Following three seasons of little production and a redshirt year, Gus Edwards transferred to Rutgers to finally take on a lead role for a team’s backfield. Playing behind an average offensive line, Edwards was good-not-great, rushing for 713 yards and six touchdowns on 4.3 yards per carry.
Although his college production leaves a lot to be desired, Edwards has the height-weight-speed (6-1/229 pounds/4.52 40-yard dash) of a successful NFL running back and could hear his name called during the 2018 NFL Draft’s seventh and final round. At a minimum, he’ll land in a team’s rookie camp and have the opportunity to push on from there.
Edwards is effective on outside runs, where he’s able to sink his hips and change direction with fluidity. Despite being a tad under 6-2, Edwards plays with good balance and doesn’t run as upright as Kerryon Johnson.
Bigger RB but he has good speed on outside runs pic.twitter.com/g0zPwq10Qz— Alistair Corp (@alistaircorp) April 4, 2018
One of Edwards’ best traits is his stop-start ability around the line of scrimmage. He’s able to make defenders miss behind the line and turn loses into small or no gains — a valuable skill for a RB playing behind a shoddy line.
To a fault, Edwards executes, or attempts to execute, the called run. Often he misses cutback lanes and is tackled for minimal gains despite possessing the burst to execute cutbacks; he just doesn’t see them.
On outside runs, Edwards is a decisive runner. He’ll put his foot in the ground and get up field rather than trying to stretch it all the way to the perimeter.
Although he only scored six touchdowns this past season for the Scarlet Knights, Edwards displayed a good nose for the end zone inside his opponent’s five yard line. He was successful in putting the ball in the paint during his time at the University of Miami, too. As a freshman, Edwards scored five touchdowns on 66 carries; as a sophomore, he scored six on 61.
Edwards possesses terrific initial burst and speed through the hole at the line of scrimmage. When he gets into the open field, he has the speed to run away from defenders and finish off long runs. At 6-1 and 229 pounds, Edwards may be better suited as a north-south runner, but he repeatedly displayed good speed to the outside.
Love his burst through the line of scrimmage pic.twitter.com/hZXUvJvRMO— Alistair Corp (@alistaircorp) April 4, 2018
Finish/Yards After Contact
Edwards’ finishing is frustrating. When he does finish runs, he looks like a powerful runner capable of churning his legs and gaining yardage.
If the Seahawks decide to move forward with Davis and Carson as their key RBs and address the position late in the draft, Gus Edwards is an interesting prospect pic.twitter.com/ixcZ8IktCR— Alistair Corp (@alistaircorp) April 4, 2018
And when he does seek contact in the open field, he’s capable of running over defenders and potentially breaking off large gains.
Speed to the outside, lil stiff arm then BANG initiates contact and walks in. Need to see Edwards seek contact like this more often pic.twitter.com/3uQB7r8Nxl— Alistair Corp (@alistaircorp) April 4, 2018
It just doesn’t happen nearly enough, especially for a running back of his size.
However Edwards does have a strong, solid upper half and he will consistently break shoulder tackles around the line of scrimmage.
Edwards consistently shrugs off shoulder tackles around the line of scrimmage pic.twitter.com/k1r1pMqzwL— Alistair Corp (@alistaircorp) April 4, 2018
As a pass catcher, Edwards wasn’t prolific by any stretch. At Rutgers in 2017, he caught 13 balls for 103 yards and a touchdown. With the Hurricanes, he caught just three passes. But I feel comfortable in his ability to contribute in the passing game in the NFL. Edwards looks fine catching the ball behind him, out in front or into his body, and is fluid moving after the catch.
In pass protection, Edwards is an engaged, willing blocker capable of picking up defenders from all three levels of a defense.
Overall, Edwards hasn’t done enough to warrant even a mid-round selection in this year’s draft. But he’ll be afforded the opportunity to get into camp with a team and he has displayed traits consistent with solid NFL running backs. If the Seattle Seahawks choose to move forward with Mike Davis and Chris Carson while addressing the position late in the draft, Edwards is a name to watch.