NAPA -- Wide receiver Hunter Renfrow’s measurables are easily knocked. At 5-foot-10 and 184 pounds, the Raiders fifth-round draft pick isn’t particularly tall or powerful. The Clemson product won’t win many track meets, looks an average Joe walking down the street.
Discount him at your own peril. The guy just gets open.
Renfrow’s knack for creating quick separation was clear over the first two days of training camp, where he has made several nice catches, with a few against slot cornerback Lamarcus Joyner. The rookie has already bested the high-priced free agent a few times early on.
“We asked Lamarcus to give Hunter all he can, and that has been a good matchup,” offensive coordinator Greg Olson said after Sunday’s practice. “We’re really happy. We were happy with where he was in OTAs, and he continued working hard over the summer at getting a feel for things we’re going to ask him to do. He had a good three days of rookie minicamp and a good first two days with the veterans.”
Renfrow’s engaged in the Raiders' fiercest training camp battle, locking horns with veteran Ryan Grant to be the team’s primary slot receiver. The rookie’s impressive start has been eye opening, but progress must continue throughout the preseason. Performing well in games and next week’s joint practices against the L.A. Rams, especially against opposing starters will be vital in establishing his role for the season.
Renfrow’s big-game exploits with Clemson made him a big name, though there were legitimate questions about whether he’d be able to compete with football’s elite.
“Obviously everyone has seen him at Clemson, seen him get open and stuff,” fellow Raiders receiver Tyrell Williams said. “It was really surprising how open he would always get, or how much he’d beat people but then you see him do it out here. It’s cool to see it in person. You know, he works hard, he wants to win, he wants to be a great player, so it’s fun to watch him.”
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Whether it’s his size or his follicle challenges, Renfrow’s an easy punch line around training camp. There is, however, a great deal of respect for how his plays and conducts his business.
“He does not look the part, but don’t let looks fool you or deceive you,” head coach Jon Gruden said. “He’s a great competitor. He’s talented. He’s a quick, fast twitch, natural receiver.”