As the NFL season gets underway this week, the Las Vegas Raiders will finally get to show what kind of team they truly are. For one final time, here are the players to watch in 2021.Â
Best Player: Darren Waller
This one is pretty obvious. After a season where he recorded 107 catches, 1,196 yards, and nine touchdowns, Waller is not just the best player on the Raiders, he is one of the best in the NFL. For Waller, he will once again lead the Silver and Black’s passing attack. Look for him to surpass 1,000 yards once again while cementing himself as one of the most dominant weapons the tight end position has ever seen.
Most Overrated: Gerald McCoy
While McCoy is certainly one of the best interior defensive linemen of the past several years, those days are likely behind him. To make matters worse for the 33-year-old, he’s one year removed from a ruptured quad. A six-time Pro Bowler, those days are behind him.
Most Underrated: K.J. Wright
Truthfully, Wright is one of the most underrated players in the NFL. Easily the best linebacker on the Raiders, he’s one of the best in the NFL. On the Raiders, he will slot perfectly back in as Gus Bradley’s starting strong-side linebacker. He will bring experience, knowledge, and leadership to the Raiders defense in 2021.
Biggest Addition: Yannick Ngakoue
As anyone who watched the Raiders in 2020 will tell you, the team lacked a pass rush. Looking to fix it for 2021, the Raiders added a pass rush extraordinaire in Ngakoue. The best pass rusher the Silver and Black have had since Khalil Mack, Ngakoue gives the whole unit a much-needed facelift. Look for the Raiders to have a much-improved pass rush this season.
Prove It Year: Henry Ruggs III
This one is pretty easy. After being the first wideout drafted in 2020, Ruggs disappointed in his rookie year. In 2021, Ruggs is the clear WR1. Gone is Nelson Agholor, so the Alabama product will have to prove he can carry the load as a number one pass catcher in the NFL. If he cannot do so, heads are likely to roll in the Raiders front office.
*Top Photo: L.E. Baskow/Las Vegas Review-Journal