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Getty Former Las Vegas Raiders WR Bryan Edwards.

Once the Las Vegas Raiders‘ roster for 2022 started coming together, it looked like Bryan Edwards could be an odd man out. The team added another big wide receiver in Mack Hollins and new head coach Josh McDaniels notably never had much to say about Edwards.

His feelings about the wide receiver became apparent when the Raiders traded him to the Atlanta Falcons for a late-round pick swap.

Edwards wouldn’t have had much of a role this season with Davante Adams coming to Las Vegas. Adams and Hunter Renfrow will be seeing a majority of the wide receiver snaps. Edwards would’ve seen his snap count take a decline this season so moving to the Falcons could be really good for him. Also, he’s from South Carolina and he’ll now be a lot closer to home. Edwards had a chance to react to the trade news on his Instagram and decided to take the high road.

Bryan Edwards’ reaction to Raiders-Falcons trade pic.twitter.com/NmS1mTlktA

— Austin Boyd (@austincjboyd) May 14, 2022

Falcons head coach Arthur Smith loves tall wide receivers and Edwards fits the bill at 6-foot-3. He has the size and ball skills to be a good player but just needs to improve his route running.

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Raiders Receive ‘B’ for Trade

There was a time when the Raiders were high on Edwards. There was talk of him possibly being one of the better wide receivers in the NFL after a few years. While he has been solid for the team, he wasn’t moving the needle. With the wide receiver room for the Raiders getting crowded, it made sense to move on from Edwards now and get something in return. CBS Sports gave Las Vegas a “B” grade for the trade:

The timing of this trade is somewhat odd, with free agency season largely over and minicamp just around the corner. Las Vegas also didn’t get much in return for a player who should be entering his prime. The Raiders certainly have receiver depth, however, with Davante Adams, Hunter Renfrow, Demarcus Robinson and Keelan Cole in tow, so losing Edwards won’t hurt them unless there are multiple injuries to their receiving corps during the season. The Raiders shed roughly $2.7 million in cap space over the next two years by moving Edwards to Atlanta.

Any More WR Moves Coming?

Now that Edwards has been traded, it appears the Raiders are happy with their crop of wide receivers. Adams is arguably the best in the NFL while Renfrow is one of the best slot receivers. The wide receiver corps is likely mostly set but there are some great options still available.

If the Raiders want to add some speed, they could look at T.Y. Hilton or Will Fuller. If they want a veteran star at a discount, they could look at Odell Beckham Jr. or Julio Jones. With so many great options available, it’s easy to see why Edwards didn’t get a chance this season. Even if the Raiders don’t add any more wide receivers, the group is one of the better ones in the NFL.

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Dolphins see new and improved receiving corps lifting quarterback Tua Tagovailoa

If Miami Dolphins quarterback Tua Tagovailoa is going to take the big third-year step that has been seen from other passers in NFL circles, the greater support he has in the receiving corps will likely have a lot to do with it.

The Dolphins made the blockbuster deal for elite speedster Tyreek Hill. They already have Jaylen Waddle budding off his NFL rookie receptions record. They added Cedrick Wilson Jr., who can play bigger than most slot receivers. Additionally, Miami has Lynn Bowden, who missed all of 2021, coming back off a standout second half of the 2020 season, while returning Preston Williams and drafting rookie Erik Ezukanma, among deeper options.

In watching Tagovailoa throw to his wideouts in the team’s offseason workout program, Dolphins wide receivers coach Wes Welker has come away impressed with Tagovailoa’s progress.

“The progression that he’s made this offseason, I think it’s been the most of anybody out there on the field,” said Welker, who has a tad under 1,000 career regular-season and postseason receptions to his name as a player. “It’s been pretty crazy getting these guys — as far as our route depths and everything — and getting it synchronized with what the quarterback’s doing.

“We saw it in the first week, it being not where we wanted, and just how much better it’s gotten as we continued to work through it. The ball’s coming out on time, and receivers getting their depth. It’s been pretty cool to see how far it’s come Week 1 to where it is now.”

Beyond the mere speed the Dolphins have at receiver with Hill and Waddle, Welker enjoys watching how they consistently bring it in practice.

“Those guys are full speed all the time,” he said. “A lot of times you get guys that are 4.2 [seconds in the 40-yard dash] guys that know they’re 4.2 and don’t necessarily play 4.2. They play 4.2, and they do it a lot. Every time they’re out there on the field, they’re going as hard as they can.”

Of course, with that great speed in the receiving corps, Tagovailoa has to be able to lead Hill and Waddle with his passes — all while his arm strength has been in question through his first two NFL seasons. Although a Dolphins social media video that was intended to highlight Tagovailoa connecting with Hill on a deep throw this week went viral under criticism that he underthrew Hill, new Dolphins offensive coordinator Frank Smith doesn’t see any vertical challenges for the playbook from watching Tagovailoa throw.

“I wouldn’t say that we’re limiting ourselves with anything,” Smith said. “Every day presents different routes, different things we’re trying to accomplish with the receivers. I would say that everything we’ve done so far has been extremely optimistic. There’s certain things in our progressions and reads and his ability to move throughout his progressions has been awesome for a guy just, really, being in the system for a month.”

Wilson will also be a valued playmaker in a unit that has since traded DeVante Parker to the division rival New England Patriots.

“His smoothness, his understanding of defenses and how to run routes, how to get open, understanding the techniques of defenders and how to attack them,” Welker noted as Wilson’s qualities. “Just a very savvy player who has kind of played with a chip on his shoulder. We’re looking forward for him to play with that same chip here.”

And Welker got a fellow Texas Tech Red Raider with the Dolphins’ second choice in the draft, fourth-round wide receiver Erik Ezukanma.

“Big, physical guy. Great hands,” Welker said of the 6-2 Ezukanma. “There were certain things in the film that you weren’t really sure about, but the kid is ultra-talented. I think he’s pretty raw right now, and we’ll see how he progresses in learning the offense and all those different things. We’re very high on him, and talking to the person, I’m fired up to be working with him and trying to take his game to the next level.”

With Parker no longer in Miami, Ezukanma’s ability to play physical and make contested catches could help replenish that void.

“From what we had in the room, it wasn’t solely going after something bigger or anything like that, it just kind of happened that way,” Welker said. “He is definitely a guy that we really liked, and he fell to a position that I think they were all comfortable with. He’s a very talented kid that has a lot of upside to him, and we’ll see how far we can take that upside.”

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