With the starting of training camp finally here, the Oakland Raiders will get a chance to try out their completely revamped receiving corps. Second-year player Marcell Ateman seems to be the only returning Raider WR that has a chance to make the roster and he’s far from a lock. Based on last year’s performance, the Raiders certainly can’t get any worse at wide receiver. However, with additions of players like Antonio Brown and Tyrell Williams, what was once a weakness could be one of the team’s greatest strengths.
WR Is Shaping up to Be a Position of Strength for the Raiders in 2019
The most obvious reason the Raiders’ wide receiver group will be an asset is because of Antonio Brown. Brown is simply one of the best players in the NFL. Opinions of Amari Cooper have changed since he improved his play with the Dallas Cowboys, but Brown is much better than Cooper when they’re both at their best. Plus, Brown doesn’t disappear in games the same way Cooper did at times when he was in Oakland. Brown also brings a leadership quality that should elevate the entire group. What’s also exciting is that Brown can do it all. As the best route-runner in the NFL, Brown can play in the slot, but can also go deep when he has to.
Don’t sleep on Tyrell Williams either. The Los Angeles Chargers had a loaded receiving corps in 2018, so it was hard for Williams to make too much of an impact. However, he’s an exceptional athlete and gives the Raiders a tall, fast target. He’ll be a really exciting deep option for Derek Carr. His size should also make him a solid red-zone threat.
After Brown and Williams, the third spot at wide receiver could take some time to figure out. The early favorite is Hunter Renfrow, the rookie out of the Clemson. Renfrow’s ability as a route runner makes him tailor-made for a spot in the slot. He’ll have to beat out much more experienced veterans Ryan Grant and J.J. Nelson. As far as depth, the Raiders could do a lot worse. Both Grant and Nelson have put up seasons with more than 500 receiving yards and they’re both still young. Starting QB Derek Carr should have a lot of options to throw to this season.
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Raiders Revamped Offense
The Raiders offense as a whole should be a lot better in 2019. Gone are veterans on the downside of their careers like Marshawn Lynch and Jordy Nelson and in are younger players like Josh Jacobs and Trent Brown. If Derek Carr can look more like he did in 2016, the Raiders offense could be deadly. In 2016, the Raiders had a defensive-minded head coach and an offensive coordinator that hasn’t found much success elsewhere. Despite those facts, the offense played great. Jon Gruden is as offensive-minded as a coach can be. While Gruden’s offense didn’t inspire much confidence in 2018, we should get a much better idea of what Gruden’s abilities are in 2019. It’s put up or shut time in Oakland.