Position: Inside linebacker
Weight: 230 pounds
School: Wisconsin Badgers
Combine Performance Data
Bench press: 16 reps
T.J. Edwards 2019 NFL Draft Profile
T.J. Edwards is a redshirt senior out of Wisconsin. Believe it or not, he played quarterback in high school but decided to switch to defense in college. After his year redshirt year, Edwards hit the ground running as an inside linebacker. He played in all 13 games and had a team-high 84 tackles with 6.5 tackles for loss and a forced fumble. Those are some pretty good numbers from a player switching positions from high school to college.
In addition to his strong freshman year, Edwards’ sophomore and junior seasons helped to cement his status as a gritty player looking to make plays on the ball. He had over 80 tackles each of those seasons and recorded a combined five sacks and seven interceptions over that span. In his junior year, Edwards was a 2017 first-team All-American and first-team All-Big Ten.
The 2018 season was a year of high expectations for the Wisconsin Badgers. The team finished with a 13-1 record in 2017 by going undefeated in the regular season but then losing to Ohio State in the Big Ten Championship. Needless to say, things were looking good for the Badgers heading into 2018, and Edwards was a big part of that. However, the Badgers ended up going 8-5, but Edwards was named as a member of the second team All-Big Ten. He finished the year with 112 tackles, three sack, and three interceptions.
- an intelligent defender who reads the quarterback and adjusts;
- outstanding in middle of the field coverage with 10 career interceptions;
- very good tackler with over 80 stops four years consecutively;
- forces runs up the middle to the outside;
- instinctive and quick to the ball with play-making potential.
- doesn’t possess the shiftiness needed to push through the line and stop the ball-carrier;
- not very flexible, thus making it hard to change direction to chase;
- is a liability in man coverage and thus he may lose the ball carrier if first instinct is wrong;
- lacks explosiveness which leaves him playing catch up against the ball-carrier;
- only average speed for the position, which forces his intelligence to make up for a deficit in athleticism.
NFL Comparison: B.J. Goodson
Projection: Round four
Edwards had a very productive collegiate career but he lacks some of the physical traits it will take to keep pace at the NFL level. He’s smart and has a lot of heart so as a result, he should find a niche as a depth linebacker. His stock is currently down as he wasn’t able to participate in the on-field drills at the Combine due to a recent ankle injury. In addition to his injury, Edwards only posted a 16 rep bench press workout, which was tied for 22nd out of the 28 linebackers that participated in the drill. Wisconsin is scheduled to have their Pro Day on March 13th, and we should see Edwards perform on the field drills at that time.
Edwards has a lot to prove if he wants to become a starter but if he’s healthy, he shouldn’t have problems finding a rotational role with a team at the next level. If he can fine-tune his man coverage skills and get a little quicker it would help tremendously. In short, Edwards faces an uphill battle to become a starter but with time has the potential to find a nice role.