Bryan Edwards (WR/South Carolina) has been someone devy and dynasty players have been paying attention to since his freshman year when he posted a breakout age of 17.9. After somewhat surprisingly returning for his senior year, Edwards will finally be headed for the 2020 NFL Draft. Here’s my Bryan Edwards Rookie Profile.
Edwards was a four-star recruit according to both Rivals and 247Sports, with the 247Sports Composite putting him as the third-overall prospect in his home state of South Carolina. He was also an ESPN300 prospect for his 2016 recruiting class and showed very well at the Nike Opening, posting a 4.53 40-yard dash, 37.7 inch vertical, and a 4.31 20-yard shuttle. Those results profile closely to Michael Gallup’s NFL Combine results, though Gallup is two inches shorter than Edwards.
For his collegiate career, Edwards ranks third and fourth all-time in receptions and receiving yards, respectively, in the SEC. Here are his year-by-year stats, with the percent share in parentheses next to each number.
|2016||68 (14.9%)||44 (17.7%)||590 (21.3%)||4 (33.3%)|
|2017||93 (23.4%)||64 (26.1%)||793 (28.4%)||5 (27.8%)|
|2018||86 (19.4%)||55 (20.2%)||846 (23.9%)||7 (21.8%)|
|2019||110 (23.6%)||71 (26.5%)||816 (30.6%)||6 (50%)|
The numbers on their own aren’t anything eye-popping, which is why the context of percent share is important here. Edwards has had less than 20% of the Gamecocks’ main passing game statistics just three times: targets and receptions his freshman year, and just under 20% target share his junior year (Deebo Samuel’s senior year). The fact his six touchdowns in 2019 accounted for HALF of the team’s passing touchdowns says a lot about the offense in general. Over the course of his four years with the South Carolina Gamecocks, Edwards accounted for 17.2% of their scrimmage yards and 31% of his 230 touches went for 14+ yards (both stats courtesy of ExpandTheBoxscore.com).
Let’s cut to the chase and get to the tape so we can really breakdown the Bryan Edwards Rookie Profile in full.
The first thing jumping out to me when watching Edwards is his quick feet and burst off the line of scrimmage, particularly for a receiver of his size. He wastes no time getting into the stem of his route and when he’s setting up a corner with juke steps or breaking in and out of his routes, he has no wasted movement and doesn’t lose speed while doing so. This first clip is from his 2018 game against Georgia. He gets on the defenders’ toes immediately at the snap of the ball and uses his quick, choppy feet to freeze the corner just enough to release outside and beat him downfield.
With Edwards’ frame and solid athleticism, he can gain chunk yardage with both strength and speed. Edwards was used on jet sweeps and pop passes, and this clip from his 2019 game against Alabama shows that. You can see Edwards’ athleticism throughout the run, as well as his strength as he completely tosses a defender to the side and fights for extra yards to get the first down.
When it comes to his route running, something Edwards is very good at is gaining inside leverage. He utilizes a sharp jab step to the outside along with a good head/shoulder fake to open the defender outside, then quickly breaks and snaps his route off to the inside. In another clip from the 2018 Georgia game, watch Edwards at the top of the screen. Again, he utilizes his quick footwork to set up the hard jab step outside, freezing the corner. He doesn’t get the target here, but it shows something he repeatedly put on tape each and every game.
Something I’d like to see more from Edwards is simply consistency. More often than not, he’s showing burst off the line of scrimmage and getting into his route quickly. There are times, however, you can see a clear decrease in his speed both off the line and throughout his stem. Edwards could also use variation in his releases, as he tends to rely on the same few no matter what kind of coverage he’s facing. Releases are something that may not seem like a big deal, but the nuances can completely change a receiver’s game. Davante Adams is someone who has perfected releases.
Another negative to Edwards’ game is his inability to defeat jams, particularly if a defender gets hands on him after he’s already started his route. I believe this is simply a technique issue, as Edwards basically just tries to run through the jam instead of utilizing his upper body strength to manipulate the corner. If he doesn’t work on this, however, corners will pick up on it very quickly at the next level and he could be in for a long day at the office.
While Edwards hasn’t put up prolific statistical seasons at South Carolina, he was a major part of the offense from the time he stepped on campus. With his body size, athleticism, and playing style, he should be able to make an early impact at the next level. His build and overall athleticism also make him a threat at every level of the field, making him a valuable weapon to any offensive scheme and any level of quarterback play. If Edwards can add nuance to his releases and route running, we could see him as a weekly WR2/WR3 for fantasy purposes. Without knowing his combine performance and draft stock/landing spot, I’d currently have Edwards as an early second round rookie pick. If Edwards gets day 2 NFL Draft capital and a solid landing spot, he could easily creep up to the end of the first.
Thanks for reading and please don’t hesitate to reach out and let me know how I can make these more valuable for you! Don’t forget to jump into our free Slack community where we have a channel dedicated to dynasty and will be chatting all offseason. Also, make sure you keep your eyes peeled for our dynasty pod which will be kicking off the week leading up to the Senior Bowl.