It’s easy for some solid NFL prospects to be overlooked on LSU’s front four because of the ridiculous talent surrounding them and the team’s constant rotation on the line. Edwards would have been a regular starter for the past three years for most college programs because of his size, strength and agility, but depth has kept him on the sidelines more often than not. He might have to come off the bench in the NFL, as well, but has the tools to be a regular contributor as a 4-3 swing end.
Edwards’ family was one of many in New Orleans affected by Hurricane Katrina, but he finished his high school career in Baton Rouge as one of the top 40 recruits in Louisiana. He redshirted his first year, then played in 12 games, starting against Louisiana Tech and making 23 tackles, 4.5 for loss, and 2.5 sacks. Edwards started seven of 13 games played as a sophomore (21 tackles, four for loss, 2.5 sacks) due to injuries on the line, then went back to his reserve role in 2011 (one start, 26 tackles, 4.5 for loss, sack). Edwards' senior season was his most productive one yet. Still working in a rotation, he managed to register 4.5 sacks and 7.5 tackles for loss.
Tall, long defensive end who plays both sides of the line. Third in rotation but gets plenty of snaps at either side and even on the interior on passing downs. More often than not, finds first contact through hands to chest and extended arms. Not locked into edge rushing, can use extension to press the pocket while engaged. Great motor, chases the quarterback to the sideline and turns to find the ball carrier on completed passes behind him. Sheds hands quickly when asked to spy and has the lateral speed to keep up with the running back in the flat. Very disciplined as a run defender and in playing the read option.
First punch does not jolt and the placement can get too wide. Allows blocker to absorb and redirect rather than continuing and finishing the backwards momentum. The counter to finish the penetration is lacking. Don’t see the consistent shed to release, seems content to rush while engaged. Gets the push but not the shed and finish. No full-time starting experience.
Edwards hasn’t started a lot of games, and his statistics aren’t exceptional. But that’s no shame given the elite talent in front of him on LSU’s depth chart; even in his somewhat limited reps, scouts can see he has the physical tools to contribute as a mid-round 4-3 defensive end prospect able to play on either side of the line of scrimmage. Edwards should be able to find a niche in the NFL as a swing man defensive end, just like he plays at LSU.
Future Hall of Famer
A once-in-a-generation type prospect who could change how his position is played
An impact player with the ability/intangibles to become a Pro Bowl player. Expect to start immediately except in a unique situation (i.e. behind a veteran starter).
A quality player who will contribute to the team early on and is expected to develop into a starter. A reliable player who brings value to the position.
A prospect with the ability to make team as a backup/role player. Needs to be a special teams contributor at applicable positions. Players in the high range of this category might have long-term potential.
A player with solid measurables, intangibles, college achievements, or a developing skill that warrants an opportunity in an NFL camp. In the right situation, he could earn a place on a 53-man roster, but most likely will be a practice squad player or a camp body.