Gruden sees 'special' talent in WR Hunter Renfrow

  • By Grant Gordon
More Columns >

Seemingly all eyes were on a Raiders wide receiver before the 2019 season began.

When 2019 ended for Oakland, that receiver had long since moved on and the wideout position is once more an area of concern for the Raiders moving forward.

For the second straight season, a tight end led the team in receptions. This time it was breakout contributor Darren Waller. A season prior it was Jared Cook tied with running back Jalen Richard leading the team in catches.

Either way, some things will need to change in the receiver room for the Raiders, but there was still one Oakland receiver who stood out -- though he's just 5-foot-10.

"I think the young kid from Clemson is special," Raiders coach Jon Gruden said of Hunter Renfrow, via the Las Vegas-Review Journal. "I think he's a real fun guy to coach."

Despite missing three games with a rib injury, Renfrow led Raiders wide receivers with 49 catches, adding 605 yards and four touchdowns. The 23-year-old broke out even though he had but four starts. Showcasing great hands, sleek moves after the catch and fundamentally sound route running, Renfrow became a bigger contributor as the season played on.

He truly left a lasting impression when he returned to the field following the aforementioned rib injury.

Over the Raiders' final two games, he had 13 catches for 209 yards and two touchdowns, tallying a score and 100-plus receiving yards in each contest.

"We asked him to do a lot in the last few weeks and he delivered," Gruden said. "He ran some routes (Sunday against the Broncos) that were outstanding."

When the Raiders hit Las Vegas in 2020, there's likely to be plenty of changes overall, but in particular with the receiving corps. It doesn't look like Renfrow's going anywhere in Gruden's offense but upward, however.