The Las Vegas Raiders added wide receivers John Brown and Willie Snead but are also developing Bryan Edwards and Henry Ruggs III. Could this mean Hunter Renfrow is the odd man out? Doubtful.
A reliable playmaker for the Raiders
Since being selected in the fifth round in 2019, Renfrow has been the Raiders’ most reliable wideout. A legendary figure at Clemson, Renfrow has become the security blanket many expected him to be in the NFL. In 2020, Renfrow posted 56 catches for 656 yards and two touchdowns. These numbers are solid ones for a player who is almost strictly featured out of the slot. In 2021, however, some have expressed doubt in his ability to build on these numbers.
A crowded position group
With Ruggs and Edwards projected as the starters in 2021, the additions of Brown and Snead, and the return of Renfrow and Zay Jones, the Raiders have a lot of players at receiver. While Ruggs and Edwards will start, Renfrow will be the featured guy out of the slot again. Of course, speedster John Brown will see plenty of action in the ‘Nelson Agholor role’ as well. Anyone worried about Renfrow is doing so due to the addition of Snead. Snead, a slot receiver himself, had 432 yards for the Ravens last season. A solid year, but by no means is anyone positioning him to take over slot duties for Vegas.
— Marcus Mosher (@Marcus_Mosher) May 11, 2020
Due for a bigger role
Realistically, Renfrow is likely to see an increased role rather than a reduced one. This increase should be most noticeable in the red zone. This is due to his incredible ability in the short areas of the field. Those “Third and Renfrow” play calls should be dusted off for touchdowns as well. No one should be surprised if Renfrow records a career-high in touchdowns in 2021.
The biggest reason Renfrow is likely to improve on his 2020 statistical output is his relationship with quarterback Derek Carr. When watching the Raiders offense in 2020, it was clear he was Carr’s most trusted wide receiver. Looking to him in many high-level situations, Renfrow has converted more often than not. Carr also has no problem throwing to him in all areas of the field. He will throw him 1v1 balls despite his diminutive stature as well as consistent strikes over the middle of the field. This QB-WR relationship bodes well for the future of the offense as a whole.
No need to worry
Renfrow is not going anywhere in 2021. Not only does Derek Carr love him, but play-caller Jon Gruden does as well. Truly, he might be the best wideout on the roster. He is the best route runner, has tremendous hands, and understands spacing as well as anyone in the league. He will again be the go-to guy on third downs and a consistent chains mover. Although he’ll never be a star in the NFL, he will be a productive member of the Raiders for a long time.
You May Also Like: Raiders Add Depth At LB And CB With Latest Signings
*Top Photo: AP Photo/Charlie Riedel