The Oakland Raiders have been left for dead by many this off-season, with a new head coach and the departure of their best player. To make up for these losses, they managed to sign Pro Bowl wide receiver Jordy Nelson from Green Bay Packers. If he can stay healthy in his twilight years, Raiders could be contenders in the stacked AFC West..
The “Raiders division” is a team that has been struggling for years to find success. With the addition of Davante Adams, can they finally make it into contention? Read more in detail here: raiders division.
Davante Adams, the top wide receiver in the NFL, is now a member of the Las Vegas Raiders’ roster. For that privilege, they had to give up a first and second-round selection in this year’s draft to the Green Bay Packers, but in an AFC West division that is stacked, it’s a move that will be well worth it.
But, for the Raiders, how much of a difference can Adams make?
The AFC West is the hardest division in the NFL, and the Raiders play in it.
During the second half of a game against the Kansas City Chiefs, Derek Carr #4 of the Las Vegas Raiders reacts after getting sacked | Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images
The AFC West, which is where Patrick Mahomes and the Kansas City Chiefs call home, was always going to be difficult. Prior to the Cincinnati Bengals shocking the NFL world by making it to the Super Bowl this past offseason, Mahomes and the Chiefs had made it to two Super Bowls, winning one of them.
In fact, the Chiefs have been so successful of late that they have not only participated in, but also hosted, the last four AFC Championship Games. Their recent in-division supremacy is also undeniable. Since 2016, the Chiefs have won the AFC West six times in a row.
That’s what Adams and the Raiders will have to live up to, and that’s without taking into account the division’s other key changes.
The Los Angeles Chargers were not willing to wait around and watch the rest of the division improve now that Russell Wilson (yes, that Russell Wilson) had joined the Denver Broncos. They’ve made huge efforts to boost their defense, trading for Khalil Mack and adding standout corner J.C. Jackson, not to mention having their own top 10 quarterback in Justin Herbert.
With the arrival of Adams, the Raiders may have an exceptional attack. The Chargers, on the other hand, have created a defense to stop them, while the Broncos and Chiefs have offenses capable of keeping up with anybody in the league.
Davante Adams’ contribution to the Raiders’ offense
Green Bay Packers #17 Davante Adams celebrates a touchdown against Seattle Seahawks #28 Ugo Amadi | Dylan Buell/Getty Images
Adams is widely regarded as the finest pure wide receiver in the NFL, and he’s earned it in Green Bay over the last several seasons. Of course, he’s had a four-time MVP in Aaron Rodgers give him the ball, but Adams’ skill is so transcendent that he’ll come down with the ball more often than not, whether it’s from Rodgers, Derek Carr, or the waterboy on his lunch break.
For Adams, route-running is the name of the game. Mind you, he wasn’t always a GOAT receiver. He was picked in the second round by the Packers, and he had “bust” written all over him for the first several seasons due to a severe case of “the drops.” Year after year, he focused on his trade and improved, until he recognized that his fast feet, attention to precision, and ability to gain separation made him practically undetectable to opposition defensive backs.
Despite being double- and triple-teamed at times, he has over 1,000 yards in three of the previous four seasons in Green Bay. In five of his eight NFL seasons, he’s recorded at least 10 touchdown receptions. In 2020, he had an 18-touchdown season in only 14 games.
Adams is the apex of the aristocracy. He’s the guy that opposition defensive coordinators have to prepare weeks ahead of time around. He’s also adaptable enough to play everywhere on the pitch, allowing him to get open in unusual and innovative ways. There’s nothing he can’t do on the football field, whether it’s motioning into the slot or running a “go” on the outside.
How the Raiders’ offense will be opened up by Adams
Green Bay Packers #17 Davante Adams and Oakland Raiders #4 Derek Carr talk after their preseason game at Lambeau Field | Dylan Buell/Getty Images
It goes without saying that adding a player of Adams’ caliber to Las Vegas’ offensive will revolutionize the team’s offense. Carr has worked with a number of talented wideouts throughout the years, but none have been on the same level as Adams.
Adams could become a huge safety net for Carr when Vegas needs a big first down. In the red zone, he’s even better, as his route-running and ability to get open truly show.
In the end, Adams will help to open up the game for the rest of the offense’s talent.
In 2021, Darren Waller appeared in only 11 games and scored two touchdowns, but he’s coming off a 1000-yard and nine-touchdown season in 2020. With defenders now focusing their attention on Adams, it wouldn’t be unexpected if Waller had his greatest year ever, and that’s saying a lot.
Hunter Renfrow is another player who might improve on his 1,038 yards and nine touchdowns from 2021. With Adams taking away a lot of catches, he won’t receive as many (103) as he did last year, but the already productive wideout could be even more dangerous heading forward now that he’ll be able to take advantage of coverages aimed at Adams and Waller.
Carr is, of course, the last but not least. Since joining the league in 2014, he’s been a near-top-ten quarterback. It goes to reason that now that he has his college teammate and close buddy running routes for him again, he’ll find the game a lot simpler. Oh, and they’re also neighbors, so anticipate some serious chemistry between Adams and Carr.
All of this adds up to an offensive that should be able to run and gun with the division’s other clubs. The Raiders’ defense should be difficult to beat now that Chandler Jones has joined the team and Maxx Crosby has signed a new contract extension.
Is there an X-factor in Las Vegas?
Adams, Jones, Carr, or Waller aren’t the culprits.
It’s on to new head coach Josh McDaniels to show that he’s not the same man who seemed to be in over his head without Bill Belichick’s coaching and the New England Patriots’ framework.
Everything else is in place for Vegas to contend in the AFC West, and Adams’ addition makes it much more likely.
ESPN and Pro Football Reference provided the statistics. Spotrac provides contract information.
RELATED: After trading Davante Adams, the Packers must now choose a wide receiver in the first round of the NFL Draft.
Frequently Asked Questions
What did the Raiders trade to get Davante Adams?
A: The Oakland Raiders traded their 2019 fifth-round pick and a 2020 seventh-round selection to the Green Bay Packers in order to acquire WR Davante Adams on March 14th, 2019.
Why did Packers trade Adams?
A: The Green Bay Packers traded for the Seattle Seahawks in exchange for a number of picks and players.
Who did the Packers get for Adams?
A: The Packers got Ty Montgomery.
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