After a disappointing, injury-riddled rookie season, Raiders wide receiver Bryan Edwards isn’t letting the pressure to perform during his sophomore campaign bring him down.
And the pressure is real. He’s still running with the first unit at Raiders training camp, despite the presence of veteran wideouts John Brown and Zay Jones. Edwards owns elite size and athleticism, however, at 6-foot-3 and 212 pounds. At his full potential, Edwards simply offers a skill set that might be unique to the Las Vegas roster.
But can Edwards find his groove in 2021? According to tight end Darren Waller, Edwards is playing free and loose on the practice field, which can only help. Waller said that both Edwards and fellow second-year WR Henry Ruggs III are continuing to become more confident, and Edwards is letting his personality shine in Henderson.
“Just him out there, being free,” Waller said of Edwards during media availability on Saturday. “Not worrying about injury or anything like that. He’s just having fun. You can see his personality showing up. He’s being goofy out there, having fun, just being loose.”
That’s positive news for the Raiders. If you’re going to play like yourself, you’ve got to be yourself. It’s a process for every young player, and Waller sees both Edwards and Ruggs continuing on their path as starters for coach Jon Gruden, despite underwhelming production as rookies.
“I see those guys stepping in and doing great things,” Waller said. “Rookie years always come with some sort of challenge, some sort of adversity, and you’ve just gotta take it and keep moving on; it’s a process.”
With Edwards’ skill-set and Ruggs’ elite speed, the Raiders’ young wideouts have all the potential in the world to become a dynamite one-two combo for Gruden and quarterback Derek Carr. But that’s all it is at this point: potential.
Thus far, they’re not wilting in the Las Vegas heat. It’s early, however, and the pressure will only become more intense. If Edwards — and Ruggs, too — can continue to grow in confidence during training camp, perhaps we’ll see his personality shine when the games count for real in the regular season.