After finishing his junior year in West Lafayette, the 21-year old Cincinnati native made his foray into the big time, eschewing his senior campaign in favor of the NFL Scouting Combine, and the one-shot lottery for his services at the very highest level.
What makes Edwards' story different from many underclassmen who move on up is that his raw athleticism and playmaking skills were slightly obscured in 2005 by what some regarded as a dip in on-field impact. After a 2004 season that saw him in the running for the Ted Hendricks Defensive End of the Year Award, big things were expected from the standout edge rusher. Reality was a bit of a different story, as Edwards started the first six games of the Boilermakers' 2005 season, only to find himself replaced as the top man by Rob Ninkovich.
The two players spent the rest of the season in rotation, combining their efforts and coming up with 13.5 sacks.
Through his Combine and Pro Day, as pro scouts and personnel men got their own looks at Ray Edwards, a different picture began to take shape. By all accounts, his Combine went quite well. It's estimated by many that he'll be a reasonably high first-day pick, and he could be a steal if he continues to refine his technique.
When asked about his strengths and weaknesses in a recent interview with Seahawks.Net, Edwards responded, "I think my biggest attribute is definitely getting to the quarterback – and stopping the run. My weakness? I think I need to play a little more consistently sometimes. I may have a problem with not getting to the ball as much as I should. I'm definitely working on getting to the ball a lot more."
Dallas, like many teams from around the league, also had the opportunity to scout Edwards at Purdue's Pro Day just last month.
Other teams showing significant interest in Edwards include New England, Cleveland and Cincinnati.
Not surprisingly, Edwards could have flexibility in his position at the next level. Some teams think he could be an outside linebacker in a 3-4 scheme, while others want him on the line.
When asked if he had a preference about a position, Edwards responded, "Not really. I would love to play outside linebacker, because that's where I think I could be more versatile and productive. But I could still put my hand down (on the defensive line).
Full Name: Raymond Edwards School: Purdue Pos: DE
Ht: 6-4.5 Wt: 273 40: 4.83 Year: 3Jr
Bio: Moved into the starting lineup as a sophomore producing 45/11/8. Yanked from the starting lineup last year, finishing with 28/11/5.5.
Pos: Playmaking defensive end coming off a poor campaign. Flashes quickness off the snap, plays with good pad level and makes plays laterally. Fast off the edge, has a closing burst and redirects to ball handlers. Tough to handle once he gets a step on opponents.
Neg: Not instinctive, and slow locating the ball. Must improve his overall playing strength to break control by opposing tight ends.
Analysis: Edwards took a major step backward last season after looking like a star in ‘04. Lost his starting job and made a mistake entering the draft but a prospect with good upside if he focuses on the task at hand.