When the Raiders selected Bryan Edwards in the third round off the 2020 NFL draft, they did so because he was an extremely physical receiver. At South Carolina, he routinely out-muscled players at big schools, such as Trevon Diggs and Patrick Surtain II at Alabama.
After selecting Henry Ruggs III at pick No. 12 that year, they wanted to pair him with a big receiver who could win in contested areas. It took a while, but Edwards is starting to show the rest of the league that the Raiders were right to pick him so high.
According to Pro Football Focus, no player in the NFL has a better grade in contested catch situations than Edwards. He routinely wins when the ball is in the air and finds ways to finish through contact. While contested throws aren’t a big part of the offense for the Raiders, it’s nice to have someone on the roster who thrives in those situations.
Highest receiving grades on contested targets this season:
Bryan Edwards – 93.1
Terry McLaurin – 91.4
DJ Moore – 91.3 pic.twitter.com/R66z8kdeNj
— PFF (@PFF) September 30, 2021
Through three weeks, Edwards has totaled 210 yards on just 13 targets for the Raiders. As he and Derek Carr continue to build a connection, it’s fair to assume that he will see more work in the passing game.
As of now, Edwards is a highly efficient receiver who is used in a very specific part of the field for the Raiders. However, look for his role to gradually get bigger as he becomes more comfortable in the offense.