As we move past the 2019 NFL Draft, Raiders WR Hunter Renfrow’s “come-up” story is just settling into the spotlight, and rightfully so. Originally a “preferred walk-on” at Clemson, Renfrow not only had to work hard to stand out but also had to work to avoid being mistaken as the water boy.
From that day forward, Renfrow had his nose to the grindstone. He would earn a scholarship after a breakout freshman year in which he recorded 492 yards and 5 touchdowns. In his junior season, Renfrow became the hero of the National Championship Game when he caught a last-second touchdown to defeat the Alabama Crimson Tide.
Nevertheless, it does not seem that Renfrow’s story will end in college. Due to Renfrow’s 5’10” build, many believed he fit the mold for Bill Belichick’s ideal receiver, but the New England Patriots were not interested enough to draft him, despite the comparisons to former Patriots Wes Welker and Danny Amendola.
Fortunately, Renfrow fell to the Oakland Raiders, regarded by some, as a late-round steal for the team.
At the combine, Renfrow recorded 7 bench press reps and a 4.59 40-yard dash time. Renfrow’s numbers will not blow anyone away, but Amendola’s did not either. In combine comparisons, Renfrow and Amendola etched eerily similar 40-yard dash times where Amendola’s 4.58 seconds edge him. Amendola would out-bench Renfrow by 6 reps as well.
However, Renfrow would impress scouts in some of the lesser-known drills. Renfrow’s 60-yard shuttle (11.39s) was fast enough to tie for first in the Combine and his three-cone drill time (6.8s) would hold third outright. For reference, Renfrow performed better than Amendola in the categories of vertical jump, broad jump, three-cone, and the 20-yard shuttle.
Renfrow joins the Raiders just months after the team signed wide receivers Antonio Brown and Tyrell Williams; but there is still hope for Renfrow. The slot receiver position is rapidly becoming a major part of NFL offenses. Wide receivers, like Brown and Williams, will typically draw the most attention and run most of their routes closer to the sidelines, leaving the middle of the field available for Renfrow to work his magic.
Despite his average speed, Renfrow is an ideal slot receiver for the Raiders. Big names exist around him to draw attention away. Plus, he is incredibly shifty and can switch direction with ease. Renfrow’s hands gained renown as some of the best this year’s Combine had to offer. As a result, that can help make up for his below average size.