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How Does Bryan Edwards Trade Change Falcons Offensive Philosophy

The Falcons won with speed last season at receiver, but the addition of Bryan Edwards changes that notion?

If the Atlanta Falcons haven't shown their hand already on how they prepare to take offensively, they might have Friday afternoon. 

The Las Vegas Raiders traded third-year receiver Bryan Edwards to the Falcons in exchange for 2023 fifth-round pick Friday. Atlanta also is set receive a 2023 seventh-round pick in the process. 

Bryan Edwards
Bryan Edwards

Edwards will still have two years remaining on his rookie contract when he arrives in Flowery Branch for OTA later this month. Last season, he had 34 catches for 571 yards and three touchdowns. For his career, Edwards has recorded 45 catches for 754 yards and four scores. 

The Falcons haven't been shy with showing what the plan is to win next season. Desmond Ridder. Marcus Mariota. Feleipe Franks. Quarterback is the least of the concern. 

Atlanta will find success with size over speed. The Falcons will trust man matchups and physical tools over route-running and top-thrill speed to win against opposing defense. 

If you haven't caught on, take a look at the top four targets in the passing attack. 

Edwards stand 6-3 and served as the Raiders' possessional receiver before Las Vegas added Davante Adams. London, the No. 8 overall pick in the 2022 draft, also stands 6-3 and weighs just over 215 pounds. 

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Atlanta also added Cincinnati Bengals' Auden Tate. As the Bengals No. 4 option, he was often targeted inside the red zone thanks to his 6-5 frame. And of course, the Falcons will rely heavily on tight end Kyle Pitts, who stands 6-6 and won often inside as more of a flex rather than traditional tight end. 

There's a way for all four receiving options to be on the field at the same time. In an 11-personnel, Pitts would play his traditional tight end role while Tate would likely serve as the boundary target and Edwards would play the "X" for Arthur Smith. 

As for London, he'd likely be shifted inside. Although he only recorded 41 snaps from the slot during his final year of at USC, those numbers were exceedingly higher during his first two seasons with the program. 

Kyle Pitts
Drake London

Most young quarterbacks trust the slot as a security blanket due to the volume of receptions handed their way. London's hands have been called "sure fire" by several scouts in large part due to his contested catch ability. Last season, he led the FBS with 19 grabs on 50-50 receptions. 

Atlanta won't have 4.22 blazers running vertical options each snap. It won't produce 1,000-yard receivers that win based on their speed. Size, however, can win the in the NFL. 

Looking at the Falcons' receivers, it looks like that was the plan all along for Smith. The addition of Edwards only backs the theory more.