Eagles LB T.J. Edwards is Making Strides During his Second Season
Before the 2020 NFL league year began in March, many assumed the Philadelphia Eagles would look to upgrade their inexperienced linebacker position.
They drafted Davion Taylor in the third-round, but knew that he was very raw and was unlikely to help their defense in 2020.
The team added Jatavis Brown, but he opted out due to COVID-19.
As the offseason dragged on, many thought they would add a veteran free agent to replace him, or wait for someone to be released.
It never happened.
The reality is the Eagles never really seemed as concerned as people outside the NovaCare complex with their linebacker room.
While the linebackers were a big issue early in the season, the position has started to figure things out and settle in, especially second-year man T.J. Edwards.
Edwards was signed as a undrafted free agent last season, and was one of the nations most productive linebackers at Wisconsin, where he made 52 starts, with 37.5 career tackles for loss, eight sacks, and ten interceptions.
"I think he was a very productive player at Wisconsin," Eagles defensive coordinator Jim Schwartz said on Monday. "Had a lot of production and things like that and he didn't run a great 40 time."
While his 40-time may not have been impressive, his football I.Q. has been. He is the type of football player who just knows how to play the game. That quality is sometimes tough to find, when searching for speed and athleticism, but its one of the reasons Schwartz likes Edwards fit in the Eagles defense moving forward.
"I think that T.J. is a guy that plays football well," Schwartz said. "Our scouts really did a great job with him getting him as a free agent. A lot of our scouts had him marked as one of their red star players which means that's one of their favorite players in the draft and we made a strong effort to get him after the Draft. I'm very thankful for that, being able to get a guy like that without having to spend a draft pick was a great addition for us."
Schwartz explained that Edwards was making strides before he injured his hamstring during the San Francisco game that forced him to miss three weeks.
"I thought he was playing well before he got injured," Schwartz stated. "I thought he was playing really well against San Francisco on that Sunday night game that he was playing before he hurt his hamstring."
“He's probably our best linebacker when it comes to being physical at the line of scrimmage and taking on guards and tackles and taking offensive linemen off of double teams and things like that and he's a reliable tackler."
So far in five games he has 26 total tackles, including two for loss, with a sack and two forced fumbles.
Dallas Cowboys v Philadelphia Eagles, November 01, 2020 in Philadelphia