In their first year in Las Vegas, the Raiders had a season of ups and downs. Thanks to Covid-19, the Raiders didn’t get to play in front of their home fans this season. They will have to wait till the 2021 season to play in front of the Las Vegas fans. Despite no fans, the Raiders started the season with a 6-3 record over their first nine games, with wins over the New Orleans Saints, Kansas City Chiefs, and Cleveland Browns. However, they went 2-5 over their final seven games and ended the year with an 8-8 record, and missed the playoffs.
What Went Right
Derek Carr had an excellent season, throwing for over 4,000 yards for the third season in a row. He had a 3-1 touchdown to interceptions ratio after throwing 27 touchdowns and only nine interceptions. Meanwhile, Josh Jacobs played in 15 games and finished eighth in the league with 1,065 rushing yards, while he finished third with 12 rushing touchdowns. After a breakout 2019 season, Darren Waller cemented his place among the league’s best weapons, totaling 107 catches for 1,196 receiving yards and nine receiving touchdowns, all team highs. Despite big named weapons at wide receiver, the Raiders’ offense averaged 27.1 points per game in 2020, which ranked 10th in the league.
What Went Wrong
As impressive as the offense was in 2020, the defense was equally disappointing. They gave up 29.9 points per game, which ranked as the third-worst in the league. They had only 10 interceptions as a team, with Jeff Heath being the only Raider with more than two interceptions. In total, the Raiders had 18 turnovers all season long. Despite using several draft picks and plenty of money in free agency, the Raiders had only 21 sacks this season (1.1 per game). Furthermore, Maxx Crosby was the only Raider with more than three sacks in 2020. Even after spending four draft picks on cornerbacks over the last two years, the Raiders still need to address the position in the offseason.
Team Award Winners
MVP – Darren Waller
In 2019, Waller had a breakout season with 90 catches on 117 targets for 1,145 yards and three touchdowns. However, he took his game to the next level in 2020 with 107 catches on 145 targets for 1,196 yards and nine touchdowns. Not only did he lead the team in every category, but he finished fourth in the league with his 107 catches. If not for the historic season Travis Kelce had, Waller would have made All-Pro First-Team.
Offensive Rookie of the Year – Henry Ruggs III
Even though he had high expectations as the first wide receiver drafted in 2020, Ruggs flashed at times this season. He only totaled 26 catches for 452 yards and two touchdowns as a rookie but did have 13 first downs in 13 games. Despite limited snaps and targets, Ruggs had two games with 80 or more receiving yards. He also had the game-winning touchdown in their Week 13 win over the New York Jets. Ruggs has a long way to go, but his rookie season did offer some promise.
Defensive Rookie of the Year – Damon Arnette
Given how poorly the defense played this season, picking a good winner for this award is impossible. Arnette struggled to stay on the field as a rookie, playing in only nine games. Furthermore, he played only 10 total snaps in two of those games as injuries plagued him all season long. However, he played a big role in the Raiders Week 2 upset victory over the Saints, totaling seven solo tackles while playing 82 percent of the snaps. If he can stay healthy next season, Arnette could turn things around and become a long term starter for the Raiders.
Biggest Surprise – Nelson Agholor
After five disappointing seasons in Philadelphia, Agholor signed a one-year deal with the Raiders. At the time of the signing, many thought nothing of it and even considered him a long shot to make the final roster after the Raiders drafted two wide receivers in the first three rounds of the draft. However, Agholor broke out this season after playing on the perimeter, totaling almost 900 receiving yards on 48 catches. His 896 receiving yards and eight touchdowns were both career-highs. With Agholor hitting free agency next month, it is unclear if he will be back with the Raiders next season or not.
Biggest Disappointment – Entire Rookie Class
The Raiders had two first-round picks for the second draft in a row last year. However, their 2020 rookie class was a disaster their first year in the league. Not only did the Raiders trade third-round pick Lynn Bowden Jr. to the Miami Dolphins before he even played a snap, but they also did so for a day three pick in 2021. Meanwhile, Ruggs and Bryan Edwards combined 37 catches and two touchdowns this season. Furthermore, despite spending three top 140 draft picks on defense, the trio of Arnette, Amik Robertson, and Tanner Muse totaled 29 tackles and zero turnovers. This class must play better in 2021, or else Mike Mayock‘s seat needs to get hot.
One Burning Question
Will Derek Carr be back in 2021?
Carr has played well over the past few seasons despite getting public criticism. However, many in the public and around the league feel the Raiders have reached their ceiling with Carr under center. Recently, rumors are the Raiders are aggressively pursuing a trade for Deshaun Watson and are willing to trade Carr. The Watson situation likely won’t be resolved anytime soon and with that in mind, will the Raiders trade Carr in an attempt to add more draft capital?