7 Points: Dual Threat
By Ed Thompson
Scout.com Senior NFL Analyst
Posted Mar 22, 2010
Point No. 7: A.J. Edds is a draft prospect that every NFL fan should admire.
There are a couple of draft prospects who jump out at me each year as authentic blue-collar players--guys who might not have elite, first-round athletic talent, but have a a true passion for the game, are highly coachable, are an asset in the locker room, possess a non-stop motor and a knack for always being around the ball.
In this year's draft class, Iowa linebacker A.J. Edds is one of those rare gems.
During Senior Bowl practices in January, I kept spotting Edds in my line of sight as I tracked the flow of plays. He wasn't necessarily making a bunch of big plays that were thrusting him into the spotlight, but he was fully engaged and around the ball more frequently than most of the other defensive players. He was shadowing receivers and hustling to the ball on every play.
"Ever since I was a little kid, when I played defense I had a knack for figuring out where the ball was going to be, and I've always taken pretty good angles," Edds told me this week. "A lot of it at Iowa came from film study, putting in time that other people might not be willing to do that can help you cue on things.
"You get to this level and there's a handful of guys who are better than everybody else based on athletic ability, but the guys who really succeed are the guys who study, who don't have to think on the field because they know what's going to happen based on the film."
Typical of Edds' dedication to ongoing improvement, he plans to do a full workout at Iowa's Pro Day on Monday, March 22 even though he put up solid numbers at the NFL Combine that included top-ten finishes in the forty-yard dash and the 20-yard shuttle.
"I've been looking forward to working out and going through the drills at 100 percent without the exhaustion that goes along with the Combine experience," he said. "I know I can run as well or better back here at school."
The 6-foot-4, 246-pound linebacker, who snagged five interceptions during his senior year, believes his three years of experience as a starter will serve him well as he makes the leap to the pro game.
"I think it shows maturity to come in at a relatively young age and be able to handle the responsibility of playing in a defense in the Big Ten--a pretty physical conference--that asks a lot from guys in the area of responsibility and execution," he said. "I think it shows that I can take the knowledge from the playbook and the meeting room and quickly apply it to the field."
The Cardinals, Jaguars, Falcons and Eagles are just a few of the teams who have showed interest in him, with more than half a dozen teams already requesting private workouts.
The year's upcoming draft and the college game can be discussed here.
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