The Las Vegas Raiders needed to upgrade their wide receiver corps after getting moderate returns in recent seasons. For that reason, they selected a pair of playmakers in the 2020 NFL Draft.
The Raiders are expecting Henry Ruggs III and Bryan Edwards to turn their wide receiver room into an electrifying group. Last season, they didn’t get much from the unit and tight end Darren Waller led the team in receiving yards. The team’s top wideouts last season, Hunter Renfrow and Tyrell Williams, are back. Nevertheless, their wide receiver corps will definitely look different this upcoming season.
Although Williams and Renfrow will not be out of the equation, their role with the team will certainly change. Originally viewed as Antonio Brown’s sidekick, Williams ended up becoming the Raiders de facto No. 1 receiver last season. Throughout the 2019 season, the veteran was hindered by plantar fasciitis. Now healthy, he should bring an element of speed to the Raiders offense. On the other hand, Renfrow will mainly play on the slot, where he’s the most effective. After finishing last year with back-to-back 100-yard games, Las Vegas would be foolish not to feature the sophomore in their offense.
The rookies are getting rave reviews
Ruggs is getting a lot of hype ahead of the 2020 season and Raiders want to see Edwards’ physicality in college translate into the pro game. Even though the duo has not stepped on the football field yet, they are already receiving praise from their teammates. Recently, a contingent of Silver and Black players have been getting together to practice at a public park in Las Vegas. There, the rookie wide receivers have shown flashes of what they can do and have impressed some veterans along the way.
In a recent phone conversation with Vic Tafur of The Athletic, tight end Derek Carrier says he things Ruggs and Edwards are ready to contribute.
Henry and Bryan look really good. Their ability to be able to contribute right away is very clear. I am so excited to see them on the field. This draft class definitely has the ability to do some serious work in its first year.
Carrier isn’t the only one that has been impressed with the newest Raiders wide receivers. Safety Erik Harris also shared his thoughts with Tafur. The veteran says he’s excited to get together with them while raving about their talent.
You can tell they’re young, but those guys are smooth. They can run and are big-body receivers. I am excited to see what things are looking like when they are going 100 percent full-speed in a real practice. The reps at the OTAs that these guys are missing are very valuable, and that’s why getting together like we did was pretty special.
It’s too early to start making predictions about the impact Ruggs and Edwards will have in the upcoming season, but if their teammate’s opinions are an indication, the rookies’ addition will definitely benefit the Raiders offense.
Top Photo: Sean Rayford/Associated Press