Even at the young age of 26, Hunter Renfrow has established himself as a veteran leader of the Silver and Black. During the early stages of OTAs, it can be seen clearly on the field.
The Pro Bowler, going into his fourth season as a Raider, has been seen leading the way with Davante Adams on receiver drills – setting the tone for the room and visibly lending advice and expertise to his younger teammates. From the outside looking in, Renfrow is embodying a true leader of this team, as he's currently the longest tenured Raiders receiver on the roster.
Yet in the mind of Renfrow, he's no more special than anyone else among the receiving corps. And he hasn't even taken the time to evaluate his status as a leader of the team as slot receiver has one main focus.
"We're so deep into installing an offense, that I really haven't though about that a single time," Renfrow said Thursday.
There's great reason why Renfrow should be this deep in learning the new offense. Even with Adams and Darren Waller lined up beside him, Renfrow will still be heavily relied on. Josh McDaniels' offenses in the past have been notorious for getting the most out of the slot receiver position.
In McDaniels' time in New England, the undrafted Wes Welker became a two-time All-Pro selection under his direction. Seventh-round pick Julian Edelman became the first receiver in a decade to be named Super Bowl MVP. And last season, Patriots slot receiver Jakobi Meyers totaled nearly 900 receiving yards.
So what is it that makes slot receivers excel in McDaniels' system?
"Well one, they're really good players," answered Renfrow. "I think Coach McDaniels is just very good at teaching the details of it. And those guys did a good job. It's a lot of work, he puts a lot on them but I think it can be rewarding if you buy into what he has to say. And he's had some good receivers in the past so some of it is being where you need to be and being consistent."
The Raiders are looking to further capitalize on the production the 2019 fifth-round pick provided last year – leading the team in receiving yards, touchdown grabs and receptions. Yet after all he accomplished during his breakout 2021 season, the new staff sees even more potential.
"A very talented player. I've been asked about him in the past and he's just he's a gritty guy, knows how to get open, knows how to win on third down, has some return experience, is good after the catch," General Manager Dave Ziegler said about Renfrow in April. "So, yes, Hunter is a good football player and has a good a lot of good elements that allow him to be successful on Sundays, which is important. And he's a young player.
"We love good receivers and, you know, he's one of them."
View the best photos from the fifth day of the Las Vegas Raiders' OTAs at Intermountain Healthcare Performance Center.