The Buffalo Bills signed free-agent offensive lineman David Edwards to a one-year deal. Edwards comes east from the Los Angles Rams where started 46 games over the last four years. He was originally drafted by the Rams in the fifth round of the 2019 NFL Draft.
Unfortunately, Edwards was only able to participate in four games in the 2022 season. After multiple concussions, Edwards was shut down for the season. The concussion situation is something to monitor as he joins Buffalo, but for the time being it seems as though the Bills have found a solid depth option at the guard position who also has the ability to play tackle if needed. Edwards should provide some competition at the starting guard position, but my guess is that he’ll be slotted into a depth/rotational role for the 2023 season.
David Edwards wasn’t always an offensive lineman. In fact, he was initially a three-star recruit in high school at the QB/TE position. Check out some highlights here:
Fun fact about #Bills new offensive lineman David Edwards:— B.J. Monacelli (@bjmonacelli) March 24, 2023
He was 6'6" - 225 and was recruited as a 3-star QB/TE. Why sign a backup QB for Josh Allen when this guy is waiting in the wings? pic.twitter.com/6HrqOUe12K
Looks like the next Josh Allen doesn’t he? (I’m just joshing, of course.)
Edwards obviously switched paths in college when he committed to Wisconsin. The three-time letter-winner at Wisconsin began his career as a TE before switching to the offensive line in 2016. At Wisconsin, he earned First-team All-America (AFCA) as a right tackle for the Badgers in 2017. In 2018 he led the way for Jonathan Taylor to run for 2,194 yards, which led the nation. In 2018, he earned first-team All-Big Ten and Academic All-Big Ten.
Let’s break down some film!
Edwards leverages a reach block
Edwards shows his athletic background with his nimble feet, which allows him to work his way around slower defenders and out-leverage them. Sometimes blocking isn’t always about overpowering defenders, but simply getting your body between them and the ball carrier.
Jordan Phillips takes advantage of David Edwards
Give credit where credit is due. Defensive tackle Jordan Phillips ran a nasty spin move on David Edwards on this play. Edwards is anxious to get outside to compensate for Phillips’ outside alignment, but he over steps his pass set, which allows Phillips to execute a perfect spin move to the inside to sack the QB.
Edwards displays awareness in the screen game
Boy... it sure would be nice if the Bills could properly execute a screen on occasion in 2023, wouldn’t it? Edwards shows some hope for Buffalo if this clip is any indication of his screen-game abilities. I like how Edwards checked back to see if the screen player (the player catching the football) was ready to run. This quick check is important for the timing of the play. If Edwards started blocking too early, his defender could make a move to get back in the play to make a tackle. Edwards showed adequate movement skills on this play and seems athletic enough to latch on to smaller defenders at the third level to block them.
Edwards provides a solid anchor in the passing game
Edwards displays a solid sequence in this pass set. He threw a heavy first punch, which allowed him to gain control of the pass rusher off the snap. During the attempted bull rush, Edwards anchored his lower body and stayed stout throughout the play. Edwards helped provide a desired pocket for the QB because he didn’t give up much ground up the middle.
Edwards’ low center of gravity
Edwards shows good balance here by sinking his hips and creating a low center of gravity. The defender tried to do a “push-pull” move on him to no avail. A nice pass block set by Edwards on this play.
Edwards uses solid run-block positioning
The initial blocking scheme on this play seems to call for a double-team block on the DT between the left tackle and Edwards, but the DT angled inside. Edwards didn’t fight the issue, he just let the DT go inside where he wanted to go. The key to this block was Edwards’ left-arm punch and turning his back into the hole. This is a great example of Edwards understanding the game, keeping it simple, taking what the defense gave him, and using it to his advantage.
David Edwards is a solid depth signing for Buffalo and I would expect him to compete for a starting position. He has four years of experience as a starter and has won a Super Bowl — something I’m sure the Bills value. The concussions are a concern but the team must be comfortable with the situation. Edwards has a solid first punch and anchor in pass blocking. He isn’t a “mauler” or finisher of run blocks, but he excels with his footwork and body positioning to create holes in the run game. He isn’t the most athletic guard in the league, but he is good enough to be able to get to the second level and be successful.
Buffalo has made sure to revamp their interior offensive line in an attempt to upgrade at the position, but also to provide depth players with starting experience. Priority number one is protecting Josh Allen, and hopefully, Edwards can help the cause.