Is Speed A Concern For The Las Vegas Raiders’ Offense?

Should fans be concerned about the lack of vertical speed within the Las Vegas Raiders’ offense?

The organization executed a massive trade for wide receiver Davante Adams, but as a whole, is there something missing? You’d think adding someone on Adams’ level would alleviate most, if not all, concerns regarding your offense. He’s a two-time All-Pro who’s caught double-digit touchdowns in five of his eight career seasons. You can add several other accolades to that. He’s averaged more than 97 yards per game in the last two seasons. Adams was also eighth in all-purpose yards last year with 1,553. That level of production takes the Raiders’ offense to another tier, and that’s not including how Hunter Renfrow will flourish in Josh McDaniels’ system.

The Raiders don’t have speed? One national writer believes so…

Tashan Reed of The Athletic recently mentioned that while Adams is a reliable deep threat, the receiver group as a whole, lacks downfield speed. In the excerpt below he points out that unless Tyron Johnson has a breakout year, stretching the field vertically could have its limitations in 2022.

“Davante Adams is still a deep threat despite not having blazing speed, but the Raiders don’t really have another one on the roster unless Johnson makes a leap. That doesn’t mean the passing offense won’t be dynamic — the trio of Adams, Hunter Renfrow and Darren Waller is one of the best in the league — but stretching the field vertically may be an issue.

The Raiders may decide they’re fine with that. If they’re not, Odell Beckham Jr., Will Fuller and Emmanuel Sanders are speedy receivers still on the free-agent market who could be options when the team has cap space in June.”

Are the Raiders banking on success from Tyron Johnson?

As it currently stands, the Raiders’ wide receiver group consists of Johnson, Bryan Edwards, Demarcus Robinson, and DJ Turner. These are, of course, the options after Adams and Renfrow. Johnson was signed last November by the Raiders and was active for five games but didn’t see any action. However, if you look at his 2020 season with the Los Angeles Chargers, he put together interesting numbers. Johnson caught 20 passes for three touchdowns and averaged nearly 20 yards per reception, his longest completion going for 55 yards.

He averaged 17 yards before a catch per reception, according to Pro Football Reference. While we don’t have any NFL Combine numbers, Johnson did participate in his pro day back on March 12, 2019. He posted notable numbers across the board, including running a 4.36 in his 40-yard dash. In addition, he ran a 2.53 time in his 20-yard split and ran 18.76 MPH in his 40-yard run. Combining his sample size as a pro and the numbers just listed, Johnson certainly possesses the speed that Reed was referring to. The question is, will the Raiders make use of it?

Does Las Vegas need to sign another wide receiver?

The Raiders could feasibly go after another receiver if they’re actually concerned with a “lack of speed.” There are several options, including Julio Jones and Will Fuller, but are they financially feasible? Any move wouldn’t come until after June 1st. As it stands, the Raiders would be best served by picking up reinforcements in other departments, such as linebacker and the defensive backfield. A trio of Adams, Renfrow, and tight end Darren Waller has more than enough firepower to light up defenses. They’ll do it in spite of an apparent lack of vertical speed.

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*Top Photo: Courtesy of ESPN

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