The Raiders lost their first game in Week 3. We take a look at how their rookies fared.
The Las Vegas Raiders suffered their first loss of the season on Sunday morning. The team was without first-round pick Henry Ruggs and fellow rookie receiver Bryan Edwards, which limited Derek Carr‘s options.
That was amplified by the fact that the New England Patriots did a nice job of keying in on tight end Darren Waller and limited him to only two catches for nine yards.
Injuries have plagued this team so far in this young season, and that is especially true when it comes to the rookies. This week, nobody will be on the stock-up section, so we will dive right into the rookies whose stock is neutral.
Raiders rookies stock neutral
Ruggs was out Sunday with a hamstring injury. The Raiders offense clearly struggled in part due to that. Bill Belichick and the Patriots defense did a nice job containing Waller, and the Raiders’ other starting receiver, Bryan Edwards, left the game with an ankle injury in the third.
Now the Patriots could key in more on bottling up Josh Jacobs. The offense was a lot less versatile than the previous two games, looking a lot like the offense from last season.
Jon Gruden is reportedly “concerned” about both of his rookie receivers’ injuries. This might not mean that Ruggs will miss a significant amount of time, but if he does continue to miss games, his stock will be trending downward.
Ruggs is reportedly a “longshot” to play Sunday, so it is likely that becomes the case. Bryan Edwards finished the day with two receptions for a season-high 48 yards on three targets. Both of his receptions went for first downs.
In the third quarter, he left the game with an ankle injury. Edwards seems to fall awkwardly every time he is brought down, so learning to fall may be something he needs to work on.
Edwards was spotted Monday wearing a walking boot. This does not necessarily mean the ankle injury is serious, but it is something to keep an eye on. And as the above report about Ruggs being a longshot shows, Edwards will be out Sunday and is week to week.
Beyond the injury, I would like to see Edwards get open more often. Six targets through three games as a starting receiver is not a lot of volume. He has made the most of his few receptions, however, which is why I do not see his stock as trending down yet.
Tanner Muse is, of course, still on injured reserve. Amik Robertson, on the other hand, could possibly see some snaps this week.
With Arnette gone he may be active, unlike last week. Robertson was active Week 1 as well, but didn’t log a single snap, on either defense or special teams.
Raiders rookies stock down
Damon Arnette had another decent week following a tough start Week 1 against the Carolina Panthers. His tackle numbers went way down, from seven last week to only two this week.
Still, Cam Newton didn’t have the best day through the air and while Trayvon Mullen’s strong showing had the most to do with that, Arnette was not getting picked on.
That was amplified by the fact that the Patriots did a nice job of keying in on Darren Waller and limited him to only two catches for nine yards.
His best play of the day came in the second quarter. The Patriots were in the red zone and Arnette saved the touchdown with a deflection in the corner of the end-zone.
Meanwhile, per Pro Football Focus, Arnette has given up 10 catches on the 11 times he has been targeted. That doesn’t seem too good, but the number of times he has been targeted is pretty low through three games.
The reason his stock is on a decline is not really due to his play though, as he has been improving. The fact that the rookie may miss six weeks with his thumb injury and will possibly be put on IR is why.
John Simpson filled in for Richie Incognito after the veteran suffered an injury mid-game. Simpson was fine with his run blocking but did struggle pass blocking.
Simpson gave up fice pressures against the Saints. He was blown back almost into Carr on a couple of occasions which forced the quarterback to escape the pocket. He finished that game with a lowly 11.8 PFF grade.
Simpson struggled against the Patriots as well. Simpson posted a 39.1 grade per PFF. He surrendered one sack and two hits, as well as a hurry. He also committed a couple of penalties.
I also spotted him being overpowered in the run game on multiple plays as well. Simpson was known for being a strong mauler, especially in the run game, so that is surprising.
Hopefully the fourth-round pick can step up his game and fill the hole the always-solid Incognito has left for the next couple of weeks.