FAB 3. Bucs Could Be Chasing Edmonds
If you’re a running back there might not be a better name than “Chase.”
As in “make them chase you” or “chasing records.”
It wasn’t necessarily planned this way by his parents, but Chase Edmonds was appropriately named because he turned out to be a star running back at Fordham.
Edmonds did just that – chase – in his four-year career with the Rams. A lot of people chased after him – many were unsuccessful – and he chased some records, breaking nearly every school and Patriot League rushing record, and he came close to breaking the all-time FCS rushing record, too.
In desperate need of a running back or two, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers are pursuing Edmonds, who is one of the real sleepers in this draft. I had a chance to meet and interview Edmonds after the first East-West Shrine practice when he had a stellar day and was one of the standout performers.
Interestingly enough, he’s friends with Bucs defensive end Noah Spence, as both hail from Harrisburg, Pa.
“Noah is my guy and I try to catch up with him from time to time and see what he’s up to,” Edmonds said. “I asked him for some advice when it comes to agents and he steered me in the right direction. I think it’s cool to have someone from your area make it to the NFL – the big league – that you can look up to. I would love to play for the Bucs because it’s kind of cold up north.”
Edmonds enjoyed the warmth and sunshine during Monday’s practice, but tweaked his ankle on the second day and re-aggravated an injury that plagued him during his senior season. Edmonds rushed for just 577 yards and five touchdowns on 136 carries (4.2 avg.) on a sprained left ankle and a right glute strain.
Not too impressive? Well consider that in his first three years at Fordham he rushed for no fewer than 1,600 yards and averaged 20 touchdowns per season.
In fact, Edmonds rushed for 5,862 yards and 67 touchdowns on 938 carries (6.2 avg.), proving that he could be a playmaking workhorse – at least on the FCS level. Edmonds was hoping that a big East-West Shrine performance would have helped answer questions from NFL scouts about how he would perform against better competition.
“It was nice to be there with some elite competition, coming from the FCS, so I really came out with a chip on my shoulder,” Edmonds said after the first East-West Shrine practice. “I had a rough year injury-wise, so I have some ground to make up.
“I had a left ankle sprain and a right glute sprain and I tried to come back from them too early and it kind of nagged at me all year. If I could take it back and do it over I would, but I learned how to weather the storm. I learned to never have too high of a day or too low of a day. I just try to keep progressing every day I get on the field.”
Casey Muir of Octagon, Edmonds’ agent, said his client was disappointed that he his all-star game practice week was cut short after just one practice.
“He tweaked it on the second day and it’s not worth the injury risk at that point to push through it that week, unfortunately,” Muir said. “He was really bummed about that and was really looking forward to having a big week down there. Obviously, he was off to a great start.
“He wants to do his best every time he’s out there, which is what I love about him. Whether it’s training for the Combine or his pro day or the workouts, he wants to kill it every time.”
Edmonds was able to rehab his ankle enough to train for the NFL Scouting Combine and do a full workout in Indianapolis. He ran a 4.55 in the 40-yard dash, benched 225 pounds 19 times and turned in the best 3-cone drill number for running backs with a 6.79. His 4.07 time in the short shuttle was tied for the best at the Combine among RBs, but then he ran a 4.00 flat at his pro day.
“He trained down at Michael Johnson performance in Texas, and they did a great job mixing in the rehab and the training for him,” Muir said. “They got that ankle back in shape and he’s 100 percent. He’s had no problems.”
Edmonds, who measured 5-foot-9, 205 pounds at the Combine, but played at 211 in college. While his frame might seem to be on the slight side, he proved he could carry the load in college with over 900 career carries. He rushed for a career-high 37 times for 179 yards in a win over Georgetown during his junior season.
Edmonds rushed for 200 yards in a game seven times and even surpassed the 300-yard mark twice at Fordham, rushing for 347 yards and three touchdowns on 31 carries against Lehigh as a sophomore in 2015. That set a record that he broke during his junior year when he rushed for a Patriot League record 359 yards and four touchdowns on 17 carries in a win over Lafayette, which set the record for the most yards per carry (21.1 avg.) at the FCS level.
Edmonds’ play resembles that of the player he admires the most.
“I watch Devonta Freeman,” Edmonds said of the Atlanta Falcons’ running back. “I think I’m built like Devonta Freeman and my game and his game are similar. I like how he uses his quickness and burst. He keeps his pad level low. I like Devonta a lot.”
What makes Edmonds appealing to the Bucs is not just the fact that he’s an accomplished runner. He’s also a capable receiver and he could replace Charles Sims in the third-down, change-of-pace back role that head coach Dirk Koetter likes to employ. Edmonds caught 86 passes for 905 yards and seven touchdowns at Fordham, and averaged an impressive 10.5 yards per catch.
“People now want backs that can do everything,” Edmonds said. “I’m modeling my game after that, and I think the best backs are the most versatile backs. Look at Le’Veon Bell. He does it all – David Johnson, too. I’m just trying to keep working on my hands and being a complete, versatile back.
“I think of myself as a slasher,” Edmonds said. “I’m not 220 pounds or anything. I’m a slasher who can catch the ball out of the backfield. That’s the number one thing I’m trying to improve on – being a weapon out of the backfield and working on pass pro. That’s huge in the NFL. I understand that you can run the ball like A.P. (Adrian Peterson) in his prime, but if you get the $20 million man (quarterback) to your left or to your right hurt, you’re on the bench.”
If the Bucs draft Edmonds it won’t be as the team’s feature back. Edmonds is a late Day 3 pick and it’s highly likely Tampa Bay will draft a bigger name running back somewhere in Rounds 1-4. It could be Penn State’s Saquon Barkley or Georgia’s Nick Chubb or San Diego State’s Rashaad Penny or North Carolina State’s Nyheim Hines.
While those running backs may be better known, they’re not necessarily more accomplished. Don’t sleep on this kid named Chase.