One pick that went under the radar for the Raiders was the drafting of former Clemson wide receiver Hunter Renfrow in the fifth round of the 2019 NFL draft. After a productive, but not earth-shattering, tenure with Clemson’s football team, Renfrow had some hype going into the draft as a potential starter in the slot for a team. He fell to the Raiders in the fifth round and despite being a low draft pick, he’s already starting to gain some hype. His new teammate, fellow draft pick, Josh Jacobs recently praised the receiver.
“Gotta talk about Hunter Renfrow,” said Jacobs. “That dude is gonna be serious.”
Jacobs will be one of the focal points of the Raider offense and he’s very familiar with Renfrow as they’ve seen each other in two separate NCAA championship games. In one of those games, Renfrow caught the game-winning touchdown pass. While he’s not the most athletic player on the roster, he plans to use his brain to outsmart defenders.
“I’m not the biggest guy, I’m not the fastest,” Renfrow said earlier in the offseason. “But I feel like I can outthink people at times. I think that’s such a big part of the game that people don’t realize.”
Almost the entirety of the Raiders’ receiving corps will be new faces. Antonio Brown and Tyrell Williams figure to be the top two guys, but the third spot is wide open. Ryan Grant and J.J. Nelson have put up decent production in the past so competition for that third spot is going to be stiff. What gives Renfrow the advantage is that he fits perfectly into the role as a slot receiver. As we’ve seen in the past, slot receivers can put up big numbers when most of the attention is on other receivers. Just look how well Brandon Stokley did when the Colts had Marvin Harrison and Reggie Wayne. Renfrow could fall into the role of a Stokley type player and be incredibly productive for the Raiders.
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Starting quarterback Derek Carr has had issues with his receivers dropping passes in the past. The addition of players like Antonio Brown and Renfrow gives Carr a pair of surehanded wide receivers that should drop the ball significantly less than former Raider Amari Cooper. Renfrow may even get chances to make plays outside the slot. Head coach Jon Gruden, according to the Las Vegas Review-Journal, has said that he wants to play Renfrow all over the field.
The big thing for Hunter is he needs to understand we are going to move Antonio Brown around a lot, and if we move Brown a lot, that means he’s got to be able to move around and do a lot of things. Not just line up in the slot and be a slot every single down. He’s going to have to move to the right, to the left, inside, outside, go in motion — do it all. And that’s something we are going to have to find out as we move on.
Renfrow is going to get his shots to make an impact this season. With Gruden having so many more weapons this season than a season ago, he’ll have the opportunity to be much more creative. This all bodes well for Renfrow who will be fighting for touches in a potentially loaded offense.