Mike Edwards was drafted by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, at least in part, due to his versatility as a safety with the Kentucky Wildcats.
With Justin Evans still battling injuries and yet to step on the practice field, Edwards has been identified as a young player the Bucs will have to lean on more than most franchises like to do with rookies.
However, if early performances are an indication of what the team might have acquired with Edwards, then any concerns about his role as a first-year NFL safety should fade rather quickly.
Speaking after practice on Monday, head coach Bruce Arians said this of Edwards,
“Griff (Ryan Griffin) stared that thing down, and I saw him coming, and I said, ‘That’s picked.’ He’s got great instincts, and he’s a ball hawk.”
Pewter Report’s Trevor Sikkema shared a play of the video, and while the quarterback certainly helped out the young defensive back by forecasting his throw, Edwards’ awareness, ability to read, break, and focus while making the play are all impressive.
It’s just the first full week of camp for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, but early reports coming out of practices are very re-assuring as long-time reporters of the team have made no secret about how exciting the new defense looks in this early stage.
Expected to play strong safety for much of the off-season, Edwards was moved to free-safety and is an early favorite to start opposite of Jordan Whitehead currently. The new defense asks a lot out of its younger players as communication and understanding play big roles in being successful.
Asking a rookie to switch positions after he spent months preparing for one is a big task and shows how much confidence the Bucs have in Edwards’ abilities and potential. As the offense continues to grow and get better, guys like Edwards will be challenged more and more.
It’s going to be fun to see if the defense can continue making the early strides being shown in camp. With live action against opposing offenses just around the corner.