Heading into this offseason, everybody knew the Las Vegas Raiders had a major need at wide receiver. Though they largely ignored the position in free agency, they doubled up in the first three rounds in the draft. First-round pick Henry Ruggs III will get most of the attention this season, but third-rounder Bryan Edwards could be just as good.
According to NFL insider Adam Caplan, Edwards has a chance to be one of the best wide receivers in the class and was highly respected by wide receiver coaches.
Edwards left South Carolina as the leading wide receiver in school history. He fell in the draft due to some injury concerns, but many didn’t think he’d fall out of the second round if he was fully healthy. He could end up being a major steal for the Raiders.
As wide receivers, Edwards and Ruggs are polar opposites. The former is big and strong while the latter is small and fast. Both players should do a lot to help open up the Raiders’ offense.
Edwards’ College Coach Had Strong Praise for Him
Had Edwards not been in a wide receiver draft class that was considered one of the deepest in recent memory, he may have gotten selected a lot higher. The Raiders definitely aren’t complaining as they were able to snag two potential difference-makers at the position in the draft. Edwards’ coach at South Carolina, Will Muschamp, had some very strong praise for the wide receiver.
“Bryan is a good a young man, as clean a draft pick as I’ve ever been around as far as his character is concerned,” Muschamp told Raiders.com. “He comes from a great family, but a really good football player. He’s got a great competitive edge about him. He’s a self-starter. A guy you’re not going to have to worry about as far as motivation and those things are concerned. Very intelligent, can play multiple positions. Got a huge catch radius and he’s got really good vertical speed down the field. He’s also going to bring a lot to the organization as far as special teams is concerned as well.”
Muschamp also talked about his prolific stint with the Gamecocks.
“He’s leaving South Carolina as statistically the best receiver to ever play here,” Muschamp said. “There’s been some great ones — Sterling Sharpe, Alshon Jeffrey — that have played here at South Carolina. Robert Brooks who coach Gruden has coached as well. First impression, he’s going to light up the room with his smile. He doesn’t say much. He’s a worker. 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. It’s more of an 80-20 when he’s going up to get the football.”
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Edwards Has Some Great Hands
You don’t have to watch a lot of Edwards highlights to realize that the man can catch. He’s made some Odell Beckham Jr. level grabs.
Wide receivers for the Raiders have been among the worst in the NFL at holding on to passes over the last several years. That should hopefully change with Ruggs and Edwards coming to town.