STRENGTHS - Excellent foot quickness combines with snap anticipation so that Edwards is consistently the first defensive end moving at the snap. His initial quickness and acceleration enables him to consistently beat the offensive tackle to the turn point. He flashes the speed and shoulder dip to beat the offensive tackle around the corner and has a burst to the quarterback to finish the sack. He flashes excellent use of his hands and long arms to take on offensive line run block strong at the POA, can shed and makes tackle on runs at him. On running plays away, he accelerates down the line quickly and has the elite chase speed to track man down in pursuit. At the Senior Bowl Practices, Edwards was one of the best pass rushers who consistently defeated pass blocker.
WEAKNESSES - Despite consistently being very quick off the ball, Edwards struggles to consistently win the battle at the point of contact to pressure the quarterback. He gets upright and high during first few steps off the ball, which leads to him losing leverage and allows pass blocker to get their hands on him to tie him up and eliminate him from the play too easily. A one dimensional, speed rusher, Edwards needs to greatly improve his pass rush arsenal, hand use and play with better leverage to pressure the quarterback in the NFL. After bursting off the ball, Edwards often is late reading and reacting to the play, which makes me questions his instincts/awareness.
SUMMARY - Despite flashing great initial quickness off the ball on film and having a good week of practice at the Senior Bowl, I am cautious to not over-grade Edwards as he was LSU's number three defensive end and did not always produce when he was on the field. No doubt naturally athletic and very competitive, Edwards has the raw physical talent, work ethic and competes of an NFL starter. Overall, I think Edwards is a explosive 43 defensive end prospect with real upside. He will however need to greatly improve in a number of areas, as mentioned above, in order to turn his physical potential into consistent on-field production. He is worth consideration in the fourth round of the Draft, but will need to go to a team with a good defensive line coach who excels at teaching fundamentals.