The Las Vegas Raiders 2020 free-agent class last season was disappointing, to say the least. However, there were still a handful of newcomers who pulled their weight in 2020.
One of the many factors that led to the Raiders’ second-straight late-season collapse was a lack of production from free agents such as Maliek Collins, Carl Nassib, and Cory Littleton. Nonetheless, a few additions were pleasant surprises and deserve credit for their efforts.
Who were the Las Vegas Raiders’ best free agents in 2020?
Nick Kwiatkoski, linebacker
Despite not being the biggest linebacker addition for Las Vegas, Nick Kwiatkoski‘s play was a sight for sore eyes. For too many years, the Raiders have always had trouble finding talent at linebacker and ’44’ filled his role nicely. He was an efficient tackler, finishing fourth amongst the team even though he missed four games. He only allowed a 57.4 completion rate and a 77.3 passer rating.
Moreover, Kwiatkoski forced a turnover in back-to-back games. The first one ended a Clevaland Browns drive in Raiders territory with a forced fumble. The second, didn’t matter as much but came from a fancy one handed catch in the final minutes of a Denver Broncos blowout. With two years left on his contract, he can be someone the Raiders count on for that time being.
Devontae Booker, running back
Running back Devontae Booker signed a modest one-year $1 million contract last offseason. He was second-string to Josh Jacobs but actually finished with a higher yards per rush (4.5 to 3.9). He finished the year with 507 total yards from scrimmage. His best game as a Raider came in Week 10 against Denver, where he racked up 81 rushing yards and two trips to the end zone.
Booker was surely a nice addition overall considering that Jacobs wasn’t as productive as last year. Unfortunately, he may not return in 2021.
Nelson Agholor, wide receiver
Wide receiver Nelson Agholor after not panning out with the Philadelphia Eagles for his dropping issues. He had to prove himself in a loaded wide receiver corps. With injuries to rookies Henry Ruggs III and Bryan Edwards, someone had to step up and ‘Nelly’ came through.
His connection with quarterback Derek Carr was excellent and finished with 896 receiving yards and eight touchdowns. There were more than plenty of times where he was just unstoppable on deep passes which was something the Raiders missed the previous year. Another nice stat from his 2020 season was that he averaged a stunning 18.6 yards per reception.
Even off the field, he impressed some fans when a story in The Athletic, stating that he went out of his way to call out his teammates after a disastrous loss to Miami. It’s unsure if he will look to return next season but if the price is right, then a deal must be made.
Honorable Mention: Marcus Mariota, quarterback
Despite only playing one game and a troublesome contract situation, credit must be due. When Carr suffered a groin injury early in Week 15, Marcus Mariota brought honor to the meaning of “Next man up”. Even though the Raider lost in overtime, Mariota gave a valiant effort with 314 total yards and two total touchdowns. With indications that he could be traded or cut to save money, fans can at least remember that performance and wish him luck elsewhere.
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