The Las Vegas Raiders were in a dire need of wide receiver reinforcements after the 2019 season. They took care of that need when they drafted Henry Ruggs III and Bryan Edwards earlier this year. Although Ruggs may be the one getting most of the hype, Edwards is seeing some praise his way too.
Darren Waller caught the most passes and the most yards for the Raiders last season. The fact a tight end and not a wideout was the Silver and Black’s receiving leader showed the need for upgrades.
It’s not that the Raiders wide receiver corps was bad per se. Rather, injuries and inexperience surrounded the position for most of the 2019 season. Tyrell Williams suffered from plantar fasciitis most of the year. Also, Hunter Renfrow only broke out until Week 16 with a couple back-to-back 100-yard games. Nevertheless, the Silver and Black selected Ruggs and Edwards in 2019’s draft.
What do the Raiders have in Edwards?
The Raiders used the 12th overall pick on Ruggs and thus, he receives plenty of attention. Whether it’s his Madden ratings or comparisons to other wide receivers, the Alabama product is generating plenty of noise. Although it’s too early to tell, he has the physical tools to succeed in the NFL.
On the other hand, the Raiders invested a third-round selection in Edwards. Even though the Gamecocks receiver isn’t generating as much talk, he already has at least one player’s approval.
Derek Carr likens Bryan Edwards to a Fresno State teammate
Via the Raiders’ official website, Carr praises Edwards’s physical prowess and talks about how the receiver projects that when he plays. Also, the veteran quarterback compares the South Carolina product to one of his Fresno State teammates.
“Bryan is a very violent route runner and that’s a good thing. He’s very violent, he’s very aggressive in his cuts, he reminds me — when the ball is in the air — of [Green Bay Packers wide receiver] Davante [Adams], great ball skills.”
That’s quite a compliment when you consider wide receiver Davante Adams has had a good NFL career. Since the Packers drafted him in 2014, Adams has started 86 games, caught 431 passes for 5,194 yards, and scored 44 touchdowns. Moreover, he’s Green Bay’s quarterback Aaron Rodgers go-to wide receiver.
Carr didn’t stop when he pointed out there’s a resemblance between Edwards and Adams. He went on to explain why they play similarly.
[Edwards] reminds me of that kind of guy, someone who can not only use his physicalness in the route, but also when the ball is in the air.
Catching 50/50 balls is an underrated skill, one both Edwards and Adams possess according to Carr. The Raiders quarterback also mentions the fact he’s been watching tape of the rookie wide receiver. Furthermore, Carr wonders why Edwards wasn’t drafted higher.
Some of those catches you watch him run, he runs a double post, he runs a fade against Tennessee, he runs a double post at home in South Carolina. Some of these things I watched him do on film before the draft, you could tell this dude is a freak talent, like, ‘Why is he not talked about in the first round?
Bryan Edwards doesn’t sound overly overwhelmed
Plenty of eyes will be on Ruggs, especially since he was the first wide receiver that had his name called on draft night. It makes sense that high draft picks will generate bigger expectations. On the other hand, Edwards won’t be under as much scrutiny as his teammates and other wideouts.
It doesn’t matter though. Edwards sounds unmoved and focus ahead of training camp. Despite the fact pro playbooks are more complex, he believes he has it under control.
The terminology is definitely more complex than it was in college. So, there’s a steep learning curve, but with all the Zoom meetings and things we have to do, it’s kind of making it easier just because we spend so much time on the playbook.
Edwards won’t likely start right away for the Raiders. After all, Williams and Ruggs are ahead of him on the depth chart. However, if his physical skill set translates into the NFL, it won’t be long before he becomes a playmaker for the Silver and Black.
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Top Photo: Sean Rayford/Associated Press