When Davante Adams is part of your team’s receiving corps, you can be happy about the position. When Adams is joined by Hunter Renfrow, who earned a trip to the Pro Bowl in 2021, the unit is a strength. If you add Jakobi Meyers, DeAndre Carter and Philip Dorsett to that same group, you simply aren’t playing fair. Dave Ziegler, the general manager of the Las Vegas Raiders, isn’t interested in fairness.
When Dave Ziegler became the next general manager of the Raiders, he wasted little time acquiring the league’s top wideout. Less than two months into his tenure, Ziegler dropped a bomb on the NFL world by trading for first-team All-pro receiver Davante Adams. Some months later, Hunter Renfrow received a two-year extension, giving the team’s WR unit a pair of Pro Bowlers for some time.
In March of 2023, Ziegler added Jakobi Meyers and Philip Dorsett; the latter who posted a perfect quarterback rating when lined up in the slot during his most recent season in Josh McDaniels’ system. As the month was coming to an end, the Raiders announced the signing of DeAndre Carter, who totaled 538 receiving yards with three touchdowns in 2022.
From top to bottom, Las Vegas’ receiving unit doesn’t feel fair.
Depth and versatility stand out in Raiders’ WR room
The depth is obvious; there’s much more to this unit than depth, though. It’s the different ways these players can create unique, explosive packages.
Adams stands alone as one of the league’s most versatile receivers. It doesn’t matter if he lines up in the slot or on the outside, against man or zone coverage – he’s an instant mismatch regardless. In 2022, Adams earned the third-highest grade league-wide when playing in the slot (91.8), via Pro Football Focus. Against man coverage, Adams posted a grade of 82.8, and finished fourth at his position vs. zone with a mark of 89.4.
It’s no secret that Davante Adams is elite at his craft, but his dominance in the slot is often overlooked.
The Raiders’ WR room houses many players who dominate in the slot, in fact. Renfrow was dubbed “Slot Machine” by Raider Nation in year’s past, and both Meyers and Dorsett have worked wonders there. Last season, Meyers posted a passer rating of 117.4 when targeted in the slot, while Dorsett finished with the fourth-highest league-wide at 148.8. This is nothing new for Dorsett; last time he was part of McDaniels’ system, he finished the season with a perfect QB rating inside.
With a 4.33 40-time, Dorsett can make things happen on the outside as well. As can Meyers, who not only can line up both inside and out, but is masterful on trick plays. As a passer, Jakobi has completed four passes in four attempts for 88 yards and a pair of touchdowns. The Raiders had their receivers pass the ball more than once under McDaniels in 2022.
Carter scored three times with the Chargers last season. All three touchdowns came in the slot.
Rounding out the room
With players such as Cam Sims, Tyler Johnson and D.J. Turner fighting for a roster spot, it’ll be hard for the Raiders not to carry six receivers. Still, history has shown McDaniels doesn’t often do this. Not only did Las Vegas go into their ’22 campaign with only five receivers rostered, but oftentimes the Patriots did as well.
Matthew Slater appeared as a frequent sixth receiver in New England, but the five-time All-Pro is purely a special teamer. Slater has been targeted eight times in his 15-year career with the team.
Still, it’s not impossible for six receivers to make the team.
Should this be the case, 6’5 Cam Sims is a towering presence on the outside. D.J. Turner is a shifty playmaker who fought his way onto the 53-man roster last season, and Tyler Johnson was signed prior to free agency’s start. Each of these players have a real shot to make the roster, and each feel equally unfair as a WR6.
Both camp and preseason will play major parts for the Raiders. No matter how the unit shakes up, though, one thing is for certain – this is a group Raider Nation should be excited about. Dave Ziegler doesn’t play around when it comes to receivers.
*Top Photo: ESPN
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