Shout Out to Undrafted Free Agent T.J. Edwards, who is Having his Best Eagles Season Yet
Let’s give some credit where it’s due. T.J. Edwards has been phenomenal for the Eagles’ defense this season. He had two big tackles for loss in Sunday’s win and looks stout at a position the Birds really neglected in the post-Super Bowl years.
Here’s a quick look at what he’s done statistically in 2022, via Sport Radar:
- 10 games / 10 starts
- 96 total tackles (on pace for career high)
- 59 solo tackles (will shatter career high)
- 7 tackles for loss (career high already, on pace for 11-13)
- two sacks (tied career high)
- five QB hits (career high)
- three QB knock downs (career high)
- one fumble recovery
- five passes defended (tied career high)
- three hurries (career high)
- eight pressures (career high)
- 21 blitzes (almost double already what he did last year)
- just five total penalty yards conceded
For some added context here, Edwards is barely playing special teams in 2022, just 16 snaps through the first 10 games. He’s been essentially taken off that unit and is almost exclusively playing defense, which has allowed him to really thrive. He has either passed most of his single-season career highs or is on pace to smash them, with only six other offensive or defense players on the team logging more than the 647 linebacker snaps he’s played.
In addition, Edwards has been targeted on just 8.9% of opponent passing attempts, down from more than 13% last season, so a surface-level glance suggests that Jonathan Gannon’s scheme is limiting linebacker coverage responsibility as they play mostly nickel and throw those odd and Bear-front wrinkles in there. One of the stats we can look at is burn yards, which is defined as “the amount of yards allowed by a targeted defensive player.” Last year, Edwards gave up 351 burn yards and this year he’s at 164, so he’s currently on pace to log a smaller number here despite playing more projected snaps.
The biggest thing, perhaps, is that Edwards has been a successful developmental project. Remember, this guy was an undrafted free agent in 2019, and found a role on special teams, so for two coaching staffs to turn him into a legit NFL linebacker is a job well done. We should probably be talking about Edwards the same way we talk about Jordan Mailata, not necessarily in the sense of teaching the dude how to play football, but categorizing him as a wonderful internal success story.
T. J. Edwards vs Colts:
– 10 total tackles
– 2 tackles for loss
– 1 fumble recovery #Eagles
— Word On The Birds (@WordOnTheBirds) November 21, 2022