Raiders: 2022 two-deep prediction for the offensive skill positions
Outside WR2: Demarcus Robinson
Right off the bat, let me reinforce this category: Wideouts, not receivers in general. Of course, Hunter Renfrow would be the teams WR2, but he isn’t the second starting wideout for Las Vegas. For my money, Demarcus Robinson will be, though.
Truthfully, this is a tossup between Robinson and Keelan Cole, and I could see it going either way. If Cole outshines Robinson in camp, it wouldn’t surprise me to see him starting opposite of Adams. That said until this comes to pass, I have to roll with Robinson.
The advantage Cole has here is his speed. For months, since before Davante Adams was even acquired, I’ve talked about the lack of speed in the Raiders’ receiver room as a whole. Before Keelan Cole came on board, all receivers on the roster, except Tyron Johnson, posted a 40-time slower than the average NFL receiver. Cole, who recorded a 4.33 40-time, gives much needed speed on the outside.
Furthermore, Cole has been a consistent deep threat throughout his career. In his five-seasons at the pro level, the veteran wideout has averaged 14.4 yards per reception. In three of these five years, Cole has finished with an average of at least 15-yards on passes hauled in. The speed and deep ability of the 29-year-old is a great asset for Las Vegas, and he should see his fair share of reps.
I know, I know; I’ve made the prediction Robinson will start oppose of Adams, as the wideout no.2, yet have done nothing but give Cole flowers. The reason is that Cole serves a unique role in this offense, and it should be noted. Now, onto Robinson.
There’s a lot to like about Robinson. He has great game speed, is slippery with the football, and should be classified as a legitimate deep threat. To name some other strengths, the 27-year-old identifies and sits in zones well, and doesn’t drop many passes. In fact, per Pro Football Reference, Robinson has never dropped more than 1 pass in a single season; Robinson has yet to post a season-long drop rate above 2.4%.
Add these qualities together, and you get a receiver who’s as dangerous on a simple screen as he is running a route 20-yards out. Sure enough, that’s how Kansas City used him, and I don’t expect that to change with Las Vegas.
There’s one thing Robinson does that outshines everything else, though; He’s at his best when his team’s supporting cast is dwindled. In Tyreek Hill’s absence, Robinson has had his best games at the pro level. In a week-2 contest against the Raiders in 2019, the former Chiefs wideout put up a career-high 172 receiving yards with 2 touchdowns.
With the wideouts out of the way, let’s make our way to the tight end position.