Oakland Raiders: Hunter Renfrow could shine as a rookie

Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images
Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images /

Oakland Raiders rookie wide receiver Hunter Renfrow is set up for immediate NFL success.

The Oakland Raiders had an interesting showing in the 2019 NFL Draft. Many considered their selection of Clelin Ferrell with the fourth overall pick to be a reach, but he undoubtedly fits their defense well and has a safe floor at the next level. They rounded out the first round by adding running back Joshua Jacobs and safety Johnathan Abram to the mix.

Simply put, the Raiders did a nice job of adding impact players early in the draft, but do not discount their haul in the later rounds. Their fourth-round trio of Maxx Crosby, Isaiah Johnson and Foster Moreau is impressive, and seventh-round edge rusher Quinton Bell is an athletic freak with a ton of natural upside. However, we are going to focus on fifth-round receiver Hunter Renfrow.

Renfrow enters the NFL after a very successful college career at Clemson. He started at Clemson as a walk-on but ended up being a four-year contributor for the team. Renfrow finished his career with 186 receptions for 2,133 yards and 15 touchdowns.

He leaves Clemson holding the record for most consecutive games with a reception (43) and ranks fifth in school history in total receptions (186). Renfrow played in a ridiculous seven career College Football Playoff games and leaves school holding CFP records in receptions (37) and touchdowns (4).

Simply put, Renfrow was a true rags to riches story in college and leaves Clemson as one of the best offensive players in school history. He came through in the clutch many times and enters the NFL with an impressive overall resume.

Despite his collegiate success, Renfrow slipped to the fifth round of the 2019 NFL Draft. The Oakland Raiders obviously saw value in Renfrow, but he is not exactly built like a prototypical NFL receiver.

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At 5-foot-10, 184 pounds, Renfrow’s size leaves plenty to be desired. His long speed and overall athleticism are also lacking. However, Renfrow posted strong quickness scores and that translates on tape.

He is an elite route runner who changes speeds well and runs extremely crisps routes on a consistent basis. His sharp cuts leave defenders in the dust with regularity and he simply has a knack for finding space.

Whether he is against zone or man coverage, Renfrow can use his impressive combination of on-field instincts, sharp route running and short area quickness to create space. He also displays consistent and reliable hands. He is never going to be any sort of threat as an outside receiver, but Renfrow has some serious upside as a slot receiver at the next level.

With no other obvious slot only wide receiver on the roster, expect Renfrow to get playing time early and often with the Oakland Raiders. Renfrow is a ready-made NFL slot receiver and should have plenty of opportunities to make his mark in three wide receiver sets with the Raiders. Antonio Brown and Tyrell Williams on the outside with Renfrow creating space out of the slot could quickly become a dangerous trio.

Jon Gruden is a great offensive coach who knows how to get the most out of his players. He is smart enough to put Renfrow in a consistent position to succeed by simply asking him to do what he does best, make plays in the short passing game out of the slot.

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Renfrow is a bit of a one-trick pony, but he is damn good at that one trick. If the Raiders just let him do his thing out of the slot, this is going to be a successful pairing from the beginning.