2019 Raiders Draft Prospect Profile
Name: TJ Edwards
Weight: 244 pounds
Round Projection: 2-3
When tracing from an angle, Edwards shows the ability to pop the ballcarrier, while maintaining a firm wrap. In addition, he does not overrun the hit or miss very often. Not to mention, Edwards maintains focus through the attempt, even with a stiff arm to the face. Edwards will sit down on a tackle at the appropriate times and ensure a technically sound play. During his first year in Madison, Edwards showed a swarm mentality. Through reps and game experience, he has evolved into an excellent solo tackler.
At the next level, Edwards will need to increase his functional power. That is to say, with a compact frame, Edwards should explode more through tight end and fullback blocks instead of being overly creative.
Although Edwards owns adequate speed, it is how he uses it that matters. First, as a blitzer, Edwards attacks the A gap with snap anticipation. Therefore, at the snap, he is into a lineman, still rising from his stance. On the outside and short zones, Edwards patrols with abandon.
After the snap, Edwards quickly adjust and maneuvers to diagnose the play. While keeping his eyes trained between the ball and his assignment, Edwards shows no panic in making plays at the line, the sidelines and in space. In actuality, he appears comfortable everywhere.
If a plus or superlative trait to Edwards’ game exists, coverage should be that. Armed with a smooth drop and play recognition, Edwards, can cover tight ends and backs with equal ability. Next, despite just adequate speed, Edwards breaks on the ball with certainty. During his career in Madison, to this point, he collected nine interceptions and thirteen pass deflections.
With the failure of Derrick Johnson and rather unremarkable play of Marquel Lee, the Raiders need an impact linebacker. Whether Oakland drafts for edge rusher and safety early should not dissuade them from looking at Edwards. The Raiders need an instinctive linebacker and great ball skills, mixed with sound tackling and awareness. In addition, Guenther’s scheme needs a middle linebacker with the ability to move or at least threaten the A gap on blitzes. Currently, the Raiders lack that. With Edwards, Oakland could finally start piecing together a competent defense. Moreover, with a Day 2 selection, the Raiders can fill other holes.