This year, roster backups will need to be ready. Fortunately, the Las Vegas Raiders appear quite prepared with more than enough time before final cuts. For Bryan Edwards and Tanner Muse, starting jobs could await.
Last season, Raiders fans watched Tyrell Williams play through injuries, never truly getting back to full strength. After seeing this, a major hope for the team was the drafting of a player capable of filling in for Williams and allowing him to fully recover from injury. Fortunately, the Raiders have done exactly that, drafting Bryan Edwards in this year’s draft. Standing at 6’3”, Edwards stands an inch shorter than Williams but brings more intensity and youth than Williams.
On August 24, news broke that Williams tore his labrum but would attempt to play through it. While playing through a tear shows how badly Williams wants to play, previous experiences may influence the Raiders to sit Williams while he recovers. The benching of Williams would almost certainly lead to Edwards filling in his shoes, a move many involved with the Raiders have been excited about, even before Williams’ injury.
If the Raiders are to make this move, they also have the potential to build one of the youngest receiving groups in the league. Henry Ruggs, Hunter Renfrow, and Edwards could show huge promise for the team’s potential down the road.
Muse Hoping to Inspire
Another player vying for a starting spot down the road this season is Tanner Muse. At Clemson, Muse showcased his positional flexibility, playing and thriving at both linebacker and safety. Despite the Raiders stockpiling their linebacker corps this offseason, Muse has received high accolades from coaches and media alike for his ability to do it all on defense. Muse, a third-round pick in the 2020 NFL Draft, has a few names to climb over before seeing a starting spot at linebacker but could see himself used situationally quite often due to his diverse skillset.
Muse has shown his run-stopping ability to be on par with his pass defense. Yet, he still needs to improve. Being slotted as a hybrid/utility player means Muse can see the field more than he would as a typical linebacker, giving himself more opportunities to prove himself as a solidified player, if not the starter.
But, the decision is up to the Raiders’ coaching staff. Should they see potential in him as a true linebacker, the emphasis should certainly be shifted to doing exactly that. However, should Muse be pushed to work as a starting linebacker, he will need to get to speed quickly.