I find it ironic that what tends to be detractor's most avid argument, we have Ron Edwards coming back this year, tends to be my argument for why I want to see the 9th overall pick used on a DT.
Let me begin by saying I have the utmost respect for Ron Edwards and hope he turns into beast mode in his upcoming 12th season. That being said, I think it's time to dispel some rumors surrounding one Ron Edwards and what he could've or will bring to the table. More after the jump...
I've already eluded to my first point, the fact that this coming year will be Edwards 12th season. Granted, there are some examples out there of players, even defensive linemen, who have played quite a few years longer. One trend you'll find if you go digging for these examples is most play the majority of their years with one team and then towards the end of their careers bounce around a bit because they either don't know when to quit or command too much money. This brings me to my next point, Edwards has bounced around a bit. Drafted in the 3rd round by the Buffalo Bills in 2001 he spent five years trying to solidify himself as a starter. In 80 games for the Bills, Edwards managed to start 24 while only playing in 48, much of that discrepancy was due to injury. In 2003 he was shelved for much of the year due to a shoulder injury, he had further shoulder issues in 2005 and the next year he was a Chief. He had more luck as a Chief managing to start in nearly all his games in those five seasons. Entering his 11th season Carolina became the 3rd team to solicit his services signing him to a 3 year contract north of 8 million. Unfortunately Edwards tore his triceps in his very first practice and was lost for the season.
Ron Edwards has put up mediocre stats throughout his years when healthy. His best statistical year came in 2007 where he started 15 out of 16 games and recorded 23 solo tackles, 3 sacks and one pass defended. Granted, stats don't tell the whole story especially for interior defensive lineman. Regardless, this was nearly five years ago.
One last point, I've heard quite a few concerns about Smitty being in the twilight of his career. I'd like to point out that Ron Edwards is also 32. I'm going to throw an assumption out that the wear and tear on a 315 lb. individual manning the trenches is much more severe than that of a 185 lb. wide receiver.
I'd like to say one more time that I wish the best for Ron Edwards in the upcoming 2012 season and I hope he has the best of his career. However, the thought of going into the season with Edwards and two 3rd rounders attempting to plug up the middle and stay on the field for an entire season scares the hell out of me. I would rather spend the 9th overall pick on Dontari Poe and cross my fingers than that combination. Here's hoping it's Fletcher Cox though.
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