Who The Hell Will They Draft? Iowa OLB, A.J. Edds

Iowa week continues with another defender. AJ Edds played the OLB role once filled by 1st round pick and current Vikings LB Chad Greenway and at times reminded of the Hawkeye's star. Edds, a former TE, is a jack of all trades. At 6'4" 246lbs Edds has the size of an ideal 4-3 SAM and plays strong against the run.

One of the quirks of the Iowa D showed why he's a great fit for Indy's purposes. Iowa doesn't like to run sub-packages. Coordinator Norm Parker believes that the best 11 should be on the field whenever possible, which meant that when teams lined up with 3 or more wide, the linebackers split out to cover them. Despite his size and physicality Edds played well in this role, having few issues staying with WRs and TEs in the underneath zone. Edds intercepted 5 passes last year, with 7 total his career at Iowa.

Edds' drawbacks are that he isn't an elite athlete and doesn't shine through as a top prospect in any single area. His weakest area is pass rushing where he doesn't have edge rusher speed or good pass rushing moves. This pretty much rules him out as a 3-4 OLB (though with his size 3-4 teams could consider him in the middle).

Mocking the Draft

AJ Edds, in many ways, is similar to former Hawkeye and Vikings starting weak side linebacker Chad Greenway. He has the size and frame of a run stuffer, but more than enough athletic ability to cover tight ends and running backs. He is a smart player that the Iowa coaching staff raves about when it comes to being a complete football player on and off the field. He may never be a superstar in the NFL, but he is a guy that does everything well and will be a reliable starter in the league for years.

NFL Draft Scout

Gives little ground against linemen and tight end blocks on the edge. Keeps containment on his side of the field to make a tackle or funnel plays inside. Can punch and rip off consistently to make plays. Throws his shoulder into fullback in the hole but doesn't always anchor well. Chases plays across the field, taking good angles to the ball.

The former tight end is agile in coverage, and covers receivers and tight ends the flat very well. Can get deep or attack to the sideline. Runs with most tight ends down the seam and reads their eyes to turn and look for the ball. Reacts quickly to throws in his area. Able to knock passes away before or after the receiver gets his hands on the ball. Very good hands for the interception.

Major contributor since his redshirt freshman season and a leader on the defense the past two years -- by actions more than words. Solid character and weight-room work ethic.

Edds seems to be a great fit at the SAM position where he should hold up against the run better than most Colts LBs and would be a excellent cover guy. He wouldn't be the blitzer that the current holder of that position, Phil Wheeler, is, but blitzing is still a minor part of a Colts LBs role, well behind coverage and run D. Edds is projected between the 3rd and 6th rounds. By the 4th round he'd be a steal for Indy to develop into a great SAM.

 

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