Before their matchup in Los Angeles against the Chargers, the Raiders endured seven games without the team’s leading receiver actually being a wide receiver. Darren Waller and Jalen Richard have been the team’s leading receivers. Having reliable tight ends and pass catching backs is incredibly important in a league dominated by passing, but not having a go-to receivers is a major problem. Prior to Sunday, the last Raiders’ receiver to lead the team in receiving yards was Tyrell Williams, a player initially brought in to be the team’s #2 option.
Following last season, many fans knew the Raiders would put a lot of emphasis on their tight end. Derek Carr and the Raiders survived with what they have. While fantasy teams loved drafting Waller for a steal in late rounds, but from a real football standpoint, the Raiders need more from their wide receivers.
This was a wild preseason, as far as receivers are concerned, so the Raiders get a pass for this season. Yet, the Raiders again possess multiple first round picks. As a result, it would be shocking to see the team not use either one to acquire a receiver capable of leading a team. Sunday against the Chargers, the Raiders’ leading receiver was rookie Hunter Renfrow. He returned off a rib injury that sidelined him for three games. Renfrow started the game off strong with a 56-yard touchdown from a slant route. He would also lead the team in targets with nine, with Williams and Waller tied for second with four each.
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While Renfrow had a monster game, finishing with 107 yards and a touchdown, he is not going to be the team’s consistent WR1. Renfrow is an incredible supporting player and will only see his stats increase upon the arrival of a star receiver. Another pass must be given for the receivers as this is the team’s first full season without Cooper and Crabtree. But, this is the only season of accepting these struggles. Now, the Raiders know what they are working with. The team knows the corps is one receiver away from being incredibly threatening.
Last week, it was revealed that Carr avoided the checkdown option and trying showcase his ability to throw deeper, almost to a fault. Perhaps Carr was making a plea to future free agent receivers to give Las Vegas a chance. Or he might have been trying to save his job. Regardless, the Raiders have to be ready to do whatever it takes to land an elite, yet sane, wide receiver.