Prior to the offseason kicking off, Atlanta’s wideout depth chart was among the league’s worst. Calvin Ridley‘s year-long suspension and Russell Gage signing with the Buccaneers in free agency left the group barren. However, re-signing Olamide Zaccheaus, drafting Drake London, and trading for Edwards has really turned the unit around.
London will be the future at the position, but it might take some time for the rookie to get acclimated to the NFL. Zaccheaus is familiar with the offense and could be a lightning rod from the slot. Kyle Pitts will be the featured pass catcher until he retires or parts ways with the team, which leaves a decent number of opportunities for Edwards to assume a regular role in Arthur Smith’s offense.
Edwards only recorded 11 receptions for 193 yards and one touchdown during his rookie season but had a much improved second year, totaling 34 receptions for 571 yards and three touchdowns last season. Las Vegas made the blockbuster trade to acquire Davante Adams earlier this offseason, and Hunter Renfrow has become one of the better slot receivers in the league, which made Edwards expendable, but that doesn’t diminish what he can be for the Falcons.
Through two seasons with the Raiders, Edwards has been underutilized but will look to finally break out in Atlanta. He stands 6’3” and weighs 212 pounds, which is certainly becoming a trend among Atlanta’s pass catchers.
“I just knew he [Arthur Smith] liked the big-bodied receiver and they ran a lot of in-breaking routes with a lot of guys who could get YAC and make big plays off YAC,” Edwards said. “When I heard I was coming here, I felt like it was a really good fit for me, probably as good as it was going to get.”
Smith clearly has a type. When he was in Tennessee, AJ Brown and Corey Coleman were big-bodied receivers who could take a 10-yard in-breaking route 60-yards for a touchdown. Now, Smith has Pitts, London and Edwards.
Photographer: Frank Jansky/Icon Sportswire