Derek Carr has revitalized the career of Mack Hollins who is another in a long line of receivers to find new life with the Raiders QB.
What do Mack Hollins, Nelson Agholor, Michael Crabtree, and Zay Jones have in common during their time with the Las Vegas Raiders franchise? They have all had the best seasons, or at least one of the best seasons, in their career when playing with the Raiders and quarterback Derek Carr.
Coming off a game where he scored yet another important touchdown for the Raiders, Hollins becomes yet another receiver that is seeing a career resurgence in Silver and Black.
Hollins started his career as a fourth-round pick with the Philadelphia Eagles in 2017 where his unique combination of 4.5 speed and 6’4” height made him a solid deep threat and special teams maven for the eventual Super Bowl champs.
He would go on to play for the Dolphins from 2019-21 after a year on injured reserve and continued his role primarily as a deep threat and special teams ace.
Hollins thriving with Carr and the Raiders
Now in his first year with the Raiders after signing a one-year veteran minimum deal he has become a key part of both the offense and special teams units. Hollins has already set career highs in receptions and yards in just 6 games and is on pace to break his previous touchdown high of 4 from the 2021 season.
In addition to making big plays on offense, Hollins has not forgotten his special teams duties as he has made two great plays as a gunner on the punt team to pin teams inside their own 5-yard lines. That is the part of his game that we knew about and expected from Hollins but his offensive contribution has been a welcome surprise.
The bulk of his numbers are from the Tennessee matchup where he put up 8 catches for 158 yards and a touchdown but he was also productive against Arizona with 5 for 66 and Houston with 2 for 44 and a touchdown.
Most importantly he gives the Raiders and Derek Carr a receiver that is almost guaranteed to win a jump ball contest against the usually much smaller DBs. We saw that in Tennessee as he mossed the poor Titans DB and again with Houston as he beat double coverage to snag a missile from Derek Carr in the end zone.
The only unfortunate thing about this boom in production, especially if it continues at this pace, is that the Raiders may not be able to afford Hollins after the season. If he remains on his current pace he is on track to finish with 53 catches, 900 yards, and 5 touchdowns which are more than respectable numbers for a number two receiver.
We have seen this happen twice in the last two years with Zay Jones earning a 3-year $24m deal with Jacksonville after a career-best season and Nelson Agholor getting 2-years and $22m from New England after doing the same. Some of Hollins’ production may decrease if Hunter Renfrow stays healthy but he has earned his targets and most importantly, earned the trust of Derek Carr.
Carr has always taken an egalitarian approach to his targets and even though he has Davante Adams who deserves all his attention, the QB is willing to spread the love and simply find the open man. He has shown however that he will give Hollins a chance to make a play even when he is not necessarily open and that is where the trust factor comes in. Carr built that connection quickly with Michael Crabtree and Agholor and was forced to do so out of circumstance last season with Zay Jones.
The Las Vegas Raiders now stand at 2-4, keeping their playoff hopes alive after overcoming a sloppy first half thanks to Josh Jacobs.
With Hollins in the fold and in the good graces of Derek Carr, we can expect more big plays from him down the field and even more great contributions as a blocker in the run game and as a gunner on special teams. Mack Hollins can truly do it all and we are getting his best-ever output now that he’s wearing Silver and Black.