[Remember to check the '2010 NFL Draft' section for all stories relating to the draft.]
As we have discussed the needs our New York Giants have in the upcoming NFL Draft we have talked extensively about linebacker. Almost exclusively, however, that discussion has been focused on the middle linebacker position.
That is, of course, justifiable. Don't, however, fool yourself into thinking that the Giants are completely set at the two outside linebacker spots.
On the weak side Michael Boley played to mixed results in his first year as a Giant. Terrific athlete, good in space, but not very sturdy when the ball is run in his direction. On the strong side 2009 second-round pick Clint Sintim is likely to take over for Danny Clark (yippee!!!!). The consensus is that Sintim should hold up well against the run and help the pass rush, but he did have a disappointing rookie year. So, he still has to prove himself.
So, with Clark likely gone and plenty of questions about both the starters and reserves on the outside it won't be a huge surprise if the Giants grab a player in the draft who can compete for an outside linebacker spot. Particularly, in my view, on the strong side.
That brings us, finally, to the subject of today's Daily NFL Draft Prospect Profile. That would be Iowa's A.J. Edds, a solid if unspectacular player who reports indicate could be a steady strongside LB at the NFL level.
Let's take a closer look.
A.J. Edds Scouting Reports
Prototypical size and strength. A very instinctive defender. Solid in all aspects of the game; can stop the run, get after the quarterback and drop back into coverage. ... Does everything well but nothing great. Athleticism is only average. Speed is marginal.
Edds is a perfect fit at strong-side linebacker in a 4-3 scheme, but his skill set doesn't translate perfectly into any other position or scheme. At worst he should be a solid backup, but he doesn't have the upside to suggest that he could develop into an above average starter.
From Consensus Draft Services.
A consistent player who doesn't get a lot of hype, but is always in the right place at the right time. His biggest asset may be his size, at nearly 6-foot4 and 240 pounds, he can take on the bigger pass-receiving TEs. He's particular/y effective in coverage, showing a good drop and exceptional read and react abilities. ... He's a form tackler who squares up well, and then wraps up the ball-carrier. Understands and applies all of the fundamentals consistently. ... Edds has some athletic limitations, such as lateral agility and ability to change direction smoothly. He's also not a terribly powerful player for his size and needs to add more functional strength to take on blockers.
Edds is not going to be outworked on the field, in practice, or in the books, but athletic limitations will keep him out of the first couple days of the draft. He could bulk up and be a solid backup at SLB in a 4-3.
From the National Football Post.
Reads and reacts quickly to plays at the line of scrimmage and has the initial burst to make his way into the backfield and close on the football. Isn't a real sudden athlete on contact but fights for every inch and does a great job playing with inside leverage and finding the football. Displaying really impressive instincts and always seems to be flowing toward the action.
Showcases the ability to bump off the line and takes a liking to really beating on the tight end off the snap. Looks like a guy who could win a spot at as strong-side linebacker in the NFL. Edds is never going to be a star, but he has the ability to beat tight ends in the run game and be a productive starter for an NFL defense.
Why Edds fits with the Giants
In truth, all the Giants eggs are in one basket currently when it comes to strong-side linebacker. Meaning they are counting on Sintim to step into that role, and there really is no Plan B at the moment. You have to think Clark won't be back, and no one else on the roster really fits as a strong-side guy. Right now the Giants depth chart does not even list a backup for Sintim. The Giants could probably put Chase Blackburn there in a pinch, but that is not ideal. Edds seems like a guy who could at least provide some protection as a mid- to late-round pick.
Why the Giants should pass
Because he might be Blackburn re-incarnate. And the Giants already have Blackburn. Speed would be a concern, although that is not always the No. 1 priority at linebacker.