Las Vegas Raiders lose key piece in Tyrell Williams to torn labrum
The Las Vegas Raiders need all their offensive firepower. Before the season has even started, one of their weapons is down for the count.
Veteran receiver Tyrell Williams was announced out for the season with a torn labrum. Las Vegas was counting on Williams to be a threat alongside rookie receiver Henry Ruggs III, who general manager Mike Mayock drafted to be their burner downfield in 2020. With Williams gone, the onus now falls more squarely on Ruggs in the passing game, with second-year man Hunter Renfrow working the slot.
Last year, Williams came to the Raiders on a four-year, $44 million deal. In his first year with the club, Williams caught 42 passes for 651 yards and six touchdowns in 14 games.
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Without Williams, Ruggs will be joined on the perimeter by fellow rookie Bryan Edwards out of South Carolina. With the Gamecocks, Edwards caught 234 passes for 3,045 yards and 22 touchdowns over four seasons in his SEC career. Suddenly, he’s been thrust into the spotlight.
While losing a component is reality in the NFL, it’s a tough moment for Las Vegas in its quest to win a playoff game for the first time since 2002. The Raiders don’t have much defensively in the way of proven players. The only true star is second-year edge rusher Maxx Crosby, who is coming off a 10-sack campaign.
In short, it is completely on the offense’s shoulders to win games. While Williams isn’t the star either running back Josh Jacobs or tight end Darren Waller are, he’s the third-most proven weapon on the team. Without him, Ruggs can more easily be handled by opposing defenses unless Edwards is simultaneously a breakout star.
That’s a ton to ask for out of a pair of rookies.
Of course, it comes back to quarterback Derek Carr as well. Carr might be playing for his job this season, needing a quality campaign to stick with the Silver and Black. To lose Williams — a player he already has chemistry with — is a blow.
Without Williams, the Las Vegas Raiders still have ample firepower at all positions, but depth is struck and a starter is down. Come Week 1 against the Carolina Panthers, Carr and Co. will need to make due with a pair of youngsters on the outside. We’ll see if they’re ready for the test.