15 May Bryan Edwards Is Dynasty Gold
What if someone were to tell you that there was a wide receiver currently with a late 2nd round ADP in rookie dynasty drafts on a team that had no wide receiver eclipse 650 yards in 2019, despite that team attempting the league average 33 passes a game. His team drafted him in the third round of the 2020 NFL draft.
His resume reads:
Welcome to Bryan Edwards. 21½ years old. Four year senior from South Carolina who broke out as a 17 year old true freshman. These numbers would be impressive for any incoming rookie receiver, but even more so given that they were put up in the SEC, a conference that had 63 total players drafted this year.
Since 2009 there have been only 9 other players who have registered a breakout age of 18 or less in the SEC. More than 50% of these players have gone on to register multiple fantasy-relevant seasons (WR3 or better) in the NFL. Even more impressive is the fact that he posted this breakout age while competing with future NFL talent in Hayden Hurst (22), and Deebo Samuel (20).
Name Breakout Age Dominator Rating (Best) Sidney Rice* 18 52.5 Jordan Mathews* 18 48.3 Amari Cooper* 18 47.2 Earl Bennett 18 42.5 Bryan Edwards 17 40.3 Brandon Gibson 18 34.4 Christian Kirk 18 32.7 Mike Evans* 18 30.2 Randall Cobb* 18 28 Antonio Callaway 18 21.5
* Denotes multiple WR3 or better seasons
Edwards possesses the size (6’3″, 215 lbs, 26.7 BMI) and skill set to be a threat on short to intermediate routes (56% of his touches totaled 4-13 yds), as well as in space with the ability to take it to the house on any given play (7.6 YAC & 15 missed tackles, both good for #1 in the country per PFF). It is also important to note that Edwards is going into an offense focused on running the ball (10th in rush att p/g), and feasting on short to intermediate routes. In 2018-19 Derek Carr possessed the second-lowest Intended Air Yards at 6.5 YPA, relying on Darren Waller to produce YAC to keep the offense moving.
Edwards lack of straight-line speed may mean that he struggles to beat corners on the outside, but he is a smart (28 Wonderlic), well-rounded technician with a developing route tree, and the skill set including a surprising short-area quickness to beat defenders inside and underneath. He has shown the ability to catch off-target passes and boasted a solid 4.0% drop rate. Although concerns could be raised that some of these were concentration drops. In a conference that had double-digit defensive backs drafted he was able to light up some top tier rookie talent, including an outstanding performance against Treyvon Diggs vs Alabama in 2019.
Bryan Edwards vs Top 10 Ranked opponents
Status Year Opposition REC YD TD Sr 2019 Alabama 9 79 0 Georgia 6 78 1 Florida 7 78 0 Clemson DNP DNP DNP Jr 2018 Georgia 7 111 2 Clemson 5 41 0 So 2017 Clemson 6 70 1 Georgia 6 72 1 Fr 2016 Texas A&M DNP DNP DNP Clemson 1 33 1
It is worth noting that Edwards has struggled with being nicked up throughout his career at South Carolina. The most serious was a meniscus scope and broken foot, which caused him to miss some of 2019 and the NFL Combine, although over the four years he played in 12/13/13/10 games, for a total of 48. If Edwards can avoid the concentration drops and occasional body catching, we could see the greatest value of the 2020 NFL Draft being a Gamecock in the second round for the second season in a row.
So, what is the NFL comparison? In the right system, with an accurate short to intermediate quarterback who can extend plays in the pocket, a Michael Thomas comp might not be out of the question. Like Thomas, Edwards utilizes his contested catch ability, along with his short to intermediate route running, to pick up those 7 yard targets and take them for an additional 3-4 yards keeping the chains moving. Not bad for a guy being drafted outside the Top 20 picks and Top 10 WRs.