A.J. Edds, OLB, Iowa

Scouting reports of outside and inside linebackers in the 2010 draft.
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A.J. Edds, OLB, Iowa

Postby Pudge » Mon Mar 15, 2010 7:01 pm

A.J. Edds
Iowa Senior

PROS: Shows nice speed and plays his assignments well. Capable at the point of attack and can defend the interior run. Comfortable working on the line of scrimmage and will take on blockers. Shows some pop as a tackler, and does a nice job wrapping up and making stop in the open field. Does a nice job in zone coverage and does best work keeping things in front of him. Can match up with tight ends in man coverage.
CONS: Not a great athlete. Doesn't have good hips and burst and struggles at times in man coverage, needed to make contact with receiver to stay with them. Needs to take better angles to the ball at times. Isn't used enough as a pass rusher and has questionable upfield burst.
OVERVIEW: A smart, steady player, but could be limited by Iowa's scheme and lack of ideal athleticism to play outside. Had 78 tackles, 4.5 tackles for loss, and 5 interceptions as a senior. A nice SAM linebacker prospect.
NFL FORECAST: He has the size and potential to be able to impact in the 3-4, but Iowa's scheme has him lining up in coverage for the most part, covering tight ends, backs, and slot receivers. He's not going to be able to do that at the next level since he doesn't have the hips to match up in man coverage. Instead, he should play in a scheme that allows him to play a lot of zone coverage. He could also play inside I believe in the 3-4. I'd like to believe that he could rush the passer, but I really haven't seen him get any opportunities to do so. So he could have a 10-sack season in the pros, and I wouldn't be able to see it coming. BUt I think he has the versatility to work in a variety of schemes. In the 4-3, he'd be a capable starter at the SAM, but won't be great in that scheme. In the 3-4 is where he fits best, because he could play both inside or outside and be in a position to make more impact plays. I think he's a similar player to Ben Leber, who was a good but not great player the one year he played in the 3-4 in San Diego.
ATL FORECAST: He could work in Atlanta and compete with Nicholas at the SAM spot. Not sure he's a better pass rusher than Nicholas at this point for previously mentioned reasons. But I think he is probably a smarter player that can be a slight upgrade in run defense. The problem he'll face is that he too will struggle in coverage just like Nicholas. He might be a bit better than Nicholas, but would struggle at times when asked to cover some of the tight ends and backs in the NFC South, and more than likely would have to be pulled on passing downs. If the Falcons can add a better coverage linebacker on the weakside, Edds would become a better fit since he wouldn't be asked to play a lot in coverage. He could be an upgrade over Nicholas, but has a similar skillset so it's not an obvious upgrade.
VALUE: Edds is a solid third round pick for a 3-4 team that is looking for a run-stopping SAM linebacker. But for most other teams he'd make a nice fourth round pick.

1-poor, 2-weak, 3-above average, 4-very good, 5-elite

SPEED: 3.0
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