The Las Vegas Raiders got hit with some very concerning news when it was revealed that wide receiver Tyrell Williams tore a labrum in his shoulder. While reports indicate that he still plans to play, it’s hard to imagine he’ll be as effective. This injury opens the door for Bryan Edwards to find a large role in the offense a lot quicker than expected.
Despite the Raiders’ attempts to keep him a secret, the third-round wide receiver has been getting rave reviews at training camp and it was recently revealed that he’s even started to take snaps with the first team.
“Today running with the one’s, Bryan Edwards was there,” Tashan Reed of The Athletic said on the State of the Nation podcast. “I don’t know if I can technically say that or not, but they had him out there. So I don’t think there’s any hesitancy to start him, I just think Gruden may not want people to know that yet or how good that they think he is. But I don’t think they’re going to not put him out there just for the sake of saying ‘ah, we don’t want to have a starting rookie wide receiver duo.”
Fellow Henry Ruggs is expected to start but the Raiders could surprise and have two rookies starting out wide Week 1. That seemed unlikely when Williams was healthy, but if he has to miss time, Edwards could be the logical replacement due to their similar body types.
Edwards a Sleep OROY Candidate?
The Raiders are hyped on Ruggs and he should be a factor from the very first game but it almost seems like Edwards is getting even more hype than the first-round pick. In fact, Bill Barnwell of ESPN named Edwards as a tier 2 sleeper Offensive Rookie of the Year candidate:
He is already ahead of expectations after recovering from that foot injury, and while training camp reports for young players are almost always positive, virtually everything out of Raiders camp has suggested Edwards is turning heads. Las Vegas has a more notable first-rounder at the position in Henry Ruggs and returns Tyrell Williams after an injury-hit 2019, but there’s a chance that Jon Gruden and the Raiders could start the year with Ruggs playing ahead of Hunter Renfrow in the slot while both Edwards and Williams start outside. (Williams also could become trade fodder.) Ruggs is still the favorite to see a significant target share in Las Vegas, but Edwards is rapidly rising up the depth chart and could make an immediate impact, with his size playing up in the red zone.
The only reason Edwards fell to the third round was because of an injury. If he’s already fully healthy, he could be an impact player a lot quicker than anybody expected.
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Is Edwards Getting Overhyped?
Now, before the hype train gets out of control, it’s important to note that this is training camp. Edwards hasn’t done anything to prove he can be effective in an NFL game yet. Remember Keelan Doss? He was supposed to be a huge steal for the Raiders after an impressive training camp but was nonexistent for most of the season.
The team has veterans like Nelson Agholor and Zay Jones who can handle starting duties at the beginning of the season. However, if the Raiders coaches are confident in Edwards, there’s no reason to slow down his development. It’s impossible to know if Edwards will be as good as advertised until he suits up on Sundays. That being said, it’s undeniable that he’s having an impressive training camp.