Eagles camp: T.J. Edwards has been Philadelphia’s best linebacker

T.J. Edwards #57, Philadelphia Eagles (Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images)
T.J. Edwards #57, Philadelphia Eagles (Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images) /

The next time you’re talking with your buddies about draft prospects, the NFL Combine, and 40-yard dash times (and how important that latter is in determining an incoming rookie’s readiness for the pro game), make sure you reference T.J. Edwards and how good he’s been for the Philadelphia Eagles.

Coming out of Wisconsin’s program, T.J. was highly decorated. He had earned a Football Writers Association of America Freshman All-American nod in 2015 before notching First-Team All-American and Cotton Bowl MVP honors in 2017. He had also notched two First-Team All-Big Ten nods in 2017 and 2018. Still, during 2019’s offseason, seven rounds of that year’s NFL Draft had come and gone without him hearing his name called.

Much of the reason for that was a slow 40-yard dash time, 4.87 seconds to be exact. NFL.com’s Lance Zierlein gave him a grade of 5.90 in his draft profile of the former Badger meaning he’d be an “average backup or special-teamer”. Fast forward to the present, and he’s been more than the Birds could have hoped for.

T.J. Edwards has been phenomenal for the Eagles in training camp so far.

44 games with 30 starts has produced 230 tackles, three sacks, four additional hits on the quarterback, two interceptions, six pass breakups, two forced fumbles, and a blocked punt on special teams versus the Carolina Panthers a season ago that helped turn the tide in that one.

Edwards’ game-changer doesn’t get mentioned as often, but it was one of the most important plays of the year. Had Philly lost in Charlotte, they would have dropped to 1-4 on the season. Instead, they escaped with a much-needed win.

T.J. has been better than advertised, and that’s carried over into 2022’s version of training camp. During the sixth practice session alone, he broke up two passes (one was nearly picked in seven-on-seven drills), and he’s shined in goal-to-go situations, at one point stopping Dallas Goedert for a two-yard gain to keep the offense out of the end zone. He also had a nice play in coverage versus Noah Togiai.

While the additions of Kyzir White and Haason Reddick fueled adrenaline rushes, and Philadelphia’s decision to draft Nakobe Dean and Kyron Johnson have us talking about depth at the position for once, make no mistake about it.

Right now, T.J. is the best and most well-rounded linebacker that the Eagles have. Dean has yet to overwhelm us. That’s fine. He’s a rookie, but while he comes along, the Birds are in a good spot.

Trending. Ambitious goals for the coming regular season. light

T.J. Edwards should be and will be the quarterback on defense. He’s witty. He’s immensely talented, and he won’t be ignored for too much longer. This should be a big year for the Eagles, and their starting middle linebacker will be a big reason why that’s the case.