Heading into the season, there was a ton of hype surrounding the Las Vegas Raiders‘ rookie wide receivers. Henry Ruggs and Bryan Edwards were highly touted coming out of college and both were slated as starters at the beginning of the season. Injuries and lack of production caused both men to see their roles decrease as the season went on.
Edwards pretty much dissappeared between Weeks 9 through 16 as he only caught four passes in eight games. Fortunately, he was able to end the season on a high note. Despite only catching two passes in the season finale against the Denver Broncos, Edwards made a very impressive touchdown catch for the first score of his career. It was a good way to end a disappointing season. Head coach Jon Gruden thinks that Edwards had a very strong career ahead of him.
“So happy to get [Edwards] in the end zone,” Gruden said after the Week 17 win. “Plus, he made a big catch to set up another score. He’s going to be a great one. … He’s got a lot of the intangibles off the field we’re looking for. Ruggs got hurt, but we think we have two good young receivers.”
If Edwards hadn’t gotten hurt before the draft, he may have been a second-round pick. He’s got a ton of talent and there have been some analysts that have suggested he could have a better career than Ruggs. The Raiders just need to figure out how to get him more involved in 2021.
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Derek Carr Loves Throwing to Edwards
Derek Carr has always been a quarterback who likes to distribute the ball but you have to earn his trust. Edwards never got a chance to do that this past season but Carr does like throwing the young wide receiver the ball.
”He’s aggressive and I love throwing the ball up to him,” Carr said. “I can throw him the ball differently than I throw to someone like [Nelson Agholor] because he’s more of a jump ball, contort your body, that kind of receiver. Violent after the catch.”
The Raiders didn’t have a true “X-Receiver” in 2020 but Edwards figures to be that for them going forward. He’s big, strong and has great hands. The team was terrible at scoring touchdowns in the red zone this season so maybe they can start dialing up some more plays for Edwards.
Edwards Happy to Get First Score
If Gruden and Carr are right, Edwards has a very bright career ahead of him. However, even he acknowledges that 2020 was a struggle but was happy to end on a high note.
“It was an amazing feeling,” Edwards said of his first touchdown. “This year has been a struggle for me. I’ve had some ups and downs, but to finish and go out the right way is so great.”
Edwards wasn’t expected to have much of an impact during his rookie season due to injury issues. He got plenty of chances to play but didn’t make a lot of plays. If he can get his body right and put in some work with Carr in the offseason, Edwards could be a more reliable wide receiver next season.