The Las Vegas Raiders significantly bolstered the wide receiving corps this offseason, trading for arguably the premier player at the position, Davante Adams, but the battle for the slot receiver job could be reaching its conclusion.
“Mack Hollins is winning that No. 3 receiver job,” a league source familiar with the Raiders’ thinking told Heavy. “He’ll be very much in the mix after Adams and Renfroe.”
Las Vegas’ slot receiver battle between Hollins and Keelan Cole has been one of the more hotly contested on the roster this summer.
Hollins Brings Versatility & Experience to Raiders
Hollins, 28, signed as a free agent this offseason, on the heels of the most productive season of his career.
In 2021, his third with the Miami Dolphins, Hollins caught 14 passes for 223 yards and a career-high four touchdowns. According to Pro Football Focus, Dolphins quarterbacks produced a whopping 101.3 passer rating when targeting Hollins, who was charged with only three drops on his 28 targets.
Through the first four seasons of his career, Hollins has averaged 14 receptions for 187.5 yards and nearly two touchdowns. But, with Derek Carr at quarterback in a scheme that emphasizes spreading the ball to multiple targets, Hollins may surpass that production by leaps and bounds in 2022.
Hollins arrives in Las Vegas, and into the Raiders’ loaded receiving corps, bringing along with him the veteran presence that comes after winning a Super Bowl ring as a rookie with the Philadelphia Eagles in 2017.
At 6-foot-4 and 221 pounds, Hollins has the versatility to be a playmaker, capitalizing on the opportunities created by the attention teams must pay Adams, Renfrow and tight end Darren Waller, while also contributing on special teams, as well.
Through the Raiders’ first three preseason games, Hollins has caught a pair of passes for 14 yards and has been a continual standout throughout camp.
Because of Hollins’ prowess as a red zone target, and his ability to make plays after the catch (averaging just over 3.1 yards after the reception in 2021), he just might be in the perfect opportunity to have a breakout season in one of the game’s more dynamic vertical passing offenses.
These Aren’t Your Father’s Raiders
The Raiders’ 2021 season was one of the more tumultuous campaigns that any NFL franchise has endured in recent memory.
Former head coach Jon Gruden resigned on October 11, three days after the first of several emails that contained racist and homophobic comments and insults was leaked to the media.
Then, on November 2, second-year WR Henry Ruggs was involved in a fiery crash that killed 23-year-old Tina Tintor. He was charged with driving under the influence and reckless driving before ultimately being released by the team.
Somehow, interim head coach Rich Bisaccia guided the Raiders to a 7-5 finish and a wild-card berth in the AFC playoffs.
As the 2022 regular season nears, new head coach Josh McDaniels is laying the foundation for a turnaround, with a loaded roster inside one of the most talented divisions in football.
In addition to the Adams addition, the Raiders bolstered the defense by adding pass rusher Chandler Jones opposite Maxx Crosby, forming one of the more disruptive pass rushing duos in the league.
Between the talent, a new head coach and a roster aiming to build on last season’s success, the 2022 campaign has the potential to be a quick turnaround from last season’s drama.
“There’s lots of positivity coming out of that building,” a league source told Heavy. “It has been a total culture change, and the players are 100% bought in.”