Week 17 Mini-Report: WR Bryan Edwards, LV v. DEN
I went back through some of the ‘of interest’ game tape/performances from Week 17, took scouting notes, and am sharing some of what I saw this game week – with an eye on long-term/Dynasty/2021.
Bryan Edwards had a season high 51 yards and scored his first TD of 2020 season in Week 17. Are these positive signs that Edwards is going to take/roll into 2021 success…or just a meaningless Week 17 blip in a game between two teams already making vacation plans?
Here are my notes/thoughts on the subject after watching his work in Week 17:
1) 2020 Background…
This season began with Bryan Edwards as an (a) starter for the Raiders at WR, and (b) his starting position was actually as the team’s #1 WR. Edwards-Ruggs started Week 1, as Edwards was the talk of training camp…and both expected to do big things right away in 2020.
Edwards started/played 75% of the snaps in Week 1. He got nicked up and left the game late, and only had 1 catch for 9 yards.
Edwards started Week 2, playing 61% of the snaps and seeing 2 targets, making a nice/tough catch and tallying 42 yards.
Edwards started Week 3, and he saw a season high 3 targets and (a then season high) 48 yards got hurt in-game (in the 2nd-half) and then went on I.R. for several weeks.
He returned Week 10, not a starter and playing 15-30% snaps in games as a backup…and barely targeted in games. Since Week 10, Edwards’ targets in a game: 1-2-2-1-0-0-1-2.
It was a very underwhelming season from expectations.
2) This Week 17 appearance/output…
Three things to note from this game:
a) His TD catch was what you want to see – him beating his coverage going downfield, a few feet of space, Derek Carr threw it to him in the end zone over the top of the defender, Edwards just turned all the way around and snatched a tough catch with very soft hands. Edwards just engulfs the ball when he catches it but also latches onto it in a way that’s so smooth it’s like he’s cradling a baby. It’s a very odd thing to watch…his hands are some of the best I’ve scouted in my time in the business.
A quick glimpse of tape of the TD catch: https://youtu.be/MXHOJDWqe7Y?t=140 (should open right to the play and that’s all you need to watch is the one play).
b) Perhaps my favorite thing from this game for Edwards – after he caught the TD, everyone was jacked up about it. Like really excited. Carr raced to greet him. Carr and Gruden shared a moment about it. Edwards had so many teammates come by and congratulate him on the sidelines. There was a real, amped up sense of joy with this Edwards TD.
Edwards is well-liked because of the work he puts in (and talent that he has)…I think it was relief/joy for him and his teammates to see him have some success this lost season. You want to see that in a young player – respect from his teammates as we look for ‘the little things’/clues on guys who haven’t had much of a chance yet.
c) His second catch was his bread and butter for the future (as it was in college)…a slant over-the-middle, buttery smooth/textbook catch on the run and then he’s so quick for his size he just turned a 10-yard catch into 20+ yards evading and outrunning a few tacklers.
I’ve thought Edwards was going to be a star right away…a top 3 WR from this class, and arguably the #1 from this class in the end – this game gave the tiniest of hints at that hope and future.
3) The 2020 season numbers of hope…
Edwards only saw 15 targets, but he has some interesting numbers within the small sample size.
-He caught 11 of his 15 targets…a 73.3% catch rate is a pretty good rate, especially considering he made 2-3-4 catches in 2020 that were things of beauty but lost in the low output.
Look at some of these catches…they call them ‘grown ass man catches’: https://youtu.be/qfNtkk1DBgQ
-Edwards averaged 12.9 yards per catch in 2020, again...small sample size.
You know who led the NFL in yards gained per target in the 2020 season (of qualifying WRs with enough targets)?
Will Fuller…11.7 yards per target.
Of the non-qualifiers (30+ catches) who had 10 or more catches, the top yards per catch WR in 2020 was Tyron Johnson…then Donovan Peoples-Jones…then Bryan Edwards. The thing with Tyron and DPJ…they each had a LONG (70+ yards) pass play to inflate their numbers. Edwards got his the old fashioned way, not off one big play.
I guess what I am saying/feeling after the season…there is hope here. It feels long lost because we all had jacked up excitement for Week 1 and then Edwards let us down and now a season has gone by and the rookies are old news, as we wonder -- will Edwards get past Nelson Agholor?
My guess is the Raiders let Agholor walk in free agency because they know what they have in Edwards, and with another year under his belt, and for as good as he is – he’s going to explode onto the scene…and Dynasty FFMers are already going to have Edwards or we’re going to get him this offseason, cheap. He’s going to be one of the biggest paydays in fantasy ahead…I just don’t know if that is going to be 2021 or 2022, but I believe we’ll see a big step ahead in 2021 and possibly full breakout mid-2021 season.
Maybe the most interesting 1:41 you’ll hear about Bryan Edwards…is from Derek Carr during the 2020 preseason/camps. Listen to the names he compares him to…don’t tune out/get distracted listening to this, really listen in hard to what Derek Carr is communicating (and then you’ll know why Edwards began the season as a starter): https://youtu.be/rMx7YbeLugA
You think Carr comparing Edwards to Davante Adams is a stretch? Guess who Carr’s #1 WR was in college…
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There to greet you upon early sign-up will be a welcome message and the beginning of our annual Dynasty Rookie Draft Re-do – using the 2018-2019-2020 rookie prospects…and once that mock draft is completed, we will start to early sprinkle in/compare the 2021 prospects within that for an early comparison.
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The first of our many 2021 detailed scouting reports (starting with the top of the QB class, as is our usual) will post the week of the 11th…and then we’ll be adding scouting reports daily throughout the pre-NFL Draft and post-NFL Draft process.
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