Let's try something new here, Raider Nation.
The Silver and Black have not let the offseason go to waste so far, signing players that should immediately help improve the team going into the 2021 season. Out of those free agents, General Manager Mike Mayock secured more weapons for Derek Carr, who topped 4,000 passing yards and 27 touchdowns this previous season.
Out of the offensive signings that the Raiders made, there are three dynamic playmakers that stand out: John Brown, Kenyan Drake and Willie Snead IV. Which got me thinking: What's the first word that comes to mind when one thinks of their playmaking abilities? It's an opportunity to try something new and have a little fun, as well as get to the point of what Raiders fans can expect from these guys coming into the desert.
John Brown: Deep
John Brown's best feature to his game is that he's a deep route runner.
When Derek Carr needs to go find someone deep to make a play, Brown — and, of course, Henry Ruggs III — will be there right there for him. He so polished and also possesses great speed, and Brown's bread and butter since he was in Arizona is taking the top off secondaries and being trusted to go get the ball. I believe Brown is the perfect replacement for Nelson Agholor, who caught eight touchdowns for the Raiders last season. If Brown can stay healthy, I honestly see him being able to surprise a lot of people as a heavily featured target in this offense and put up similar statistics.
"I saw that they used (Agholor) pretty well," Brown said after signing. "I didn't really pay attention to what they did with him; I just paid attention to the whole offensive system. I just wanted to come be a part of it."
Kenyan Drake: Gate
It's the tempo Kenyan Drake plays at – right out the gate.
I have been thoroughly impressed with Drake since he was at Alabama, winning two national championships under Nick Saban with blinding fast speed that's hard to replicate. Drake has also always had a knack for making plays in all facets of the game: running the ball, catching the ball, kick and punt returns; he's a pretty complete running back.
Injuries and offensive schemes are the only two things that have really held Drake back from being considered an elite running back in this league. Last season, he had his best in the NFL and showcased what many thought he would become when he was in Miami. Drake also stated that he believes that the way he played dated back to his time in Miami is what drew Head Coach Jon Gruden to wanting to make him join the Silver and Black.
"I know during his broadcasting games he called a few of my games in Miami, and I know specifically the one where I had close to 200 total yards," said Kenyan Drake. "We beat the Patriots back in 2017 when Jay Cutler was the quarterback. It was like a Monday night game. I felt like I performed at a high level. He obviously had front-row seats to that performance, and maybe that is something that spoke volumes from then to now, and for me to have the opportunity to come and play for him and be used in his offense. I'm just excited about the opportunity and ready to get to work."
Drake is a great addition to this offense and will help ease the workload for fellow Crimson Tide alum Josh Jacobs. Most importantly, you won't have to worry about whether or not Drake will get his footing in this offense. I'll put my money on the fact that Drake will do what he's known to do: sprint out of the gate.
Willie Snead IV: Sneaky
"Sneaky" came to mind when I thought about how Willie Snead IV is able to create separation from the defender.
Snead has always been someone to me that has deceptive speed to find open spots within the middle of the field and make plays, and while he may have not had the pleasure of being the most high-profile name out of the receiver corps he's been apart, that's worked out for him, as he's been able to expose one-on-one matchups because of that.
He's also had the pleasure of playing with the likes of some excellent quarterbacks in Drew Brees and Lamar Jackson. Derek Carr is another great quarterback that can get the ball to Snead when he's open and replicate the same success he's had in New Orleans and Baltimore.
"I got a phone call from Coach Gruden, and we were able to talk for a little bit," the wideout said during his introductory conference call with the Raiders. "Just the vision that he has for this offense, and I'm pretty familiar from my time with the Saints just with scheme and everything that they do. I was just really excited about possibly being here in Vegas, and it's been an awesome experience since I stepped in the building. Everybody's been first class, and I've just been feeling right at home."
"So, really excited for the opportunity here in Vegas and just looking forward to when we come back to football."
View photos of all the Raiders' free agency additions and re-signed players headed into the 2021 season.