Coach Gruden believes Zay Jones is the Raiders' most improved player


Usually when the No. 1 receiver on your depth chart goes down with a season-ending injury in Training Camp, it leaves your team in flux. For the Raiders, it's just an opportunity for another talented receiver to step up and shine bright.

The Las Vegas Raiders placed Tyrell Williams on IR September 1 with a torn labrum, effectively ending his season.

Despite Williams going down for the season after a 2019 season which saw him top 600 receiving yards and six touchdowns, Coach Gruden sees receivers on the roster now who can fill the void.

One of those will be Zay Jones. Jones has made strides in his second season as a Raider, impressing the coaching staff in camp and garnering chemistry with quarterback Derek Carr. Gruden has gone as far as to say that he believes that Jones is the most improved player on the roster.

"(Jones) has really done a great job of getting himself quicker, getting himself in premier shape and faster. His stamina is something I marvel at; he can run all day and he's a lot more confident," Gruden said.

The team will also be looking to veteran free agent signing Nelson Agholor to make some plays. Agholor signed a one-year deal this offseason, and he's looking to make an impact for the team in whatever capacity he can.

"This is a beautiful opportunity for me to get a chance to play under a guy like Coach Gruden who has a background in coaching receivers, and I chose this opportunity to make myself a better player," Agholor said. "I'm embracing any role that comes my way."

Agholor is expected to use his veteran experience to bring along the young receiving core that the Raiders have put together the past two years in the draft. Second-year receiver Hunter Renfrow is poised to pick up where he left off from his rookie season, in which he produced 605 receiving yards and four touchdown catches.

The Raiders are also invested in their first and third-round 2020 draft picks in Henry Ruggs III out of Alabama and Bryan Edwards out of South Carolina. Both rookie receivers have been impressive throughout Training Camp.

"(Ruggs) is a great kid who has been brought up well, got a great family," Gruden said Wednesday. "He's just a hardworking, no-nonsense, day-to-day, consistent grinder. He's got a big future ahead of him I think, as long as we don't screw him up."

The Raiders will be looking for big-time production from their receiving core depth as they travel to Bank of America Stadium in Charlotte, NC, to play the Carolina Panthers for the first game of the season on September 13.

Get an exclusive look at photos from the Raiders practice at Intermountain Healthcare Performance Center in Henderson, Nev.

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