When so many rookie WRs break out in recent memory, it’s very hard to pay any attention to rookies who had close to zero production in Year 1.
Bryan Edwards fits that mold, but he also fits the mold of WRs who have higher chances of succeeding in the NFL. I’ll explain why in a second.
Before I do, those metrics and factors that give him an edge as a prospect coming into the league are also coming with potential serious opportunity in 2021.
Edwards is running ahead of John Brown in training camp as the X receiver, and Jon Gruden is raving about him, saying that he “looks like Dez Bryant out there.” He is not speaking the same way about Henry Ruggs, describing Ruggs as someone who is “coming along.” We got beat reporters talking about looking like Randy Moss out there, catching everything even in tight coverage. Hyperbole, sure… but information worth noting.
Still, the first team WRs in camp have been Edwards and Ruggs, with Hunter Renfrow lining up in the slot in 3-WR sets. John Brown is running with the second team. It really looks like Edwards is getting the opportunity to be that highly coveted X receiver in Gruden’s offensive system.
Going back to why Edwards has a higher chance of success, it’s based on a few factors.
One is that he broke out before 18 years old. When you combine that with 2nd round draft capital, WRs who hit this threshold have had a 43% hit rate at being a top-24 receiver at some point in their careers. 43% might not seem like a lot, but it’s way higher than WRs who don’t hit this threshold.
The man also hit an insane 50% dominator rating in college, meaning he accounted for 50% of offensive production (yards + TDs) for his team for an entire season.
There’s a void in the offense for a WR1. Darren Waller will obviously get his, but there is no one behind him. With Nelson Agholor gone, there are plenty of vacated targets to go Edwards’ way, especially considering Gruden’s history of peppering his X receiver.
He hardly played any snaps last year, but was on the field for 75% and 61% of snaps in his first two games before he got hurt.
He’s on my radar in the last round of every draft. He’s free.