Heading into the 2022 season, the Las Vegas Raiders had a surplus of talent at the wide receiver position. Yet, that season has come and gone, and the team heads into the offseason with a plethora of problems to fix. Looking at the Raiders’ depth chart, do the Raiders currently have their number-two receiver? If not, they may find some intriguing options during free agency or the NFL Draft. Even so, do Hunter Renfrow and Mack Hollins have a future in Josh McDaniels’ offense? Other than Davante Adams, will the Raiders’ wide receiver corps look different in 2023?
The Raiders’ current options at WR2
We all know that the Raiders already possess their number one receiver. Adams is easily one of the better receivers in the league, so there’s no problem in that area. Las Vegas also has Hunter Renfrow. Renfrow, due to some injuries, had a rough outing last year. However, when healthy, Renfrow is one of the best slot receivers in the NFL. So, the Raiders have their WR1 and slot receiver. What about WR2?
Mack Hollins was a pleasant surprise for Raider Nation in 2022. Hollins had a great start to the year and cemented himself as an important option in the offense, showing himself as a player who can be relied upon. Unfortunately, Hollins’ contract has now expired. If the Raiders can bring him back, he may fill the secondary role for the foreseeable future. Unfortunately, the Raiders will be forced to contend with the rest of the league for his services.
Outside of these three, the Raiders struggled to find much production. Keelan Cole had some moments but wasn’t consistent enough. D.J. Turner has potential, but we haven’t had a chance to judge him in non-preseason action. At the moment, the Raiders do not have a true WR2.
Can free agency provide some answers for the Raiders?
There are a couple good receivers that will be hitting the open market this year. However, while the cream of the crop is impressive, the talent level does drop off a bit afterwards. Nelson Agholor, Sterling Shepard, and Mecole Hardman represent the top three options at the moment.
A reunion with Agholor would be a welcome sight for many Raiders’ fans. However, his latest season wasn’t reminiscent of his time in Las Vegas. Agholor had a rough year in 2022, one that amounted to just 362 yards on 31 receptions. The Raiders could attempt to revive his career a second time, but he isn’t exactly going to result in guaranteed production if signed.
Sterling Shepard had his season cut very short after tearing his ACL in Week 3. Still, Shepard has put together a solid career up to this point, with over 4,000 career yards. However, Shepard is coming off an ACL injury and will be 30 next season. Mecole Hardman finds himself in a similar situation. Hardman has struggled with injuries that have sidelined him for a large portion of this season. However, Hardman is still just 24 and would be the best option of these three. Bringing Hardman out alongside Adams with Hunter Renfrow in the slot would be a nightmare for opposing defenses.
What about the draft?
Frankly, wide receiver isn’t a position the Raiders should be targeting with their first-round selection. If the Raiders want to find a prospective WR2 in the draft, it will likely come during or after round two.
Now, there are a couple of playmakers here. Josh Downs, Jaxon Smith-Njigba, and Rashee Rice are three difference-makers that could be available in the second round for the Raiders. However, that’s not a guarantee, and with other holes on the roster, it might be wiser to look elsewhere.
How do the Raiders get their WR2?
With all of this in mind, the Raiders have two solid options here. Since receiver shouldn’t rank too high on the team’s needs, their high draft picks will likely be used elsewhere. Las Vegas doesn’t have a WR2 on the roster currently, so free agency seems to be the best option. The best choice the Raiders can make here is to try to re-sign Hollins or take a chance on Hardman.
Mack Hollins filled the WR2 role nicely last year and has established chemistry with his teammates. Hardman brings in more talent, likely at a higher price tag. Either of these two would likely give you some bang for your buck.