We’re finally approaching the beginning of the 2020 NFL season, with only a few weeks left until the first games kick off. I’ll be continuing my Player Profile series in the meantime, where we’ll take a look at each of the players on Atlanta’s roster. I’ll break down their measurables, past production, and try to project their 2020 season with the Falcons.
After taking a look at the projected starters, we now turn our attention to the depth on the Falcons’ roster. Today I’ll be discussing EDGE Austin Edwards—a UDFA out of Division II Ferris State who fits the mold of the “big EDGE” that the Falcons love and has seemingly impressed the coaches thus far in training camp.
EDGE Austin Edwards
Contract: $610K cap hit in 2020, UDFA contract through 2022 ($761K APY), RFA in 2023
Career Production: 47 games played | 187 total tackles, 34.0 TFL, 19.0 sacks, 3 FF, 2 PD
2019 Production: 13 games played | 64 total tackles, 17.5 TFL, 10.5 sacks, 1 FF
Previous Teams: UDFA signed by the Atlanta Falcons (2020)
Measurables: 6’3, 269, 34” arm length, 9.5” hand size | 4.83s 40-yard dash, 7.21s 3-cone, 4.4s 20-yard shuttle | 34” vertical jump, 115” broad jump | 29 bench reps
The Falcons always surprise us with a few smart UDFA signings, and I doubt 2020 will be an exception to that trend. Already we’ve seen very positive signs from UDFA WR Chris Rowland, who would appear to have the advantage in the returner battle. Another name from this year’s class that could be a dark horse for the roster is Austin Edwards, a standout from Division II Ferris State who has outlasted just about all the other options heading into the latter portion of training camp.
Edwards is an imposing presence at 6’3, 269—though the team lists him at 280, signaling that they may be bulking him up for their patented inside/outside role. If you’d like to know more about Edwards’ personal story, check out Evan Birchfield’s recent interview. He had a bit of a quiet start to his college career, playing his first two years as a reserve at Ferris State. However, in his junior season, Edwards had a breakout campaign which saw him lead the team in tackles (97 on the year) along with impressive TFL (14.0) and sack (8.5) numbers. He followed that up with an even better 2019 season, where Edwards totaled 64 tackles, 17.5 TFL, and 10.5 sacks in 3 fewer games.
That incredible level of production is what you want to see from a player making the transition from D2 to the NFL, but it is still a longshot for Edwards to crack the 53-man roster. Thus far, he’s managed to outlast both fellow UDFA Bryson Young and former UDFA Austin Larkin—who was legitimately impressive for the Falcons in the 2019 preseason. Edwards tested out as a very good athlete, particularly for his size, and consistently improved during his time at Ferris State. He’ll be an interesting watch during the remainder of training camp.
Projection: Austin Edwards joined the Falcons in an offseason where the team was quite crowded at the EDGE position, but has managed to outlast most of the competition. He fills a role Atlanta seems to crave as a big, inside/outside EDGE, but still has to beat out one of Charles Harris or Steven Means for a spot on the 53-man roster. More likely, Edwards is a practice squad stash who has a chance at eventually taking over for Allen Bailey in future years.