The day just doesn't end- the Patriots have signed linebacker A.J. Edds to a deal, according to Brad Biggs. This means that the impending Dan Gronkowski deal might have to wait a day and that another release might be just around the corner.
A.J. Edds was drafted out of Iowa in the 4th round of the 2010 draft by the Miami Dolphins. Edds was a three year starter and was known for his great coverage skills. Unfortunately, he tore his ACL last season season and never had an impact with the Dolphins. The 6-4, 245 lbs Edds appears to be a candidate for the Patriots' 4-3 outside linebacker position and should add valuable depth to the team.
Read more after the jump!
CBS Draft has the following to say about Edds:
Read & React: Recognizes play-action and misdirection and gets to the flat in a hurry to cover screens
Run defense: Gives little ground against linemen and tight end blocks on the edge. Can punch and rip off consistently to make plays. Throws his shoulder into fullback in the hole but doesn't always anchor well. Takes good angles to the ball. Does not always break down in space and lacks the change-of-direction skills to compensate against elusive backs.
Pass defense: The former tight end is agile in coverage, and covers receivers and tight ends the flat very well. Can get deep or attack to the sideline. Runs with most tight ends down the seam and reads their eyes to turn and look for the ball. Reacts quickly to throws in his area. Able to knock passes away before or after the receiver gets his hands on the ball. Very good hands for the interception.
Tackling: Strong wrap-up tackler in the open field and around the line of scrimmage. His size and length means few missed tackles, as well as having the ability to chase down backs from behind. Brings hips to stop ballcarriers in a hurry when heads-up.
Pass Rush/Blitz: Stacks up tackles and tight ends on the edge, and will still come after the quarterback if sent or the signal caller is looking deep downfield. Will defeat running back blocks with his hands and strength. Won't miss the sack or quarterback hit once in position. Lacks great pass-rush moves or the speed to turn the corner against better tackles.
Intangibles: Major contributor since his redshirt freshman season and a leader on the defense the past two years -- by actions more than words. Solid character and weight-room work ethic.
By the looks of things, a healthy Edds adds more depth to the Patriots' at linebacker. However, there appears to be a logjam at the position. Brandon Spikes and Dane Fletcher appear to be the front runners at MLB, while Gary Guyton, Jerod Mayo, and Rob Ninkovich have the OLB spots down. Tracy White and Jeff Tarpinian appear to have the special teams linebacker role under wraps as well. The Patriots have a definite need on the roster for a player of Edds' ability since most of the linebackers leave a lot to be desired in coverage.
I believe that Guyton should be the most concerned by this acquisition. Guyton doesn't really have a role on this defense since he lacks the strength to be an enforcer against the run and he doesn't excel in coverage. He's an elite athlete, but that doesn't always translate on the field. It appears that he may have a niche as a delayed linebacker pass rusher in the 4-3 defense, but there's still room for improvement on the roster. I don't believe that Guyton will be the roster casualty to make space for Edds (or Gronkowski) but he will certainly have someone pushing him Edds plays to his full capabilities.
Overall, Edds seems like a "best player acquired" sort of move that helps promote depth and a strong roster. Where he fits remains to be seen, but his skill set will be extremely valued by the Patriots. Don't be surprised if, at the least, Edds is a contributor on special teams and Jeff Tarpinian is bumped to the IR.
Also, consider this payback. I'm sure one player knows a lot more about their former team than the other player knows (spoiler: It's not the tight end).