The Falcons have several players who could be considered breakout candidates for the 2022 season. I noted Kyle Pitts, Drake London, Marcus Mariota, Richie Grant, and Lorenzo Carter as possibilities. Last season, it was Cordarrelle Patterson. The former All-Pro return man set career highs in receiving, rushing, and total touchdowns — 618 rushing yards (4.0 YPC), six rushing touchdowns, 548 receiving yards (10.5 YPR) and five receiving touchdowns. Those 11 total touchdowns were actually more than he totaled on offense in the past six seasons combined.
However, there might have been a name I missed. USA Today Sports’ Touchdown Wire created a list of every NFL team’s potential breakout player for the 2022 season, and Matt Urben of Falcons Wire had an intriguing choice — Bryan Edwards.
The Falcons had no choice but to target the wide receiver position heavily after losing Russell Gage and Calvin Ridley early in the offseason. Atlanta used a first-round pick on USC’s Drake London, signed a handful of bargain-bin free agents and traded for Raiders WR Bryan Edwards. London is the new No. 1 by default, but Edwards is the player to watch in this group. The former third-round pick finished the 2021 season with a career-best 571 receiving yards and three touchdowns, while averaging 16.8 yards per catch. Plus, the ex-Raider has experience with Falcons QB Marcus Mariota –Matt Urben, Falcons Wire
I do believe Edwards is a breakout candidate; in fact, it’s likely he’s the team’s third-leading receiver behind Kyle Pitts and Drake London. He’s made impressive catches throughout OTAs, and the coaching staff has already praised him. Arthur Smith noted in a pre-practice presser that when the team has the opportunity to add a player like Edwards, they always will.
Nobody should be surprised if Edwards sets career-highs in every major receiving stat. I would even guarantee the former Raider eclipses 34 receptions, 571 yards, and three touchdowns.
The Falcons receiving core is beginning to take shape, which has come a long way from last year when the only real threat was a tight end and a running back. Once Calvin Ridley returns, Atlanta should have a credible core for Desmond Ridder to target.
Photographer: Frank Jansky/Icon Sportswire
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