After adding Davante Adams, the Raiders’ wide receiver room is no doubt improved. However, they lack a vital component: speed.
This summer, legendary Raiders speedster Cliff Branch was enshrined in the Pro Football Hall of Fame. A true difference maker on offense, he is considered by many to be the first true deep threat in NFL history.
So influential was Branch that he formed the Raiders’ identity in many ways. With luminaries such as James Jett and Jacoby Ford, the team tried to capture the same magic by using elite speed to stretch the field.
In 2020, the team appeared to finally find their answer at wide receiver in the form of Henry Ruggs. A first-round pick who ran a 4.27 40-yard dash at the NFL Combine, he instantly added electricity to the Raiders’ offense. While it would take some time for him and quarterback Derek Carr to adjust to each other, there were fireworks when they did.
Of course, Ruggs would be responsible for a tragic car accident that would prompt the Raiders to release him. Even still, the long-standing, organizational philosophy of speed stood tall as they almost immediately signed DeSean Jackson.
Fast forward to 2022, and Las Vegas severely lacks speed at wide receiver. While new addition Davante Adams certainly can win down the field, he is not to be confused with a burner. Renfrow, an elite slot receiver, is not going to run past anybody. How can the Raiders fix this in 2022? Furthermore, do they even want to?