“A.J. looked like he had some really good promise,” Coach Sparano said after Edds’ injury. “A.J. will bounce back from this.”
Edds is the topic of discussion right now because he and former teammate Pat Angerer (2nd round pick of the Indianapolis Colts in 2010) were two of the celebrity hosts of the Iowa Legends football camp recently, a camp held for young boys who want to learn from some of the area’s best.
The two former Hawkeye star linebackers took pretty different paths as NFL rookies. Edds obviously missed the whole season due to an ACL injury while Angerer took over as the starting middle linebacker for the Colts in week six of last season, and never looked back. Playing in all 16 games, Angerer finished with 89 tackles, a sack, and a forced fumble. Not bad for the second round pick at all, especially considering it was something of a shock when he was selected where he was.
Edds is quite a bit more physically put together than Angerer, who only stands at 6’0″ 235. Edds is a towering 6’4″ 244 pounds and he was a pretty good player for the Hawkeyes. He was a great performer in the classroom in terms of his academics, and he also finished his Iowa career with 226 tackles.
Now, Edds says he is working out and preparing himself for training camp, which hopefully is sooner rather than later. He also gave a nice little vote of confidence to Iowa strength and conditioning coach Chris Doyle, who has been under the microscope for the wrong reasons this offseason:
“I spent some time with teammates in Florida, doing some workouts,” said Edds. “Recently, I just got back to working out in Iowa City with Coach (Chris) Doyle. An asset like that, I’d be crazy not to try to utilize it.”
The Gazette noted that Edds’ career got off to a similar start to that of former Iowa linebacker and Minnesota Vikings franchise player Chad Greenway, who missed most of his rookie season with torn ligaments in his knee while playing on kick coverage.
“I was able to sit back and learn and really watch guys on our team that were successful on and off the field, and guys that weren’t because they didn’t quite live up to the potential that they have,” Edds said.
“Obviously, you never want to get injured and you never want to sit out and watch. But I think it’s really going to end up being a learning experience that helps me down the road. It’s something that really rekindled the fire within myself, the love and passion for the game. Because having something taken away from you in the snap of your fingers is tough.”
Edds came to Iowa as a three-star tight end/linebacker prospect out of high school, just a lanky 6’4″ 220 pounds. He bulked up to 244, or thereabouts, and now he is set to make an impact in the NFL. For the Dolphins, Edds will likely play inside linebacker in their 3-4, but he also has the size and athletic ability to come off the edge or blitz on the inside when asked. He’s a very versatile performer, and because of his former experience as a tight end, he has good ball skills and is effective against the pass.
This could be an underrated addition for the Dolphins this offseason, so keep an eye out for A.J. Edds.