We’re less than two weeks away from the kickoff of the Las Vegas Raider’s first season. Without preseason games, we have no idea which training camp reports are foreshadowing and which are fool’s gold. So going in completely blind, I’m taking a few shots in the dark. Here are my bold predictions for the 2020 Las Vegas Raiders.
2020 Las Vegas Raiders Bold Predictions
Hunter Renfrow Breaks 90 Catches
After a slow start to his rookie season, Hunter Renfrow finished the year as one of Derek Carr’s favorite targets. From week seven on, Renfrow became Carr’s go-to, catching 35 passes for 490 yards and four scores. Even including the bout against the Jets, where he left early, he averaged five catches and seventy yards a game. Adjusted over 16 games, he’d have brought in 80 grabs for 1,120 yards and nine scores. With Henry Ruggs taking the top off the defense and freeing up the middle of the field, I bet Renfrow gets plenty of targets and leads the team with at least 90 receptions.
Bryan Edwards Finishes the Season With More Catches Than Henry Ruggs III
The Raiders revamped the receiving corps in the draft this year, taking Alabama speedster Henry Ruggs III in the first round and South Carolina’s giant, Bryan Edwards in the third. However, despite the disparity in draft position, part of me thinks there’s a chance the third rounder ends up with more grabs than the Bama Burner.
This isn’t a dig at Ruggs, because if anything, he’s too dynamic to be a 100 catch guy. With his speed, he’s dangerous any time he steps on the field. If Henry Ruggs III goes deep, the defense has to respect his home-run ability. Ruggs can be just as dangerous as a decoy as a receiver.
As a result, I am willing to bet that the X receiver gets more looks than Ruggs does, be it Edwards or Tyrell Williams, even if they don’t have as many yards or touchdowns.
Maurice Hurst Leads the Team in Sacks
Anyone that’s been watching Mo Hurst through his career to this point knows he’s due to break out. In his first and second years with the team, he took steps forward. Now, with help from Maxx Crosby, Clelin Ferrell, Maliek Collins, and Jonathan Hankins, I think it’s Hurst’s time. Pro Football Focus agrees, calling him the breakout player at the position. So with teams focusing on Crosby, and opposing quarterbacks facing an improved back seven, I bet Hurst lays the hurt and leads the Raiders in sacks.
Foster Moreau Leads the Team in Touchdown Grabs
That’s right, on a roster with Henry Ruggs III, Bryan Edwards, Tyrell Williams, Hunter Renfrow, Darren Waller, Jason Witten, Nelson Agholor, Josh Jacobs, and Lynn Bowden Jr., I think it’s second-year tight end, Foster Moreau that’ll catch more of Derek Carr’s touchdown passes than anyone else.
Why? Just a gut feeling. Jon Gruden loves long, methodical drives that end in a touchdown. Last year, they did a great job of the first part, but they fell apart in the redzone. Assuming Josh Jacobs doesn’t just break through and score 20 touchdowns, Carr will have to go vertical. As the second tight end, Moreau will be in position to cash in on short-yardage situations.
This isn’t completely unjustified either. Moreau was second in touchdown catches last year (five) and he missed a chunk of the season. A fifth of his catches last year went for six, and if he can stay healthy, I bet that number goes up.
The Raiders Win Nine Games
That’s right! My final bold prediction is that the Raiders bring home their first winning season since the infamous 2016 season. I don’t think they bring home the AFC West title, unless Patrick Mahomes decides to quit and play baseball ala Michael Jordan, but it’s still progress!
Which nine games? I guess you’ll have to stay tuned to our daily pre-season game predictions!