Falcons offseason trade acquisition off to slow start

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The Falcons traded for Bryan Edwards earlier this offseason, bolstering Atlanta’s receiving core with another big-bodied target for Marcus Mariota. 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 gave the unit life. Unfortunately, Edwards has gotten off to a painfully slow start in 2022.

The former Raiders wideout caught his first pass as a member of the Falcons during Sunday’s 31-27 loss to the Rams, but it was only four two yards. He only played 16 snaps in Week 2 — the third-most among Atlanta’s receiving core, behind London and Zaccheeaus. Edwards was only targeted twice this past week after being targeted once in the season opener. The second target came in the fourth quarter in the red zone as Mariota tossed up a prayer that was picked off by Jalen Ramsey in the end zone.

Edwards was in the game for nearly half of the offensive snaps in Week 1, but his workload took a severe dip the following week. I’d probably chalk that up to the gameplan calling for a different approach. But still, for a guy who posted 34 receptions for 571 yards and three touchdowns last season, Edwards isn’t having the start to his career in Atlanta as he’d hoped.

The Falcons didn’t sink a ton of capital into Edwards, only giving Las Vegas a fifth-round pick for his services, but the trade hasn’t worked out thus far. Through two seasons with the Raiders, Edwards had been underutilized, and it seems that trend is continuing in Atlanta. It’s not due to the fit because, on paper, Edwards is a seamless scheme fit. 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.”

Hopefully, the Falcons can get Edwards and Kyle Pitts going, but I wouldn’t necessarily pin the pair’s lack of production on Arthur Smith. Marcus Mariota deserves to shoulder that blame.

Photographer: Rich Graessle/Icon Sportswire
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