WR Patrick Edwards (Houston) - Undrafted Free Agent
Thanks in part to an injury, Patrick Edwards' stock going into the 2012 NFL Draft plummeted. He didn't get drafted, but immediately he received an offer to join the Detroit Lions as an undrafted free agent, and the team made it a priority to get him signed. He ultimately did agree to join the Lions, and he reportedly put on quite a show at the team's rookie minicamp this past weekend.
An undersized wide out with a frail frame, Edwards lacks ideal girth and overall muscle tone to consistently fend off defenders vs. any kind of contact. He displays good acceleration off the line, and vs. off coverage he reaches top end speed quickly with the second gear to routinely get behind defenders down the field. He tracks the ball well over his outside shoulder, but lacks the body control and overall physicality to adjust and/or maintain balance when hand fighting with corners. He's easy to knock off balance and lacks the frame to hold his ground, too often drifting away from the action.
Edwards has been a four-year starter and key part of the high-octane Houston offense. He is small but is fast and savvy enough to play right away as a slot receiver in the NFL. He understands defenses and how to sit down in holes against zone coverage, making him a third-round talent who could also become a serviceable returner.
Positives: Dynamic skill player who's a game breaker as a receiver and punt returner. Fluid releasing off the line, immediately gets a top speed and is a legitimate deep threat. Consistently gets behind the defense, displays good eye/hand coordination and easily makes the deep reception in stride. Comes back to the ball out of breaks, quickly transitions from making the catch to running after the reception and displays skill picking up yardage after the catch. Shows a tremendous burst of speed in a straight line or laterally. Sells routes, shows quickness into breaks and stays low on exit.
Negatives: Lacks a big frame and struggles in battles. Unnecessarily lets passes get inside him on occasion. Takes his eyes off the ball and peeks upfield before he's actually made the catch. Does not time well on the 40.
Suffered a compound fracture in right leg when ran into a metal cart at Marshall and missed the final five games of the 2008 season. Doctors inserted rod into lower right leg during surgery. Held out of contact during 2009 spring practices. Undisclosed injury prevented him from attending 2012 Senior Bowl. Right quad strain prevented him from working out at the combine. Frame makes durability that much more of a concern.
2008: 46 catches, 634 yards, 4 TD, 25 kick returns, 506 yards (20.2 yards per return)
2009: 85 catches, 1,021 yards, 6 TD
2010: 71 catches, 1,100 yards, 13 TD, 29 punt returns, 231 yards (8.0 yards per return), 1 TD
2011: 89 catches, 1,752 yards, 20 TD, 32 punt returns, 210 yards (6.6 yards per return), 1 TD
- Edwards breaks leg vs. Marshall (2008)
- 61-yard touchdown reception by Edwards vs. UTEP (2010)
- Senior Bowl interview with Edwards
- Pro day interview with Edwards
- Highlights from Houston's pro day
- ProFootballWeekly's draft profile of Edwards
- NFL.com's draft profile of Edwards
Outlook for 2012
A similar player to Ryan Broyles, Edwards seems to have a very good chance to make the 53-man roster this year. The fifth wide receiver spot on the depth chart is up for grabs, and depending on how quickly Broyles is able to come back from his ACL injury, the fourth spot could be up for grabs as well. To me, Edwards seems like a guy who could make the team because he has great speed and could potentially push out Stefan Logan as the team's returner. Considering how much production Edwards had in college, it's clear he can return kicks and catch passes, so there might be more value in keeping a guy like him around rather than Logan, whose contributions are really limited to special teams.