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Raiders training camp: What to expect from Hunter Renfrow in 2021?

Third-year slot receiver may be primed for big season

Miami Dolphins v Las Vegas Raiders
Hunter Renfrow
Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images

Was last week a glimpse of things to come for Hunter Renfrow in the 2021 NFL season?

The Las Vegas Raiders’ sure hope so.

The third-year slot receiver put on a show against Los Angeles Rams superstar cornerback Jalen Ramsey in a joint scrimmage. The 2019 fifth-round draft pick from Clemson routinely put it to Ramey, making him the star of the two-day workouts.

Renfrow’s performance against Ramsey not only got the attention of the Rams, but it should have put the entire NFL on notice.

He may be ready to take the next step in an already productive, short career in the league. Renfrow, 25, has already established himself as a big part of the Las Vegas offense and earned the trust of Raiders’ quarterback Derek Carr as a rookie. He is a third-down completion machine. Renfrow has 105 career catches for 12.0 average.

If wouldn’t be a surprise if Renfrow continues to grow and threatened to catch 75-90 passes for the Raiders in 2021.

Carr is certainly expecting magic from Renfrow this season.

“He doesn’t get enough credit for how straight-line fast he is. I don’t think his 40-time, I don’t know what it was but whatever it was doesn’t do it justice<“ Carr said last week. “He’s fast. He can run. And just as fast as he can go that way, he can go this way. And there is a lot of guys that can straight-line track speed, but Hunter, the thing that makes him different, not only that side-to-side speed, is that he sees the coverages and he knows what route he’s running obviously, and he sees the coverage. He knows how it’s set up; he knows exactly what I want him to do, and he literally does it every single time. (Raiders coach Jon) Gruden talks about it all the time, don’t just be a guy that runs the right route and says, ‘Coach, I ran the right route.’ ‘Well, you’re covered, who cares?’ Be a guy that runs the right route but shred the guy, set him up, understand the coverage. Set that up. Show him what he wants to see and then come across, that kind of stuff. And Hunter does those things like every time and there’s things that EB [Edgar Bennett], the receiver coach, will come to me and be like, ‘Hey now.’ I’m like, ‘EB, just tell the other guys but let him do this, please.’ Let him do that because I see it that way, and so we saw him have a big day today for him and that was exciting. But the thing I love about him the most is that he sees it just the way I do. I think that is why there is so much trust there when you throw it to him.”

Renfrow’s work against Ramsey, of course, did nothing to affect his quarterback’s trust in him, going into the regular season.