We continue our Kansas City Chiefs roster evaluation with “Sweet” Ron Edwards.
Edwards has had an interesting career. He was drafted in the 3rd round by the Buffalo Bills back in 2001. He played with the Bills until 2005. Big Ron never really caught on with the Bills. He has some injury issues and even when he did play he wasn’t terrible effective. His best season was in 2004 when he recorded 23 tackles and 4 sacks.
Herm Edwards scooped up Edwards off the scrap heap and he was just as underwhelming playing DT in KC’s 4-3 defense. After Herm got ran out of town, I thought Ron might be on his way out as well but to my surprise, the Chiefs tapped Edwards to be their nose tackle in the 3-4 defense.
Ron had a rough year in 2009 as teams ran straight up KC’s gut time and time again. The fact that he had Corey Mays coming in as backup didn’t help matters any but Ron struggled to adjust to his new position, partly because at 315, he is a bit undersized for a 3-4 NT.
In 2010, however, Ron showed some improvement and the Chiefs ceased giving up huge runs up the middle. Part of that improvement is likely due to Romeo Crennel and the additions of Derrick Johnson and Jovan Belcher at MLB. Still, teams were pretty successful running up the middle on the Chiefs, just not as ridiculously successful as they were in 2009.
After the jump, we’ll take a look at Sweet Ron’s numbers via Pro Football Focus.
Missed Tackles: 0
QB Hits: 2
QB Pressures: 5
Batted Passes: 1
Run Defense: +3.9
Pass Rush: -1.6
*I don’t usually include penalty grades because they usually aren’t that big of a factor in the players final grade. In Ron’s case, however, it is pretty impressive that he didn’t get flagged a single time all year. In fact, if you were to look at the other DT grades, penalties were a BIG factor. These guys tend to get flagged a lot. Richard Seymoure for instance, had a grade of -5.6 in penalties. Seymour was flagged for 7 penalties and NT Shaun Rodgers was flagged for 7.
** Includes the playoff game. Sweet Ron finished the year with a +5.0 grade.
Sweet Ron is a descending backup. The Chiefs might be able to get away with starting him at NT for another year but it will be at their own peril. Ron is turning 32 this July and while he showed some improvement this season, it was mainly due to the fact that he was more comfortable in the scheme. It is all downhill from here.
I don’t want to downplay Ron’s contributions last year. He was a perfectly average DT for the Chiefs. Of the 77 DT’s that played at least 25% of their team’s defensive snaps (this list is mixed with 4-3 DT’s and 3-4 NT’s) Sweet Ron came in at #32, ahead of guys like Casey Hampton and just behind guys like Shawn Rodgers #30 and BJ Raji #29.
Obviously, BJ Raji is the guy you want on your team because he is very disruptive, gets after the QB and has a ton of upside but on a play by play basis, Edwards was nearly as steady, if not unspectacular.
Sweet Ron did his job this season but what the Chiefs need if they want their 3-4 defense to go from good to great is a big, Raji-like, disruptive force in the middle of their defensive line. As we all know, good NT play can make the entire defense better. A good NT makes the jobs of the DE’s and the MLB’s much easier. If he is a consistent threat on passing downs as well, he will also make things easier for the OLB’s when they are rushing the passer. While Big Ron did ok, he wasn’t spectacular at anything and he was lacking in rushing the passer.
I think the Chiefs would be wise to draft themselves a NT while keeping Ron around as an insurance policy. They should also re-sign Shaun Smith. Smith played very well on running downs at DE but he has also played NT in Romeo Crennel’s defense. Having Smith and Edwards on the roster would provide nice depth along the defensive line should the rookie struggle or get injured.
The Chiefs installed their 304 defense 2 years ago. They have first round picks at both DE (even though Tyson Jackson has yet to do squat, they still have Shuan Smith and Wallace Gilberry)spots and at MLB. They have two very good CB’s in Brandon Flowers and Brandon Carr and a potential All-Pro safety in Eric Berry. This defense has a chance to be very, very, very good. They just need get a guy in the middle who can put it all together.
The time for a NT is now.
Chiefs Roster Evaluation: