Anyone who tuned into "Monday Night Football" to close Week 1 found themselves enjoying some of the most unpredictable football of the young 2021 season, with the Raiders coming back to upset the Ravens, 33-27, in overtime. Some of the faces for the victorious home underdogs were familiar: Derek Carr, Darren Waller, Jon Gruden. But what about Bryan Edwards and Zay Jones, the wide receivers whose big plays helped headline the Raiders' improbable journey to 1-0? Who are they, and how did they get here?
Bryan Edwards, who came out of nowhere to log four catches for 81 yards, including a near-touchdown in overtime, after going nearly four quarters without a single target, is in his second year with the team. In fact, expectations were high for Edwards in 2020, when he joined the club as a third-round draft pick out of South Carolina. An ankle injury limited him to 12 games, however, and he finished his rookie year with just 11 catches for 193 yards.
This summer, the 6-foot-3 Edwards drew lofty internal comparisons to Hall of Famers Terrell Owens and Randy Moss, but opened Monday's game as the No. 4 target behind Waller, Henry Ruggs III and slot receiver Hunter Renfrow. After his late-game performance, which would've included the Raiders' game-winning score had his big OT catch been upheld as a touchdown, Edwards figures to draw more looks from Carr as one of the club's starting outside receivers.
Zay Jones, who had two catches for 46 yards, including the game-winning 30-yard touchdown, is in his third season with the Raiders. Originally a second-round draft pick of the Bills in 2017, he spent the first two and a half years of his career in Buffalo, peaking with 56 catches for 652 yards and seven touchdowns as a full-time starter in 2018, Josh Allen's rookie season. A year before the Bills' trade for Stefon Diggs, he was dealt to Vegas during the season in exchange for a fifth-round pick, logging just 34 catches for 301 yards with the Raiders from 2019-2020. This summer, however, he beat out former Bills teammate John Brown for a reserve role.
Like Edwards, his snaps or opportunities could also see an uptick in the wake of Monday's game, though he remains the No. 4 option on the WR depth chart behind Ruggs, Edwards and Renfrow.
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