, we didn’t know what to expect. So far, it’s easy to say that Raider Nation has fully embraced him given his play. His continued success and trust with Carr will be vital for the Raiders push for a post-season birth.
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*Top Photo: Wade Vandervort/Las Vegas Sun