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Renner: Temper expectations when it comes to Las Vegas Raiders rookie WR Bryan Edwards

The wide receiver position has arguably been the most difficult to scout over the past half-decade. Recently, first rounds have been littered with busts, as just throwing darts could have netted you equivalent returns to the NFL as a whole.

There are several reasons why that's the case, but one of the biggest is simply situation — if you're being pumped targets in a favorable offense, your numbers are going to look good almost regardless of talent level. And if your quarterback can't get you the ball to save his life, it's quite literally impossible to put up big numbers.

[Editor's Note: PFF's advanced statistics and player grades are powered by AWS machine learning capabilities.]

That brings up the confounding evaluation of former South Carolina receiver Bryan Edwards. Depending on your point of view, Edwards could quite easily fall into both of the categories listed above.

He was fed 107 targets in a rough Gamecocks passing attack last season in the wake of Deebo Samuel's departure. By season's end, 36 of his 71 receptions came on screen passes, and 10 of his 15 broken tackles came on those screen receptions. At the same time, he hauled in only eight of the 23 passes that were thrown to him 15-plus yards downfield, though that was often through no fault of his own, as South Carolina's quarterbacks combined for a 60.0 passing grade last season.

The above is a big reason why evaluations for Edwards were all over the map. Some had him as a borderline first-round talent, citing his 590 yards as a 17-year-old freshman in the SEC as a reason to believe his talent went unfulfilled in a putrid offense. The 2020 PFF Draft Board didn't quite see him the same way, as he checked in at 128th on our final board as the 23rd-ranked receiver.


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