The Las Vegas Raiders lacked speed at wide receiver throughout the 2022 season but Tyron Johnson still didn’t get a chance to make many plays. He joined the team in 2021 but didn’t get a single target in the seven games where he was active. He certainly could’ve helped in the vertical game with his 4.34 40-yard dash speed but just couldn’t carve out a role.
Though things didn’t work out in Las Vegas, Johnson is landing on his feet. The San Francisco 49ers have signed him to a Reserve/Future deal.
The 49ers don’t have much of a vertical passing game as they typically favor hitting wide receivers for short yardage and rely on them to make plays after the catch. If Trey Lance gets healthy and earns the starting quarterback spot, the vertical game will be much more prominent for the team. That would be good news for Johnson. His best season came as a rookie with the Chargers. He averaged an excellent 19.9 yards a reception that season. For perspective, Miami Dolphins wide receiver Jaylen Waddle led the NFL with 18.1 yards per reception in 2022. Johnson has the ability to stretch the field, he just needs a quarterback who can get him the ball consistently.
Raiders Should Add Speed to WR Corps
The Raiders wide receiver duo of Davante Adams and Hunter Renfrow should’ve been one of the best in the NFL. While Adams put up big numbers and was named First-Team All-Pro, Renfrow had a widely disappointing year. Due to injuries, he was limited to 10 games and only had 36 catches for 330 yards. He could bounce back next season but the Raiders have to be concerned if he’s going to be a reliable No. 2 wide receiver.
Las Vegas would be wise to add somebody who can blow the top off of the defense. The team didn’t have somebody who could do that in 2022. The Raiders could look at a veteran like Nelson Agholor in free agency. There are also some intriguing options that could be available later in the draft. Jalin Hyatt out of Tennessee should impress scouts with his speed as the draft nears.
Mack Hollins Named Raiders’ Unsung Hero
Renfrow was a disappointment in 2022 but Mack Hollins’ emergence helped pick up the slack. The veteran wide receivers had 57 catches for 690 yards, which were both career highs. Thanks to his efforts, Nick Shook NFL.com named Hollins the Raiders’ “unsung hero” of 2022.
“While Adams put up stellar numbers once again, Las Vegas often ran into second-half issues with throwing the ball to him. That’s where Hollins came through, serving as a surprisingly effective second receiver for Derek Carr,” Shook wrote. “Hollins was such a productive receiver, it seemed at times as if Carr was intentionally looking his way, even if the reality was opposing defenses were often dedicating many resources to taking Adams out of the running.
“Either way, Hollins stepped up when his number was called.”
After bouncing around the NFL to start his career, Hollins could be in for a solid payday when free agency rolls around. The Raiders would love to keep but that could prove difficult. Regardless, he should get the best contract of his career after a breakout season.