Heading into last season, Bryan Edwards was one of the most hyped Las Vegas Raiders players. The third-round wide receiver had an impressive training camp and the team elevated him to a starting role. He got off to a slow start and then got hurt, which caused him to miss four games.
While he was out, Nelson Agholor emerged as the team’s No. 1 wide receiver. Edwards didn’t have much of a role after that. He ended the season with only 11 catches for 193 yards and one touchdown. Despite the tough rookie season, there’s still a belief that he can be a good wide receiver for the team. Raiders Hall of Famer Tim Brown that Edwards is a player to watch for the team this season.
“I really think the guy to look out for this year is Edwards,” Brown told Heavy.com. “I think he’s going to be a major major cog in what happens with this Raiders offense because of his ability to run those 10 and 15-yard routes. If he can make people suck up on him, it’s going to open up things for [Henry Ruggs] Ruggs behind him so it’s going to be interesting to see what happens with these guys.”
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Will Edwards Step up in 2021?
This offseason, the Raiders lost Agholor to the New England Patriots and replaced him with John Brown. Brown is a solid receiver but is best suited to be the No. 2 or No. 3 option. Henry Ruggs was the team’s top pick last season and the hope is that he’ll develop into the No. 1 wide receiver.
If Ruggs continues to underwhelm, that could open the door for Edwards. He was considered one of the better wide receivers in last year’s class but injury concerns caused him to slip. His rookie season was a wash but he still has a ton of potential. He’s the only true X-receiver on the roster and Derek Carr has had success with those types of receivers in the past. It’s hard to imagine that Edwards isn’t at least slightly more productive in 2021.
Jon Gruden Wants to See High Usage From Kenyan Drake
One thing that could make the Raiders’ offense more dynamic is if they got more receiving production from their running backs. Josh Jacobs is an elite rusher but doesn’t affect the passing game much. That’s a reason why the team signed Kenyan Drake to a sizable deal this offseason. Head coach Jon Gruden is planning to let Drake see the ball quite a bit this season.
“Doug Martin had 190 touches three years ago when [Marshawn] Lynch went down,” Gruden said. “DeAndre Washington had 144 touches when Jacobs went down two years ago. And this past year, Josh went down and DeVonte Booker got 110 touches. So we’re going to try to circulate the touches Kenyan Drake’s way. He’s a guy that’s made big plays.”
Gruden wants to use his running backs a lot and he now has one of the best duos in the NFL. The Raiders’ offense will live and die by the running game in 2021.