by Eric Stashin (aka The Rotoprofessor)
Martavis Bryant has been viewed as a wide receiver with upside since being selected in the fourth round of the 2014 draft. With back-to-back 50 reception seasons it’s easy to see the potential, though he’s yet to appear in a full 16 games in a season (he’s missed 12 games over his first three seasons) and there has been a regression in his production each year (YPC // TD):
- 2015 – 21.1 // 8
- 2016 – 15.2 // 6
- 2017 – 12.1 // 3
It’s even more notable considering he played a career high 15 games last season, but he saw his role reduced by the emergence of JuJu Smith- Schuster and there was chatter of a potential trade ahead of the deadline. A fresh start in Oakland seemed to be like it would help to revitalize him, though thus far that’s been the furthest thing from the truth.
Pro Football Talk recently published this quote from James Jones, a former Oakland Raider wide receiver (click here for the article):
“I just had a chance to speak with Coach Olson and he said talent-wise, there’s probably nobody that can compete with [Bryant] talent-wise,” Jones said. “But they said he’s not picking up the playbook, and that’s the reason of a little frustration right now because they want to get him on the field but he’s not able to grasp the playbook yet.”
This comes just days after Michael Gehlken of the Las Vegas Review-Journal published this quote from head coach Jon Gruden (click here for the article):
“He’s got to get out here and play better,” Gruden said. “He’s in a competitive situation. Right now, a lot of the other receivers have had a nice camp. He’s just got to learn the offense. He’s got to stay out here. He’s had some illnesses. He’s got to get on the field. He’s got to master the offense and become more versatile, and that’s the key to making this team better.”
Bryant was always expected to be the team’s third receiver, at best, playing behind Amari Cooper and Jordy Nelson. However there have been reports that Ryan Switzer has impressed thus far and the team could always look to get TE Jared Cook more involved in the offense. Throw in the addition of Doug Martin, who has proven capable of catching the football out of the backfield, and there’s no guarantee that the opportunities are going to be there for Bryant in 2018.
There’s potential, but you can say that about a lot of players in the NFL. He needs to step up and deliver, and the longer it takes him to get up to speed with the offense the further behind he’s going to fall. At the very least it’s impossible to trust him for the early portion of the season, barring a dramatic change, so consider him nothing more than a late round flier to stash and little more.
Sources – ESPN, Las Vegas Review-Journal, Pro Football Talk
Make sure to check out all of our 2018 preseason rankings: