Philadelphia Eagles wide receiver Nelson Agholor

Las Vegas Raiders should still draft a wide receiver after Nelson Agholor signing

  • Las Vegas Raiders
  • Nelson Agholor
  • nfl free agency
By Mike Brez March 22, 2020 0 Comment
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The Las Vegas Raiders should still look to draft a wide receiver in the first-round despite signing Nelson Agholor to a one-year deal.

One of the positional needs for the Las Vegas Raiders this offseason was the wide receiver position. Even after the Raiders signed Nelson Agholor to a one-year deal on Saturday afternoon, the need is still there. The former Philadelphia Eagles wide receiver will likely be the third or fourth wide receiver on the depth chart. That’s before the 2020 NFL Draft.

Drafted in the first round by the Eagles in 2015, Agholor has flashed moments of optimism. His best season came in 2017 en route to the Super Bowl, where he hauled in 62 receptions for 768 yards and eight touchdowns. During that year, Agholor was a massive contributor in the Super Bowl to defeat the New England Patriots with nine receptions for 84 yards. He followed that up with 64 receptions for 736 yards and four touchdowns in 2018.

Unfortunately, Agholor was unable to live up to expectations in 2019. Like the rest of the Philadelphia receiving core, he struggled with injuries missing five games. With DeSean Jackson out, Agholor failed to become the vertical threat that the Eagles needed him to be. At several points throughout 2019, Agholor seemed more like a problem than a solution. He would finish the season with 39 receptions for 363 yards and three touchdowns in 11 games.

A fresh start with the Las Vegas Raiders

It’s entirely possible that a change of scenery could be useful for Agholor. Head coach Jon Gruden’s west coast offense could also be beneficial for the 26-year-old receiver. One of the things holding him back in Philadelphia was his struggles tracking the ball downfield. Moving to an offense where he would be asked to work the short to intermediate routes might be a better fit. Las Vegas runs a heavy dose of horizontal route concepts, including crosses, curls, smash concepts, etc.

While Agholor doesn’t always perform on the field stretching routes, his intermediate game is where he does most of his damage. The Raiders would benefit from lining him up out of the slot or in the Z-receiver role. His best work comes when working in a spread-out offense allowing him space using his awareness to find the open areas on the field. He’s a plus route runner with good long speed and explosiveness out of his breaks.

Las Vegas still needs to find a true number one receiver in 2020. Agholor struggles against press-man coverage at the line of scrimmage and throughout his stem. His lack of play strength often gets him pushed off his line. Physical coverage gave him problems in Philadelphia, as it’s never been a strength of his game. Given his lack of play strength, struggles with contested catches, and inconsistency catching the ball, Agholor will simply be a depth piece on an already average receiving core.

The Raiders should still draft a wide receiver early

In a room consisting of Tyrell Williams, Zay Jones, Hunter Renfrow, and now Agholor, Las Vegas shouldn’t be done adding. The Raiders own two first-round picks in the 2020 NFL Draft, and it would be beneficial to use one of those on a top receiver. In a loaded class of receivers, the team could find a top wide receiver to give Derek Carr. Alabama wide receiver Jerry Jeudy is known for his elite route running and yards after catch production that would fit perfectly in Las Vegas. His teammate, Henry Ruggs III, provides rare speed and advanced route running as well.

Oklahoma wide receiver CeeDee Lamb would be the true alpha selection. His elite body control, outstanding hands, and angry run style after the catch would be perfect in Gruden’s offense. His highlight tape might remind you of Odell Beckham Jr. with his extensive highlight reel of unbelievable catches from every angle possible. Colorado’s Laviska Shenault was the only playmaker for the team in 2019. The only area of concern is whether he can stay healthy. He brings the short-area quickness to work the horizontal patterns in the Raiders’ offense along with the hands and speed to take off after the catch.

Another name moving up boards is Baylor wide receiver, Denzel Mims. Another freak of an athlete for his size and the elite body control to make those same types of highlight-reel clips. Mims answered several questions regarding his speed out of breaks and route running abilities at the Senior Bowl and Scouting Combine. The list goes on and on. Las Vegas needs to provide Carr with a true number one receiver. Luckily, there are plenty to be had in the first round.

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Founder of The Brawl Network, Writer, Podcast Host for The Bears Brawl, NFL Draft Analyst and Reporter

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