The Las Vegas Raiders may begin the season with two rookie receivers starting for the first time since 2009 as it appears that Henry Ruggs III and Bryan Edwards are poised to line up against the Carolina Panthers in 12 days.
The Raiders put veteran receiver Tyrell Williams on the inured reserve, ending his season, on Tuesday. It is not a great surprise since he had been dealing with a torn labrum for several days. However on Tuesday, it was determined that Williams would not be able to continue playing and he needs surgery.
This could sadly be the end of Williams’ career with the Raiders. He has made more than $21 million and caught just 42 passes since signing with the Raiders last offseason. He is due $11.6 million next year with no dead money. Considering the easy way out of the contract (which has two more years on it) and the presence of Edwards, there’s a strong chance Williams’ time with the Raiders may be coming to an end.
The Raiders’ plan was for Edwards, taken in the third round this year, to push Williams next year. But Williams’ injury plus the fact that Edwards had a strong training camp, means he will likely get a chance to play now.
If Ruggs, the No. 12 overall draft pick in 2020, and Edwards do start, they will be the Raiders’ first pair of rookies to start since Darrius Heyward-Bey and Louis Murphy in 2009. It’s pretty rare around the NFL.
#Raiders could join these teams who started 2 rookie WRs in Week 1 since 2000:— Josh Dubow (@JoshDubowAP) September 1, 2020
2019 Ravens: Marquise Brown, Miles Boykin
2016 Texans: Will Fuller, Braxton Miller
2014 Jaguars: Allen Hurns, Marqise Lee
2009 Raiders: DHB, Louis Murphy
2000 Bengals: Ron Dugans, Peter Warrick
Rookie receivers often take time to develop in the NFL. Add in the fact that there was no offseason or preseason this year because of the coronavirus pandemic and it will be challenging for Ruggs and Edwards this season. But the Raiders believe in them and it will be fun to watch them develop.
The Raiders also, of course, have slot receiver Hunter Renfrow and they are happy with Nelson Agholor and Zay Jones. So, the rookies will have plenty of help. Rico Gafford, Marcell Ateman and Keelan Doss are also vying to make the roster.
Meanwhile, the Raiders got a head start on Saturday cut-down day by releasing guard Jordan Devey and running back Rod Smith and waiving defensive end Sharif Finch and guard Jordan Roos.