The Las Vegas Raiders – despite lacking consistent talent at the position – fared surprisingly well in team receiving yards in 2019. Collecting over 4,000 yards through the air for the season, Jon Gruden’s offense ranked No. 12 among all teams. However, most of this work was not done by their receiving core of Tyrell Williams, Zay Jones and Hunter Renfrow.
Tight ends and running backs led the way for the Raiders last season, which is why it was a concerted effort to change that heading into 2020. Over the offseason, the Raiders drafted Henry Ruggs III with their first-round selection and Bryan Edwards in the third round while also adding Nelson Agholor via free agency. Now, the Raiders are young and much deeper at a position that struggled in 2019.
It’s not only the additions to the roster that Gruden is excited about, but also the growth from within. When discussing the receiving core, Gruden specifically cited Jones as the team’s most improved player heading into the 2020 season, according to Vic Tafur of The Athletic:
Meanwhile, WR Zay Jones is the most improved player on roster. Gruden: “He’s quicker, he can run forever and he has more confidence.”
— Vic Tafur (@VicTafur) September 2, 2020
Jones – who is only 25 years of age – still has plenty of growing to do, but Gruden’s confidence in him during training camp is an excellent start.
Jones was traded to the Raiders early on in the 2019 season, eventually suiting up for 10 games with the team. During those 10 games, he struggled to make an impact the same way he did with the Buffalo Bills. He averaged just two receptions for 14.7 yards per game in Oakland.
Perhaps some time was all he needed to adjust. If so, a breakout season could be in order for the fourth-year receiver.
Jones hoping for a long-term future in Las Vegas
Despite this being Jones’ first full season with the Raiders, he already sees himself as a part of the team’s long term future.
He cited last year’s struggles to getting adjusted within the offense, but now he feels like he can be a versatile weapon for years to come in Las Vegas.
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