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Nelson Agholor is getting a second chance in the NFL with the Las Vegas Raiders — another opportunity to prove he still has the first-round talent the Philadelphia Eagles saw when they drafted him five years ago. While Agholor’s career was full of highs and lows in Philadelphia, he’s back on the West Coast in Vegas and fighting for a role in the Raiders offense. Judging by the early reviews in training camp practices, the Raiders expect Agholor to play a vital role in the passing game this year. 

“Nelson Agholor is on a mission,” said Raiders general manager Mike Mayock, via Jerry McDonald of the Bay Area News Group. “I had a pretty good grade on (Agholor) coming out of USC. I think I know what he is and I think we’re seeing the best of that version of Nellie in camp.”

Agholor averaged a career-low 9.3 yards per catch last season (his final one with the Eagles) as he struggled throughout the year. He finished with just 21 catches for 195 yards and no touchdowns in his final eight games with the Eagles before being shut down for the season with a knee injury. The Eagles’ practice squad group of wide receivers thrived in Agholor’s absence, making the decision much easier to move on from the former first-round pick. 

Agholor signed a one-year deal with the Raiders and he will be battling for the No. 4 wide receiver role with Zay Jones and 2020 third-round pick Bryan Edwards. Agholor thrives in the slot, even though he logged 55.4% of his snaps from there last season and split time there with Golden Tate in 2018. The 2017 season was the last one Agholor strictly manned the slot, and he finished with 62 catches for 768 yards and eight touchdowns in helping the Eagles win their first Super Bowl championship, catching a career-high nine passes in Super Bowl LII. 

The Raiders logged 54% of their offensive snaps in “11 personnel” last season (per Sharp Football Stats), meaning there will be plenty of opportunities for Agholor to get on the field and try to outperform Hunter Renfrow in the slot. If the Raiders keep Agholor as strictly a slot receiver, he can be extremely productive in their offense. 

“He is a good player,” said Raiders head coach Jon Gruden, via Vic Tafur of The Athletic. “You can pick up the Philadelphia Inquirer and they will probably say something different, but this guy has caught over 200 passes, he is a young guy, he has played split end, flanker and in the slot. He caught eight or nine passes in a Super Bowl and won a Super Bowl. So he’s a world champion. He’s a great person … and he can return punts.

“I trust him and I think he was picked high in the draft for a reason. A change of scenery worked for Randall Cunningham, maybe it will work for him.”

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