Updated June 15, 2021 - 6:40 pm
Wide receiver Bryan Edwards was a breakout star in training camp for the Raiders as a rookie last season.
The results during the regular season never quite lived up to that promise. The third-round pick out of South Carolina battled injuries and an inconsistent role in the offense.
“Last year is last year,” he said after Tuesday’s mandatory minicamp practice at the team facility in Henderson. “I can’t change it. I had some injuries and things like that. My main focus this year is trying to be the best person I can be for this team, trying to stay healthy and make as many plays as I can.”
That didn’t happen often last year.
Edwards was able to play in 12 games last season, starting three. But an ankle injury suffered in Week 3 caused him to miss four games and lingered as the season progressed.
He hauled in 11 of the 15 targets he did get, including a 26-yard touchdown in the season finale for his only score of the season.
“It definitely was a process and it obviously was frustrating,” Edwards said of mentally handling his lack of production. “Anytime I’m not getting the results I want to get, I’m frustrated and trying to fix it. But Rome wasn’t built in one day. All good things take time. I’m just trusting the process.”
Part of that has been taking the advice of some of the more experienced pass-catchers on the roster. Tight end Darren Waller and receiver Zay Jones have worked closely with Edwards, as did Nelson Agholor, who left as a free agent this offseason to sign with New England.
“All those guys have tremendous habits,” Edwards said. “They come in and do the right things. I took a lot from those guys. I’m very appreciative of them.”
One of the biggest takeaways for Edwards is the need to develop a routine, which should help lead to more consistency.
That process will be helped by going through a more normal offseason after last summer was a virtual affair.
“With not having an offseason last year and having the first offseason this year, for the first part of it, I kind of did feel like a rookie again,” he said. “But I’m kind of finding my pace now.”
Strong first impression
Defensive end Yannick Ngakoue made his first appearance on the field for his new team on Tuesday after missing OTAs the last few weeks.
He quickly stood out to his teammates for the explosive dynamic he can bring to the pass rush.
“I know it’s just been today, but Yannick, my goodness,” quarterback Derek Carr said. “Wow. What a guy. I sit there and I’m like, ‘He’s 26-years-old? Oh my goodness. This is good for the Raiders.’
Running back Josh Jacobs and defensive tackle Quinton Jefferson also took the field Tuesday after missing voluntary OTAs. Offensive linemen Denzelle Good and Kolton Miller weren’t on the field, but were in the building.
The Raiders moved the Tuesday and Wednesday practice sessions up to 7:30 a.m. to avoid the worst of this week’s heat wave.
Edwards appreciates the decision as he continues to adjust to life in the desert.
“We get out here pretty early so we kind of beat the heat a little bit,” he said. “But off the field, just going through your regular day, it’s tough to just get outside and do errands. You have to try to stay hydrated … this is brutal.”
It was 115 degrees at noon on Tuesday with forecasts calling for temperatures to reach 117 degrees on Wednesday.