Raiders Deep Dive: Wide Receiver Bryan Edwards Is A Beast
Randy Sartin-USA TODAY Sports

When you play in a division with the Kansas City Chiefs, the priority is simple: score points. While obviously defensive players are needed to slow down Patrick Mahomes and Co., the greater need is guys who can get the ball into the end zone in order to keep pace.

And so, it shouldn’t come as a surprise then, that three of the Las Vegas Raiders’ first four picks were on the offensive side of the ball — in Henry Ruggs III, Lynn Bowden and Bryan Edwards. Having already done a deep dive on Ruggs and Bowden, today we turn to Edwards — who I think might be the steal of the entire draft.

Listed at 6’3″ and 212 pounds, Edwards is a freaking tank — especially for a guy who seems to love contact. Named a second-team All-SEC player in 2019, Edwards finished his career with school records for receptions (234), receiving yards (3,045), consecutive games with a catch 48) and was second all-time in receiving touchdowns (22).

So why was he even on the board in the third? In part because of the depth of receivers, but also because a foot injury cost him the chance to run at the combine.

“This is a guy who, if he hadn’t snapped his ankle may have gone higher,” Thor Nystrom of Rotoworld said. “Last year he would have been a second round pick.”

Interestingly enough, a second-round grade is exactly what Mike Mayock said they had for Edwards. But Nystrom believes that may have even been higher if not for the situation he found himself in at South Carolina.

“He was used weird, which didn’t help his cause,” he said. “They throw a lot of screens in stuff which was Deebo (Samuels’) game, and they tried to use Edwards like that but it isn’t really his game. He’s one of the most physical guys in the class, and is freaking shredded when you see him up close, so I imagine the Raiders are going to use him more how he should have been used.”

When you read that scouting report, you can see why the Raiders liked this pick — especially alongside their first-round pick, Ruggs. While Ruggs doesn’t have elite size, he has world-class speed — and so finding a big-bodied, physical receiver to pair with Ruggs made a ton of sense.

“He’s that tough, physical kind of player that the Raiders covet,” Brett Kollman of “The Film Room” said. “He’s a handful for smaller defensive backs to cover because he’s like a dominant center in the paint when he runs his routes, and when he gets the ball in space he instantly turns into a running back. I think he’s the perfect complementary skillset to Ruggs’ blinding speed.”

Oh, and he can do this:

Or, my personal favorite:

The more you dig into Edwards, the more you realize that the Raiders got not only a person they clearly like, but they got a DUDE who should be a difference maker in this offense for a long time. When you look at the young core they are building — with Darren Waller, Josh Jacobs, Hunter Renfrow and now Ruggs, Bowden and Edwards — you can see the makings of an offense that should be among the best in the league.