Assessing Antonio Brown as an Oakland Raider

Fred Biletnikoff, Cliff Branch, Tim Brown, Jerry Rice… Antonio Brown.

I like the sound of that.

It’s not every year that the Raiders possess one of the best receivers in NFL history, but 2019 is here and so is AB. After enduring a 2018 campaign where the offense scored 13 points or less six times and the defense ranked dead last in points allowed, Jon Gruden and Mike Mayock needed to add an abundance of talent to be competitive. They certainly did just that, and none of the moves were a higher volume of sheer talent added than trading for a 4x first-team all-pro wide receiver that’s on his way to the Hall of Fame.

When you look at Brown’s statistical output over the last six seasons, it’s historic… literally. In fact, he surpassed Jerry Rice for the most receiving yards in any 6-year span in NFL history with 9,145 yards since 2013. He also has the most catches in any 6-year period, as his 686 receptions over that same stretch of time topped Wes Welker’s 672 mark from 2007-2012.

And now this dude is a Raider. I’m giddy.

What makes Brown so great? There’s no short answer to that, but I’m going to highlight three different parts of his game that I appreciate the most…


He flat out catches the ball. In 2018, Brown had the 2nd-best drop rate among players who were targeted through the air 135+ times, as his 1.7% was bested only by DeAndre Hopkins (1.2%). Here’s a little comparison between AB and the players that Derek Carr was throwing the football to last season…

  • PIT A. Brown – 168 targets, 3 drops (1.7%)
  • OAK J. Cook – 101 targets, 9 drops (8.9%)
  • OAK J. Nelson – 88 targets, 3 drops (3.4%)
  • OAK J. Richard – 81 targets, 3 drops (3.7%)
  • OAK S. Roberts – 64 targets, 4 drops (6.2%)
  • OAK A. Cooper – 31 targets, 3 drops (9.6%)

Brown’s reliability as a pass catcher goes beyond just last season, too. He has been elite at grabbing the ball his entire career. According to PFF, Brown has a 4.01% drop rate on catchable passes since 2010, which ranks 3rd in the NFL among receivers with at least 1,000 targets.


A big part of maximizing the potential of AB is getting him the ball in space, as he’s an explosive playmaker who knows how to make a man miss. He was top-5 among pure wide receivers in yards after the catch last season with 485.

I expect Gruden to scheme quite a few short passing concepts that will give AB the ball quickly so he can catch and run, but I’m more excited about the intermediate throws that he can turn into big, explosive plays with his natural “showtime” ability. What will help with that is the fact that he’s such a clean, nuanced route runner. The amount of separation he usually creates should give Carr a friendly window to get him the ball on a regular basis.

When you turn on the film and watch Brown as a Steeler, you’ll notice that Ben Roethlisberger made a lot of anticipatory throws before AB got to the top of his routes. It’ll be key for AB/DC to get on the same page in that way so they can take their connection to the next level. For the record, I don’t expect that to be an issue.


Brown is a touchdown machine. His 74 career trips to pay dirt through the air rank 35th-best in NFL history and 3rd-best among active wide receivers. Just last season, AB paced the entire NFL with 15 receiving touchdowns, four of which took place within the opponents 10-yard line. He also finished 2018 with the 4th highest end zone target share (46.5%), so Pittsburgh clearly knew how productive he was in the red area and did whatever they could to feed him.

After finishing 22nd in overall red zone TD% last season, it’s nice to know that Oakland has a true go-to guy going forward that can help them cash in for six.

Speaking of that, it’ll be fun to see how Gruden goes about taking advantage of the extra attention that AB garners from defenses, as they’ll likely continue to roll over coverage and bracket him because he’s so lethal. This should get even more interesting in the red zone, which should directly result in favorable 1-on-1 matchups for some of Carr’s other weapons, especially those with size (Tyrell Williams, sup?). If opposing defenses decide to hold off on the extra attention, Carr’s eyes will likely light up pre-snap and Brown will feast.

Factor all of that in and it’s not difficult to imagine the Raiders being a really tough out in goal-to-go situations.

Barring any unfortunate injuries, Antonio Brown should have a monster first season with the Silver & Black. He’s everything that Carr needs in terms of a no. 1 receiver and AB himself gets the fresh start that he so desperately wanted. It’s a win-win situation for all parties involved and should help ignite an offense that seems poised to flip the script from last season.

Buckle up, Raider Nation.

September is coming and business should be boomin’.

(Featured Photo:


1 thought on “Assessing Antonio Brown as an Oakland Raider

  1. Wow! Nice AB article. Loved the video and the narration! He’ll be a fine addition to the Raiders team this year!

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