What the Bills Need:
As the season has progressed, we have seen a lot of growth from the Bills’ offense. There has been a lack of size and big playmaking ability from the receiving core. For this team to take its next step, they need to add a wide receiver who has size and breakaway potential.
In this year’s draft, the wide receiver position arguably has the most depth out of any but there is a hidden talent not many are talking about. Bryan Edwards from South Carolina is a solid route running big-bodied receiver who has underrated hands and run after the catch ability. This type of player can be a great value pick in a loaded receiving class. Edwards will be able to spark big plays in the Bills’ offense and can add the physicality this receiving core needs.
Edwards started all four years in South Carolina’s spread offense. He was used as a Z receiver and played in both the slot and on the outside. A critical part of his usage was on jet sweeps and end around plays designed specifically for him. He provided stability to the Gamecocks’ offense through his versatility and reliable play. Throughout his career, he was asked to run every route and had success in all three levels of the tree. He was a leader for his team and set the tone for the offense with his physical play.
Release and Separation:
Edwards’ release at the snap is quick and shows off his technician style footwork. He combines jab steps off the line of scrimmage with hesitation moves to freeze defensive backs. His physicality at the line allows him to beat press coverage and physically dominate corners. He uses a special combination of size and agility to create separation. It’s rare to see such a large receiver have the athleticism to change direction and decelerate as quickly as he does. This type of play translates well to the next level and can surely help the Bills’ offense.
Hands, Route Running, RAC:
Throughout his career, Edwards has shown that he is a natural pass catcher. He is a sure-handed receiver who transitions well after the catch and can win 50/50 balls. He has been known to make acrobatic catches and has outstanding body control when repositioning for the ball.
Once he establishes possession, Edwards runs with a mean and powerful presence. He runs behind his pads and makes it so a defensive back has a difficult time taking him down single-handedly. One of the most underrated parts of his game is his route running ability. For being a big-bodied receiver, Edwards’ cuts and stems are impressive. He understands stemming slant routes upfield in tight coverage to eventually break downhill and create separation while also grasping the concept of selling hard double moves downfield to beat over the top coverage.
Contested catches are a strong point of his game. Edwards has the strong style of play that is needed to go across the middle of the field. He has the ability to get up and Moss defenders over the top and can come down with hard catches. Overall, his hands are solid, and he can be the reliable target Allen needs as he develops.
Whoever ends up drafting Edwards is going to get a physical, savvy, big-bodied receiver who is a dynamic playmaker. This type of prospect allows the Bills to wait until the second day of the draft to pull the trigger on a new weapon for their rocket-armed quarterback. The receiving core they have now is definitely an improvement from recent years, but since this group’s average height is below 5’10, it will be hard for Beane to not go and grab a big-bodied target for Allen. Edwards has all the tools and measurables to be a reliable pass catcher and playmaker for any offense in the league.