Mike Edwards is a former composite three-star safety out of high school. He saw action all four years at Kentucky without missing a single game, accumulating 317 tackles, including 21 for a loss, 10 interceptions, and 23 passed defensed.
Edwards isn’t very big, measuring in at 5’10 and 205 pounds, and doesn’t have great length. He’s not a dynamic athlete, and isn’t as fast as either Bunting or Dean, the Bucs’ two previous picks this draft. He’s not a twitchy or fluid athlete, but he does have some linear burst and long speed. So why would the Bucs take him if he doesn’t add plus length and athleticism to the secondary?
He’s a good, tough, smart, versatile player. He played all over for the Wildcats - as a box safety, as the overhang defender, and in the slot. Where Bunting and Dean were averse to contact or hesitant to stick their nose in run support, Edwards has no reservations. He was one of Kentucky’s key run defenders because he was reliable in his run fits. He has a great motor and gives great effort.
Unfortunately, his lack of plus athleticism will take away some of his versatility in the NFL. The role he’s best suited for is probably a slot cornerback in man coverage (including off-man), but there he can help in run support in the C or D gaps. Head coach Bruce Arians spoke before the draft about wanting to find a big slot corner; well, Edwards is your guy. In zone Edwards has a bad habit of abandoning his assignment to freelance, but he won’t be a good enough athlete to get away with that in the NFL, so that will have to be coached out of him. He’s not flashy, but he’s a plug and play guy that should be fine unless matched up on explosive slot receivers or freak tight ends.