Raiders WR battle? Hunter Renfrow and Jakobi Meyers are primed to duke it out.

Hunter Renfrow or Jakobi Meyers: Who Will Be The No. 2 WR For The Las Vegas Raiders?

There are always tantalizing position battles to monitor during NFL training camp. When the Las Vegas Raiders start camp in July, there’ll be one position worth monitoring: the second wide receiver slot. Davante Adams will obviously be the de facto WR1 on the roster; that’s not breaking news. The battle we’re referring to will be between Hunter Renfrow and newcomer Jakobi Meyers. Unless there’s a roster shakeup in the near future, let’s take a look at the top two candidates.

It’s Hunter Renfrow’s spot to lose, right?

Hunter Renfrow did not make many headlines in 2022. He sustained a concussion early on, then an abdominal strain in November that landed him on injured reserve. Renfrow played in only 10 games and hauled in 36 receptions for 330 yards. Renfrow, statistically, did not finish anywhere near the top receivers in the NFL. He amassed just two touchdowns with a 9.2-yard average per reception.

Hunter unfortunately had more fumbles than touchdowns, with three turnovers. It was a far cry from his previous Pro Bowl campaign.

Football fans routinely suffer from “recency bias.” In other words, fans have a short-term memory. It’s possible that the current regime also does, given the trade rumors floating around. It would be worthwhile to not completely forget Renfrow’s production in his prior three seasons. Renfrow did not miss a game in 2021 or 2020. Hunter stepped up for the Silver and Black in 2021 after the Henry Ruggs tragedy. In fact, he was the de facto WR1. Renfrow dialed in his first 1,000-yard season with nine touchdowns and played a significant role in the Raiders first playoff berth since 2016.

No. 13 has a unique style of route running, and despite not having elite speed, he creates an average of 2.16 yards of target separation. Renfrow has been a solid and reliable target for the Raiders, and if he is healthy in 2023, he can be a trustworthy weapon for Jimmy Garoppolo. Let’s face it, if healthy, Renfrow has the potential to flourish in Josh McDaniels’ system.

The “Patriot Way” points to the newest member of the Raiders: Jakobi Meyers

A significant number of Raiders fans will remember Jakobi Meyers for his errant attempt to beat the Raiders by throwing an interception to Chandler Jones in Week 15. The Raiders ended up winning that game, so they can’t be too upset with Meyers. It was not a shock to anyone that the Raiders signed another former New England Patriot.

Everything being fair, it was interesting with the presence of Davante Adams and Hunter Renfrow.

Meyers, similar to Hunter Renfrow, is entering his fifth season in the NFL after spending the previous four in New England. Still, he never eclipsed 1,000 yards in the Patriots offense but had a productive final season, finishing with 804 receiving yards for six touchdowns. Meyers had an average of 12.0 yards per reception and missed three games in 2022 due to knee and shoulder injuries.

Meyers, again similar to Renfrow, is more effective as a slot receiver and is not known for blazing speed. He created an average separation of 2.04, just slightly less than “Third and Renfrow.” Meyers’ physical attributes are what make him an interesting option for Jimmy Garoppolo, as he stands at 6’2″ and weighs 200 pounds. Comparatively, Renfrow stands at 5’10”, weighing in at 185 pounds. When it comes to targets for Garoppolo, it may come down to “the bigger, the better.”

If I had to bet…

When camp begins for the Raiders, there should be an epic matchup. Renfrow and Meyers will be battling to determine who will receive the majority of the target share behind Adams. Based on past performances and statistics, Renfrow should have the advantage in this scenario. It should help Renfrow that his play style has been compared to former Patriot receivers Julian Edelman and Danny Amendola. (Amendola currently serves as a coaching assistant for the Las Vegas Raiders.)

If a wager were to be made on who is the Raiders’ WR2, it would not be surprising to see Meyers take the starting slot over Hunter. Why? History.

While Garoppolo and Meyers were both former Patriots, they did not play together. However, McDaniels was Meyers’ offensive coordinator for his first three years in the NFL. Meyers will already have a grasp on the offense and has previously developed a relationship with the head coach.

Let’s see what happens when training camp opens up in July, but currently the advantage leans toward Meyers. Who do you think will take the WR2 spot for the 2023 NFL season?

*Top Photo: Getty Images

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