Hunter Renfrow isn’t physically impressive at 5-foot-10 and 184 pounds. He once was described as looking like "a substitute teacher." He also doesn’t have track-star speed or first-round draft status.
But the Raiders rookie from Clemson already is turning heads in Oakland’s training camp, earning praise from teammates and coaches for his play on the field and his work ethic and toughness.
Renfrow, a fifth-round pick, had 186 catches over his four years at Clemson for 2,133 yards and 15 touchdowns.
After drafting Renfrow, Raiders general manager Mike Mayock said Renfrow "has an innate feel for the game, as far as separation, how to get open."
And, so far, that’s exactly what Renfrow has been doing against defenders in drills and scrimmages in training camp.
Starting safety Karl Joseph told Anthony Galaviz of the Sacramento Bee that Renfrow is the complete package as a wide receiver.
"Man, he’s everything," Joseph said. "He’s deceptively fast and he’s got quickness. He’s smart. He’s very smart. He knows how to get open in the zone. So, I think he’s going to surprise a lot of people this year."
His former college teammate, cornerback Trayvon Mullen, drafted in Round 2, says it’s nothing new to see Renfrow succeed, even on a higher level. He says Renfrow always has played in the shadow of other wide receivers, yet matches or succeeds them in production.
Said Mullen: "He’s that guy that’s just going to give his all. To me, he’s going to get open every play just because of how he plays. He’s an elite receiver. He was always slept on."
Early in training camp, Renfrow was often matched against veteran defensive back Lamarcus Joyner – one of Oakland’s key veteran free-agent signings this offseason – and fared well against the ex-Ram.
Raiders head coach Jon Gruden is excited by Renfrow’s progress.
"He’s taken a lot of reps and I like him," Gruden told reporters recently. "He’s got a lot of instincts and naturalness that you have to have to play the position."
Renfrow will get a chance to play his first professional game in the Raiders' exhibition opener on Aug. 10 vs. the Los Angeles Rams.