The Las Vegas Raiders’ draft record has been dicey in recent years but 2020 stands out as one of the worst classes of any team over the past several years. Out of the seven players selected, just fourth-round picks John Simpson and Amik Robertson remain. Third-round picks Tanner Muse and Lynn Bowden Jr. never even played a snap for the team.
One of the Raiders’ most interesting picks that year was wide receiver Bryan Edwards. Many projected him as a first-round pick had he been fully healthy at the time of the draft. The 6-foot-3 stud out of South Carolina is built like a tight end but has wide receiver speed and route-running ability. However, new Raiders head coach Josh McDaniels didn’t see a role for him so the team traded him and a seventh-round pick to the Atlanta Falcons for a fifth-round pick.
Unfortunately for Edwards, a fresh start with a new team didn’t revamp his career. The Falcons announced that they have released the wide receiver.
In seven games with the Falcons, Edwards had three catches for 15 yards. His lack of success is odd considering Atlanta’s starting quarterback is Marcus Mariota, who played with the wide receiver for the last two seasons in Las Vegas. The Falcons seemed like a logical landing spot due to Arthur Smith’s love for big wide receivers. He’s got enough talent to where another team should give him a chance this season.
Jon Gruden Once Compared Edwards to Terrell Owens
Edwards seemed like a future star when the Raiders drafted him. He lit up training camp as a rookie with numerous circus catches and earned a starting spot. However, he only brought in 11 catches as a rookie. The following offseason, he put together another standout training camp. He was playing so well that former Raiders head coach Jon Gruden compared him to Hall of Fame wide receiver Terrell Owens.
“Edwards has great ability,” Gruden said last year, via NFL.com. “He’s got great ability. I’m excited about him. You see he looks like T.O., he looks like one of the number one wideouts in the league.”
Edwards’ second year was much better as he had 34 catches for 571 yards but still failed to look the part of a future star. He may never be at Owens’ level but he could be a solid No. 2 or No. 3 wide receiver for the right team.
New Raiders Regime Has Been Correct to Move on From Certain Players
The decision to trade Edwards was met with some pushback due to his solid second season and big-time potential. Now that he’s been released by Atlanta, it’s clear that McDaniels and general manager Dave Ziegler were right to move on from him. The Raiders also moved on from former first-round pick Alex Leatherwood in the offseason after just one season with the team. He has yet to play a game for the Chicago Bears this year.
So far, Ziegler and McDaniels have made the correct moves by getting rid of some of the previous regime’s mistakes. It has put a spotlight on how bad the Raiders have been at drafting. The hope is that the new regime doesn’t repeat the same mistakes in the draft.