Entering Year 4 of Jon Gruden, part two, these three players are hidden gems on the Las Vegas Raiders roster.
The Las Vegas Raiders have upped their win total in each of Jon Gruden’s three seasons back as head coach, from four to seven to eight. They gave the Kansas City Chiefs their only loss in a game they were trying to win last year, and nearly beat the two-time reigning AFC champions twice.
Gruden has the security that comes with a 10-year contract, so it’s safe to say others (like GM Mike Mayock) are on a hotter seat than he is entering the 2021 season. But it’s still time for the novelty attached to Gruden to start yielding better results. Via the Las Vegas Review-Journal, the Raiders’ head coach knows it’s time.
“We proved we can compete in the AFC West,” Gruden said. “We proved we can win on the road. Now we’ve got to prove we can win at a much higher level.”
If the Raiders are even marginally better defensively, a playoff spot could be coming this year. But looking at the roster on the whole, these three players are hidden gems.
3 hidden gems on the Las Vegas Raiders roster
3. Foster Moreau is overshadowed by Pro Bowl tight end Darren Waller
Darren Waller is one of the best tight ends in the NFL, and he’s essentially the Raiders No. 1 receiver. So there’s not a lot of room for Moreau to contribute. But he averaged 20 yards a catch with two touchdowns on seven catches last year, and on 28 career catches over two seasons he has seven touchdowns.
Jason Witten didn’t do much for the Raiders last season, but he is leaving behind 405 snaps in an offense that had multiple tight ends on the field 41.7 percent of the time last year (according to Sharp Football).
Vic Tafur and Tashan Reed of The Athletic (subscription required) have pointed to Moreau having a bigger role in the red zone this year. If something happened to Waller, he’d be the No. 1 tight end in an offense that targeted wide receivers at a league-low rate in 2020.