Las Vegas Raiders: Grade and analysis of third-round pick Bryan Edwards

Las Vegas Raiders, Bryan Edwards (Photo by Jacob Kupferman/Getty Images)
Las Vegas Raiders, Bryan Edwards (Photo by Jacob Kupferman/Getty Images) /

The Las Vegas Raiders selected South Carolina wide receiver Bryan Edwards with their second third-round pick in the 2020 NFL Draft.

The 2020 NFL Draft was widely considered to contain one of the deepest wide receiver classes in recent memory. As the first three rounds have officially concluded, it’s obvious that Jon Gruden, Mike Mayock, and the Las Vegas Raiders intended to capitalize on the opportunity to completely overhaul the position.

The team wisely utilized their first-round selection on Alabama speedster Henry Ruggs. They also used their first pick in the third round (80th overall) to add Kentucky star Lynn Bowden to the receiving corps. However, the team did not stop there.

The positional revamping continued when the team selected another top receiver with the 81st overall pick — South Carolina playmaker Bryan Edwards.

Here are my grades for the pick.

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The Need: B

One would have likely assumed that Las Vegas would look to fill other positional needs after spending two of their first three picks at receiver.

The team had already added Ruggs and Bowden Jr. to a room with veterans Tyrell Williams, Nelson Agholor, and Hunter Renfrow. They also had two notable pass catchers at tight end in Darren Waller and Jason Witten.

However, the Raiders were clearly not done adding playmakers to the offense. While this particular pick does put pressure on the team to address other needs in the latter rounds, it is an excellent addition to the roster.

The Raiders are entering the season with two average quarterbacks leading the way. Both Derek Carr and Marcus Mariota are good (but not great) passers with very little overall team success on their resumes.

If the team is going to find success this season, it is important that one of the two signal-callers takes a step forward. What better way to increase those odds than by adding plenty of weapons around them?

The Talent: B+

Edwards is a prototypical possession receiver. His 6-foot-3, 215-pound frame will allow him to thrive in a  physically grueling NFL. He is not the type of player who will use speed and athleticism to separate from his defender.

However, he does have the size and strength to use his body to shield defenders from the ball while he hauls in receptions in traffic.

Edwards’ skillset makes him project as a hybrid receiver/tight end. He will be a great asset as the field shrinks in the red zone. After the team invested in two receivers under six feet tall, Edwards will bring something totally different to the table.

I had written before the draft that I felt a player like LSU’s Thaddeus Moss was worth a look with this pick. The Raiders clearly saw the same value and drafted a player with similar abilities.

The Value: B

The Draft Network gave Bryan Edwards a four (out of five) star rating before the draft. Meanwhile, ESPN’s analysts ranked him as the 16th best WR and the 100th best overall player.

This seems to indicate that the Raiders drafted him at the right spot. It’s not as though Edwards was a transcendent talent that mysteriously fell further than expected. But drafting him at pick No. 81 also wasn’t a reach.

This was a solid value who was drafted in the correct spot.

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Overall Grade: B

I like this pick. The Raiders spent the majority of their focus in the free agency period addressing holes in their defense. Now, the team has shown a focus on offense during the first two days of the draft.

Las Vegas suddenly finds themselves in an offensively potent AFC West division. Former MVP and Super Bowl Champion Patrick Mahomes and the Kansas City Chiefs will be a difficult challenge to contend with each season.

To make matters worse, the Los Angeles Chargers just added star Justin Herbert with the sixth overall pick, while the Broncos added two elite receivers with their first and second-round picks.

It was necessary for the Raiders to infuse their offense with weapons if they hoped to seriously contend in their own division. So far, because of picks like Bryan Edwards, they have done a good job keeping the pace.

Next. Las Vegas Raiders Draft: Initial grade and analysis for Lynn Bowden. dark

This is a solid pickup by Gruden and company.