After going undrafted during the 2018 NFL draft, a pair of Rutgers Scarlet Knights are fighting to make a roster not too far from home. Running back Gus Edwards and receiver/returner Janarion Grant will both be competing to earn a spot on the Baltimore Ravens 53-man roster come the start of training camp.
Edwards spent his first three collegiate seasons playing down in Florida for the University of Miami. A New York native, Edwards used his final season of eligibility to come play closer to home for Chris Ash and the Scarlet Knights. As a graduate transfer for Rutgers, he was able to amass 816 all-purpose yards and seven total touchdowns. Even with a lackluster passing game, Edwards was able to find running lanes with boxes stacked against him.
The stout 6’1” 240-pound running back can make a name for himself for a Ravens team that doesn’t truly have one standout back. Alex Collins stuck on last season as the lead back after being waived by Seattle. Edwards is a bigger back than Collins but with a near 1,000-yard season under his belt, it’ll be an uphill battle to supplant the former Arkansas running back. Same could be said for 3rd down running back Buck Allen, who is more suited for that role than Edwards.
Edwards best bet is to stick around long enough to supplant Kenneth Dixon, a former fourth-round pick who missed last season due to suspension and injuries. He’ll also be battling a pair of fellow UDFA’s in running backs Mark Thompson and De’Lance Turner.
Overall, there’s a good chance he makes the roster if he can perform to his potential. He’s bigger than any of the backs the Ravens already deploy. A short-yardage role is not out of the question.
He won’t have to look too far to see a familiar face in Grant, who faces a more uphill battle after the Ravens re-tooled their receiving corps for the veteran Joe Flacco.
Grant battled injuries throughout his entire career with Rutgers, missing a substantial amount of time during his last two seasons. Grant played in just seven games last fall, finishing with just 16 receptions for 160 yards and one touchdown. A disappointing end to his Rutgers career to say the least.
The Florida native is a “lightning in a bottle” type of talent who excels more in the return game than as a receiver. It was his bread and butter in college, finishing first in Rutgers history with 2,857 career kickoff return yards and fourth in punt return yardage with 588. Grant’s big play ability as a return specialist will be his key to making Baltimore’s roster if he can stay healthy. He’s already showed the coaching staff something, as he was able to beat ten other receivers to earn a contract after his mini-camp tryout with the team.
However, with all the additions made to the wide receiver position, Grant will have to show he can be some form of a receiver to earn a spot with the Ravens.