The Las Vegas Raiders had high hopes for wide receivers Henry Ruggs and Bryan Edwards following their selections in the 2020 NFL Draft.
The promising pair of rookies were expected to etch out integral roles for themselves in the passing game for quarterback Derek Carr. Unfortunately, they each endured underwhelming seasons following a restricted offseason due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.
Ruggs failed to fit the billing as the first receiver off the board with his minimal impact on offense. Meanwhile, Edwards struggled to find his footing at the next level while dealing with injuries.
Although both players may have fallen vastly short of expectations last year, Edwards is focused on his health and development leading up to the 2021 NFL season.
“I mean last year is last year, I can’t change that,” Edwards said. “I had some injuries and things like that. My main focus this year is just being the best person I can be for this team and trying to stay healthy and make as many plays as I can.”
Edwards admits that while it was a frustrating rookie year, he has learned to trust the process.
“It definitely was a process and it obviously was frustrating. Anytime I’m not getting the results I want to get, I’m frustrated and I’m trying fix it. But Rome wasn’t built in one day. All good things take time, and I’m just trusting the process.”
Despite a shortened offseason, Edwards still managed to make quite an impression during training camp last year. This may have led to plenty of hype surrounding the former third-round pick as a potential steal.
Regardless, Edwards’ comments indicate that he still fully embraces the prospect of emerging as a go-to option on offense. Moreover, he has good reason to be optimistic, given his physical tools and overall skill set.
The Raiders already have a couple of speedsters in the receiving corp between Ruggs and John Brown. Edwards could give Carr another big target to work with in the passing game outside of tight end Darren Waller.
His 6-3, 212-pound frame is complemented by his ability to make acrobatic catches. But, of course, the biggest concern for him and the team is ensuring that he can stay healthy enough to make strides in his development.
If the Raiders hope to take that next step on offense this year, they will need Ruggs and Edwards to play integral roles.