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Free Agency: Warnings From a Year Ago

The story of Ray Edwards provides a few interesting angles to consider when chasing free agents. They may be proven at the NFL level, but there is always more to consider. The first is schematic fit. While the Vikings and Falcons do run similar schemes in some ways, they vary in how they treat their linemen in terms of workload and deployment. Minnesota tends to line up with the same players in the same positions on as many snaps as possible, while the Falcons, in particular John Abraham, move around to rush the passer from different positions. In 2010, Edwards lined up as a defensive end on the right side of the Vikings line just five times. That’s five out of 765 snaps. In 2011 in Atlanta, Edwards spent 268 of his 732 snaps as right end … 36.6% of his game time. Drafted out of Purdue in 2006, Edwards was just 21 at the time of the draft, and was a raw prospect that the Vikings had to spend time in developing. He slowly improved year on year to the point that in 2010 he was our eight-ranked 4-3 DE with a grade of +31.1. He notched nine sacks that season, but totaled 67 combined pressures, and only Charles Johnson brought more pressure on a per-snap basis. He was visibly uncomfortable in Atlanta when forced to move around the line, and his best two games of the season came in games where he spent most of his time rushing from his more familiar DLE spot. Over the season, he was almost twice as effective rushing from that side than from the right.

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