NAME: T.J. Edwards
CLASS: RS Senior
JERSEY: No. 53
RECRUITMENT RATING: 2-star
D.O.B.: Not Available
Football Intelligence – Heady linebacker who rarely takes the cheese on false action in the backfield. Is quick to process and step into the teeth of the blocking front. Play anticipation will allow him to beat teammates to the spot in pursuit when attacking between the tackles.
Tackling – Strong form tackler, even in space where lateral contact threatens ability to stay square on the ball. Does well to keep head up and shoot the hands. Tackle challenges in space can be compromised with only modest closing ability, however.
Block Shedding – Hands offer some good pop, as do pads when playing as a thud LB to force the ball to spill out of gap. Is aware of importance of first contact and will thrust hands to prevent getting sucked into blocks. Does not, however, illustrate a great deal of length to press and stack.
Competitive Toughness – Blue collar defender, plays with a likable motor and is widely regarded as one of the leaders of the Badger defense. Not afraid to fulfill dirty work role and plug gaps as needed. Physically stout player in the box and carries a lot of pop to hold the line after contact.
Lateral Mobility – Sideline to sideline range can flash due to quick decision making but generally doesn’t have the needed mobility to scrape over the top of the line and greet ball carriers head-up on the other side. Will be stressed outside the numbers as a true MIKE LB.
Coverage Skills – Does not have a great deal of range due to tightness in the hips. Labors to hinge and gain depth, will have to turn eyes away from the backfield to get momentum and then lose the football. Is not going to match-up well in man to man due to athletic restrictions.
Gap Shooting Ability – Mental processing allows for a quick step down and slipping through a run fit. Will defeat blocks with quickness in decision making and illustrates a good knack when charging downhill to duck a shoulder and diminish surface area, forcing a missed block.
Feet/Change of Direction – Unless stepping into the line of scrimmage, does not show a great deal of lateral suddenness, nor start/stop ability. Can get beat to the edge when challenged on outside concepts due to lag in transition and subsequent lack of lateral acceleration.
Flexibility – Notable tightness throughout his frame. Struggles to hinge and open with any level of speed or smoothness. Does not have dynamic range or rotational skills needed to flip and play with speed in directions other than straight ahead or in shallow angles.
First Step Quickness – Explosiveness is only modest. Has the ability to win initially but not as a byproduct of explosion out of stance. If late to identify the ball is typically a half-step behind the play when the time arrives to challenge the ball carrier.
BEST TRAIT – Football Intelligence
WORST TRAIT – Feet/COD
BEST FILM – Michigan (2017)
WORST FILM – Ohio State (2017)
RED FLAGS – None
LB T.J. Edwards is a difficult projection, as he has the needed intelligence to be a quality linebacker but his athletic profile does not present favorably for an every-down role in the NFL. As a result, Edwards should be regarded as a niche player who can be a key contributor on early downs to help keep the integrity of the line of scrimmage between the tackles. An ideal role would feature gap plugging reps in a one gap run defense.