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In each of head coach Jon Gruden’s three years in charge in Oakland and Las Vegas, the Raiders have increased their victory totals. With quarterback Darren Carr, tight end Darren Waller, and running back Josh Jacobs, the Raiders are aiming to make a postseason push after a.500 season in 2020. The youthful, skilled wide receiver corps may be the key to another step forward this season. Carr is well aware of this, and he is pushing his novice pass-catchers to rise to the occasion and produce.
The Raiders have a bunch of talented but inexperienced wide receivers.
Christian Petersen/Getty Images | Derek Carr, Zay Jones, and Henry Ruggs III
Jon Gruden and general manager Mike Mayock have assembled a bunch of young, skilled wide receivers with a varied set of abilities.
Henry Rugs III of Alabama, a first-round draft selection last year, and Bryan Edwards of South Carolina, a third-round draft pick in 2020, make up the group. Hunter Renfrow of Clemson is a third-year pass-catcher, while veterans Zay Jones and Willie Snead of East Carolina and Ball State, respectively, are veterans.
All of these receivers bring a unique skill set to the table, giving Derek Carr a variety of options on each play.
Ruggs is a pure speed demon that can rip a defense to shreds. Last season, the top selection struggled, but flashed with a 79-yard grab, a 49-yard run, and two scores. Edwards is a big-bodied receiver who stands 6-foot-3 and weighs 212 pounds, but he battled with injuries last season as well. However, Las Vegas has a lot of confidence in this combination, giving them the Nos. 1 and 2 WR spots in 2021.
Renfrow is a traditional slot receiver who serves as a safety net for Carr while still having the ability to move the chains. The former Tiger has 56 receptions for 656 yards and two touchdowns in 2020. Jones and Snead have a wide range of skills and expertise. They may fill in for any of these three receivers when necessary, or they can become a dangerous fourth receiving option.
Derek Carr pushed his receiver to perform.
The #Raiders will perform better in the red zone this season, according to Kenyan Drake, since they “got another playmaker.” We’re going to use the backfield to create mismatches.” “Waller, Ruggs, Renfrow, Edwards… choose your poison,” the defenders will have a hard time stopping.
June 9, 2021 — Vic Tafur (@VicTafur)
Carr recognizes that he has a diverse group with a lot of promise, but he must ensure that these young people achieve their full potential in a variety of ways.
Last season, the former Fresno State quarterback set career highs in yards (4,103), yards per completion (11.8), and QB Rating (101.4). However, this resulted in an 8-8 record, bringing his career record to 47-63.
Despite the record, Carr hasn’t had this kind of outside skill since Amari Cooper and Michael Crabtree were Raiders receivers. Carr has finally found a squad that can compete with, if not outperform, that pair.
Carr said he’ll throw the ball with confidence to Ruggs, Edwards, Renfrow, Jones, and Snead to get the most out of them, but it’ll be up to them to make the play spectacular after that. He issued a challenge to the team, telling ESPN:
I have a set of wideouts in mind for whom I will toss the ball up when I drop back. ‘It’s up to you whether you want to go on SportsCenter or not,’ I told them. I’m gonna toss it to you people because you have the skill and ability to create these plays.’
Derek Carr’s wide receivers Derek Carr’s wide receivers Derek Carr’s wide receivers Derek Carr’s
That’s a lot of faith for such a young bunch, but it may pay off big if these playmakers can repeat their highlight-reel performances from college and prior places.
The public will get their first look at Derek Carr and the Las Vegas Raiders’ 2021 receiving corps on a huge platform. The Silver and Black face the Baltimore Ravens on Monday Night Football to start the season.
While the Ravens offense suffered injury-hit after injury-hit in preseason, the defense should be strong as usual. Marcus Peters, the team’s top cornerback, suffered a knee injury last week. However, Pro Bowler Marlon Humphrey remains in the secondary, and Anthony Averett is a competent backup.
With veteran sack artist Justin Houston and Penn State first-round selection Odafe Oweh, Baltimore could have a formidable pass rush.
Carr will have to be savvy with the ball and get it out and into the hands of his playmakers quickly, since the Ravens’ defense is a strength. The Raiders will have a chance to win their first game in Gruden’s quest to reach the playoffs for the first time if those receivers can convert those short throws into huge gains.
For Gruden, Mayock, Carr, and many other Raiders players, this is a make-or-break season. The team’s success, and, by extension, who remains and who leaves in 2022, will be determined by the outstanding pass catchers.
Pro Football Reference provided all stats.
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