Even without mini-camps, Las Vegas Raiders wide receiver Bryan Edwards is still slated to be a draft steal.
Raiders general manager Mike Mayock and head coach Jon Gruden went into the 2020 NFL Draft knowing the team’s offense needed serious help. Wide receiver was the position that required the most attention. Other than wide receiver Hunter Renfrow, no other player stood out last year. Tyrell Williams showed flashes of brilliance early on with a touchdown streak. However, plantar fasciitis eventually derailed his season. Enter Bryan Edwards, the six-foot-three and 212-pound pass-catcher from the University of South Carolina.
Josh Schrock of NBC Sports recently elaborated on Edwards and his draft story. Looking back, it was an unfortunate injury in his collegiate career that turned his misfortune into a win for the Raiders.
“Edwards, 6-foot-3, 212 pounds, is seen by many as the steal of the draft. He was one of the most physically gifted wide receivers in a loaded class, but a broken foot prior to the NFL Scouting Combine sent him sliding down draft boards.”
No one wants to see a player get injured and put his dreams of going professional in jeopardy. By the same token, hadn’t it been for the unfortunate turn of events, Edwards might’ve gone a lot earlier in the draft. His former college coach, Will Muschamp, highlighted more of what Edwards will bring to the Raiders, adding that there’s an “80-20 chance” he’ll get the ball if he goes up for it.
Another thing that will help the Raiders and quarterback Derek Carr is Edwards’ size. His reach and physicality will be a nightmare for opposing defensive coordinators. Muschamp elaborated on this as well, “He’s a big, physical guy. He’s a difficult matchup on smaller corners and certainly inside on safeties. He’s a mismatch type of guy. Because of his physicality, his length, his athleticism, it’s not a 50-50 ball with Bryan Edwards.”
The Future Looks Bright
While it would be unfair to put lofty expectations on a rookie coming off an injury, the Raiders might end up coming away with the steal of this past draft. A potential wide receiver corps in 2021 could feature Renfrow, Edwards, and Henry Ruggs III assuming Williams doesn’t return after this season. That would be a youthful and explosive wide receiver corps that could dominate the AFC West for years to come, assuming Carr elevates his game as well. Football can’t get here fast enough. Raider Nation, let us know your thoughts in the comments section.
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*Top Photo: Sean Rayford/Associated Press