By The Numbers (per nfldraftscout.com):
- Height: 5’11”
- Weight: 203 pounds
- 40-yard dash: 4.76 Seconds
- 225 pound bench reps: 11
- Vertical Jump: 32.5”
- Broad Jump: 9’0”
- 3-Cone Drill: 7.13 Seconds
CBS Sports Position Rank: 22nd free safety
Projected Draft Position: Undrafted
Zach Edwards was a stalwart of the Cincinnati Bearcats during his career but he appears to have a tough road to navigate if he is to fill a similar role for a team in the NFL.
Edwards’ stock has seemingly dropped over the last few years, which is unfair as he has been a fine safety in that time, but he has failed to live up to his career-year in 2014 when he set a personal best with 122 tackles, including 3.5 for loss. However, Edwards improved in coverage as he aged and he has always been able to force turnovers. He had 26 career passes defended and eight interceptions, including a career-high of three in 2015. He also forced a fumble in all but one year. The unfortunate part is that year happened to be his senior season, when a hamstring injury kept him to 10 games. He still finished with 93 total tackles, 4.5 tackles for loss and his first career sack.
Clearly the biggest strength in Edwards’ game is his tackling ability. He had at least 90 stops in three-straight seasons and hits hard from the safety position. He was not always a devastating force on the pass rush, in fact, he wasn’t at all, which may be blamed on a bit of a lack of foot speed in comparison to others at the position. The 40-yard dash is not a holy grail of player evaluation, but most of the safety prospects at the NFL combine ran a 4.4 to 4.5 40, while Edwards was over 4.7 seconds at his pro day.
Aside from statistics, Edwards fits the mold of the today’s NFL safety. With the exception of superhero Kam Chancellor, most of the best safeties in the league fall around six feet tall and hover around 200 to 210 pounds. Some examples include Earl Thomas (5’10”, 202 pounds), Eric Berry (6’0”, 212 pounds) and Harrison Smith (6’2”, 214 pounds).
However, when all is said and done, Edwards is probably going to fail to make it onto any team’s draft board this year, although he could always sign as an undrafted free agent and try to break in as a practice squad player.