2020 NFL Draft: Raiders add to Derek Carr’s weapons with Lynn Bowden, Bryan Edwards

There was some thought that the Raiders might look to acquire the heir apparent to Derek Carr with one of their picks during the first two days of the NFL Draft, but instead, they opted to give him a bunch of fun weapons to play with in 2020. That started with Henry Ruggs, the first wide receiver taken in the first round, and then they double-dipped with intriguing skill plays at No. 80 and 81, taking Lynn Bowden and Bryan Edwards.

Both carry significant potential, but we’ll start with Bowden, one of the more unique talents in the draft. He was a quarterback in high school, but served as a wide receiver at Kentucky initially, posting a 36% yardage share and 38% touchdown share as a sophomore, before moving back to play quarterback after injuries decimated the Wildcats. Bowden worked primarily as a rushing threat when he played QB, attempting just 74 passes but rushing the ball 185 times for 1,468 yards and 13 scores.

The Raiders announced Bowden as a running back in the draft, and NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport confirmed that is where they plan to play him. However, don’t think this represents a threat to Josh Jacobs’ role; if anything, Bowden figures to be more competition for Jalen Richard after DeAndre Washington left this offseason. Bowden obviously showed he can be a threat on the ground when serving as QB, but with his receiving chops, he’ll probably see more time in passing downs, both out of the backfield and split out wide.

Bowden doesn’t figure to make a Fantasy impact as a rookie, unless something happens to Jacobs and Richard. Expect to see him get the ball in his hands in multiple ways, but probably not often enough to have much appeal outside of Dynasty leagues, where he can be a late rounder in rookie and startup drafts.

Edwards’ appeal should be a bit more straightforward. He’s a wide receiver who will play wide receiver, and he’s got quite a strong track record. He was productive as a freshman in the SEC and followed it up with solid production in each subsequent season, though he never topped 900 yards or seven touchdowns.

The quality of the USC passing game plays a part in that, and Edwards dominated work in his senior season. Some viewed Edwards as first-round prospect before a foot injury in the pre-draft process, and he’s also dealt with a meniscus tear, concussions, and sports hernia surgery in his career, so there are definitely red flags there.

As for Ruggs, neither seems likely to hurt his potential as a rookie, which will largely depend on Carr’s willingness to take shots down the field. If Edwards hurts anyone, it’s Darren Waller, who could work in similar parts of the field. Of course, Waller was exception in his breakout 2019, and rookie wide receivers usually need some time to get up to speed — an issue that will only be exacerbated by the lack of rookie camps and other disruptions caused by COVID-19.

The Raiders are suddenly sort of overstuffed with weapons, though most of them are young and relatively unproven — or they are rookies. It could be tough for Bowden and Edwards to make an impact for Fantasy as rookies, but both are intriguing Dynasty targets for the end of your drafts. 

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