The Raiders Need to Add High Profile Weapons
The 2020 season for the Las Vegas Raiders was somewhat of a roller coaster. There was a time when it looked like the playoffs were a possibility, but that slowly trailed off on the back half of the season.
A big reason because of this was the lack of dynamic playmakers on the offensive side of the ball. Rookie first-round pick Henry Ruggs III didn’t exactly live up to his hype, finishing the season with 26 catches for 452 yards and only 2 touchdowns. Despite costing Gregg Williams his job, Ruggs wasn’t a pillar of consistency.
We all know that every rookie wide receiver can’t be Justin Jefferson, but Jon Gruden and company definitely expected more from Ruggs.
In addition to Ruggs, Nelson Agholor and Hunter Renfrow both failed to break 1,000 yards receiving. The front office could keep Agholor for depth, but needless to say, an upgrade at wide receiver couldn’t hurt in Vegas. Let’s take a look at potential receivers that the Raiders could target this off-season.
Even though Ruggs didn’t have a great rookie year, he could still develop into a legitimate deep threat. Adding Sammy Watkins could help in a few ways, one being a veteran that could help develop Ruggs.
He has been solid in Kansas City opposite of Tyreek Kill, so he could have a similar role in Las Vegas. His durability has been an issue in the past, but when healthy he is a solid receiver that would come at a decently affordable price as well, roughly between $9-$10 million a year. He had 37 catches for 421 yards and 2 touchdowns in 2020.
If the Raiders want to spend a little less money, going after Corey Davis could be a great option. He is coming off a career year with the Titans, posting 65 receptions for 984 yards and 5 touchdowns.
Davis Has never lived up to his high draft pick potential, but there is no question he could make the Raiders’ offense scarier. He’s also only 26 years old so his best years could very easily be ahead of him as well. He could be signed for between $8-$9 million a year.
Potentially signing Marvin Jones would also be a great option for the Raiders. He would command the highest price tag, falling between $10-$11 million a year.
At 31, he is a little older than the previous options mentioned, but one could say he is worth the money at this point in his career. He would pair nicely to Henry Ruggs and could provide veteran leadership.
Jones had 76 catches for 978 yards and 9 touchdowns in 2020. He definitely has a nose for the end zone and is VERY physical.
Switching gears a bit, the running back position is one that the Raiders might need to take a look at this off-season. Josh Jacobs enjoyed a superb rookie year in 2019, but his explosiveness and numbers dropped a decent amount in 2020.
He finished with 1,065 yards, 12 touchdowns and averaged 3.9 yards per carry. Not awful numbers by any means, but the lack of big plays made him somewhat forgettable most of the season.
It might be a good idea for the Raiders to add to the running back room to compliment Jacobs a bit. Let’s take a look at some potential targets.
Out of all the running backs on the market, Mark Ingram makes the most sense for the Raiders. Playing in Baltimore the last few years, he is used to splitting carries and being a secondary running back.
He could come to Vegas and have a similar role, letting Josh Jacobs be the workhorse. He would come at a reasonable price tag as well, somewhere between the $2-$4 million range. He finished with 299 yards and 2 touchdowns in 2020, while fighting the injury bug the whole year.
Similar to Ingram, Matt Breida has been featured as a secondary back in his career, so he could fit in nicely with the Raiders. He has solid explosiveness and could make the backfield more dynamic for John Gruden. He could be signed for $2-$4 million a year, just like Mark Ingram. Breida finished with 254 yards and 0 touchdowns in 2020.
The only way Las Vegas signs Kenyan Drake is if they want to go a separate direction and not use Josh Jacobs as the feature back. Drake is arguably the best running back on the market and could breathe a breath of fresh air in the running back room.
He will command roughly $8-$9 million a year and likely wants a multi-year deal. Drake finished with 955 yards rushing and 10 touchdowns in 2020. He is not the likely option, but it is fun to think about.
Overall, the Raiders are fairly close to being playoff contenders in the AFC. They need to fix some holes on their defense and add some playmakers on the offensive side of the ball. If they do that, things could get interesting. They already play the Kansas City Chiefs really well, so this off-season is really important for them to get better and make noise in the AFC West in 2021.