One of the biggest winners of training camp so far for the Las Vegas Raiders has to be rookie receiver Bryan Edwards. After falling to the third round of the 2020 NFL Draft, Edwards has impressed every step of the way since being drafted.
With Tyrell Williams suffering a severe shoulder injury, Edwards has received even more time with the starters in training camp. And while that news has excited so many (including us) around the NFL, is the hype around the former SEC star getting a little out of hand?
In a recent article by Anthony Treash of Pro Football Focus, he laid out the case as to why we shouldn’t set expectations too high for Edwards in 2020. Not only is he a rookie, but he could struggle to create consistent separation, according to Treash. Here is a snippet of his thoughts on Edwards entering the season:
“We, however, feel it’s time to pump the breaks on Edwards being deemed a likely standout rookie in 2020. Edwards has the size to win contested balls downfield but hasn’t shown the ability to consistently separate. As PFF’s lead draft analyst Mike Renner said in the article linked above, if Edwards got open at the intermediate or deep levels, it was because of his physicality as opposed to shaking defenders at the top of his route. And as we all know, the NFL is far more physical than college football.”
As Renner pointed out in an earlier piece this week, the Raiders don’t target the “X” receiver much in their offense under Derek Carr. Instead, the offense works from inside out, as players like Darren Waller and Hunter Renfrow will see much of the target share this season. Edwards could be used heavily near the goal line and on key third-downs, but it does feel unlikely that he will post gaudy reception and yardage totals this season.
Edwards could very well end up as the team’s Week 1 starter against the Panthers, but there are reasons to believe that his statistical production this season could be limited. But the fact that he appears to be on his way to earning significant snaps as a rookie is a fantastic sign for his longterm outlook with the Raiders.