How UDFA T.J. Edwards silenced the doubters and made Eagles final 53

T.J. Edwards
Philadelphia Eagles linebacker T.J. Edwards (57) defends during an NFL preseason football game against the Baltimore Ravens on Thursday, Aug. 22, 2019, in Philadelphia. The Ravens defeated the Eagles, 26-15. (Ryan Kang via AP)

Standout performances. Every practice, every week, every game.

“Both guys had really good camps… that was a tough call for us. I think that they have a little bit different skill sets, they play different spots in our defense. We went back and forth on it and decided to go with TJ”

Howie Roseman, Eagles GM. On keeping TJ Edwards over Alex Singleton

What started as a fun story about a longshot linebacker from Wisconsin quickly turned 180 degrees. The guy who many scouts couldn’t hesitate to call slow, athletically limited, and unable to play sideline to sideline, made the Eagles 53-man roster over CFL standout Alex Singleton.

Over the course of 3 games, T.J. Edwards ranked as the 10th best rookie during preseason. He showed the same things as in college: Physical punisher, natural block shedder, safe tackler, and good in zone coverage.

Week 4 was no different

Edwards totaled 10 tackles and one for a loss vs the Jets. Snap fast play recognition, physical and efficient defeating blocks, safely making big hits, and taking good angles all became a regular sight.

However, and more importantly, Edwards was more confident in his zone coverage throughout the preseason. Against the Jets, he played the down and distance smartly in terms of giving up small gains and keeping the ball carrier in front of him.

Hard work and ability to translate secured a spot

Edwards did everything asked of him, while staying true to the abilities he developed in college.

Special teams came naturally, being a player going all out and not being afraid of running full speed into big dudes also running full speed. You know, the kind of insanity it takes to succeed on special teams, right?

What impressed me the most about his transition, was how he looked equally comfortable between the tackles and tracking the ballcarrier in traffic smoothly, even when going from college to teams of NFL caliber players.

Looking ahead to the 2019 season

Edwards will obviously start off at the bottom of the depth chart, working primarily on special teams throughout the season.

The reps in practice, the time with the trainers, and a full year of studying the game from an NFL perspective will benefit him greatly.

Eagles enter 2020 with a shaky LB situation. LJ Fort, Zach Brown, Nigel Bradham, and Kamu Grugier-Hill are all signed through only 2019, leaving competition and question marks. If Edwards progress with the same rate since he was signed as an UDFA, look out for that MIKE spot!

It’s been a pleasure breaking down video of Edwards every week, I hope you liked it, and thank you if you followed along!

Let the regular season begin!

Mandatory Photo Credit: Ryan Kang via AP

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