2021 Raiders Rewind: Bryan Edwards Took A Step Forward

Bryan Edwards didn’t have an extraordinary or spectacular year for the Las Vegas Raiders. Not by a long shot. However, he was solid, and despite some bad moments, Edwards had himself some clutch moments.

When the Raiders selected Edwards in the third round of the 2020 NFL draft, his high potential led to a lot of expectations for him. Those expectations fell a bit after what seemed like a quiet and distant rookie campaign. Edwards played in 12 games that year and failed to even tally 200 yards. Another full offseason and a new year helped re-ignite those hopes for him among many in Raider Nation, and this time Edwards was able to produce.

The Pros

Edwards did have a solid year, though, despite some inconsistencies. Something he showed a lot of potential in was his ability to be a red-zone threat.

Standing at six-foot-three and 210 pounds, it would make sense that Edwards would be seen as an easy red-zone target. That was one of the main reasons Raiders’ fans were initially so excited when it came to Edwards. In his defense, it was something he had gotten better at this year.

The Raiders’ offense, in general, was putrid in the red zone this year, but Edwards repeatedly saw a lack of targets in that area, so it doesn’t seem like he was one of the main reasons for that. He made several great catches in or near the end zone this year, like this one:

Although his number of targets fluctuated wildly throughout the year, Edwards didn’t lose a step. He did have some tough drops, but he made up for that by making some clutch catches as well. For example, in the Raiders’ dramatic win against the Baltimore Ravens, Edwards caught two heavily contested passes to get Las Vegas into field goal range at the end of regulation. There’s still plenty of room for Edwards to grow, but he did flash his potential at various points throughout the season.

The Cons

With that said, some of his drops were crucial. For example, there are plays like this where Edwards just makes a simple mistake in the open field:

That drop was in a playoff game, and Edwards had some bad drops at other points during the season as well. In a loss against the Bears early in the season, he dropped a wide-open, beautiful deep ball from Derek Carr.

One of the reasons for his drops could be his lack of targets. It’s hard to get into a rhythm when the passes coming your way are few and far between. Still, it would be unfair to leave him free of any blame for this. Edwards has proven he’s able to win 50-50 balls against a single defender, but he hasn’t shown the ability to get separation in the open field. Until he figures that out, the number of targets he receives likely won’t increase.

What will Year 3 look like for Edwards and the Raiders?

At the end of the day, Edwards is still young and has plenty of time to improve. He began this season at the age of 22 and will enter next year as a 23-year-old. In his sophomore campaign, he did show some improvement, and statistically speaking, he was much better.

Edwards hasn’t emerged as a great receiver or one of Carr’s favorite targets yet. There’s nothing about his game that shows he won’t be able to do that, though. After a rough rookie season, he was able to put in a much better showing in his second year. If he’s able to improve on his drops and his inability to create separation heading into his third year, his future is going to be bright.

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*Top Photo: Heidi Fang Las Vegas Review-Journal

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2 thoughts on “2021 Raiders Rewind: Bryan Edwards Took A Step Forward”

  1. Darrell Peebles

    I do not like but LOVE my boy BE (89) I see a diamond 💎 n the rough as stated above my team as a whole STUNK in the RED ZONE. The part that thrills me is the 50/50 balls he wins like a RB he needs REPS. I predict yr 3 OUTBREAK SEASON as I’m PRO BOWL. ( REAL TALK)

  2. He had every opportunity to become the number one WR but didn’t. I don’t know if he has reached his ceiling, but right now he is looking like a #4 receiver on a good team. Maybe a strong off-season program will let him reach his potential given his youth. I hope so.

Let us know your thoughts, Raider Nation!

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