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Q&A with A.J. Edds

BY BRENDAN STILES | APRIL 20, 2010 7:30 AM

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The Daily Iowan contacted former linebacker A.J. Edds and had him answer a few questions before the 2010 NFL draft on Thursday.

DI: Since the Orange Bowl, how different has your life been?

Edds: I don’t know if I’d say my life has been different. It’s been busier. I’m finishing up my degree, so I’m still in school. I feel it’s different than most of the other guys in the situation. Things are going pretty well. Went to the Senior Bowl, then the Combine, then had the Pro Day, have been to a lot of workouts and stuff, so everything has been pretty smooth so far. I’m pretty anxious and excited to find out where I’m going to be.

DI: You just talked about how you’re still in school. How difficult has it been to juggle all your classes with this stuff and workouts?

Edds: It’s a deal where it’s like playing football at Iowa. You have to have time-management skills. I only have three classes, the teachers are pretty on board with what I’m doing, so that’s good. I have missed a little time, but the big thing was that I’ve been able to communicate that with my teachers. It’s just like anything else. You know you’re going to have commitments, and you just got to be able to honor those.

DI: You got the opportunity to participate in the Senior Bowl. What was it like to be down in Mobile and not only be able to take part in that game, but to also have the chance to work with an NFL coaching staff and hear from them what they think of you as a player?

Edds: It was a great opportunity. It helped my cause because I was able to go play a position in a traditional 4-3 defense that I didn’t really do much of at Iowa … I played more of a traditional outside backer in the Senior Bowl, and that’s what really helped. It was really good to get down there and line up next to guys who are probably going to be first-round picks and kind of play with those guys and kind of see what guys have done to help themselves. It was good, and it was fun getting coached by a NFL staff. It was a lot like coach Ferentz’s staff, and that’s a reason why Coach Ferentz has had great success. He runs the program a lot like a professional team, and that’s why a lot of Iowa guys have great success at the next level because they can transition pretty easily from college to a professional organization because of the way he runs the team and does things. With the Lions staff, it was great because they do things very similar to how they’re done at Iowa, having assignments and playing responsible assignment football. But at the same time, have a little freedom to make some plays yourself.

DI: In that game, you recovered a fumble by Florida quarterback Tim Tebow. Tell me what that was like.

Edds: You know, I didn’t even realize that he was the quarterback in there. I just jumped on the ball. Tim put the ball on the ground, and he didn’t have the best game down there. Hopefully, someday, whenever Tim Tebow is made into a saint and is granted sainthood, I can tell my kids that I recovered a fumble that he put on the ground at the Senior Bowl.

DI: Fast forwarding to the Combine and Iowa’s Pro Day, what did you take away from those two experiences, taking part in all those drills, and having all these NFL teams wanting to get to know you?

Edds: The thing I took away from all this stuff this last two-and-a-half months … is just being very thankful and very grateful that I decided to come play at Iowa. The respect Coach Ferentz and his staff have from coaches, general managers, and scouts at the NFL level is incredible. Every single person I came across knew somebody on the Iowa staff, had some sort of connection, and I’m not exaggerating on that. I feel like every person I talked to sat down and said, “Hey, tell Chris Doyle I said hello. Hey, tell Phil Parker … Hey, tell Norm Parker … Hey, tell Ken O’Keefe …” and stuff like that. Coming out of high school, you don’t even think about that. That’s not even on the radar with your future. It’s just getting to school and playing and that kind of stuff. Looking back, coming to play for Coach Ferentz and being able to start for three years for Norm Parker’s defense is something, you know, the stars couldn’t have aligned better because you don’t realize it until you have a chance to kind of go live it. You just end up being pretty grateful for the chance you get.

DI: What would you say a typical conversation with an NFL team is like?

Edds: It can be anything. Some of the conversations are about football. Some of them are not about football, but just meeting the person. The ones concerning football, the guys will ask me, ‘What are the strengths to your game? What are some things you can improve upon? How do you see yourself projecting?’ It’s really pretty standard. … football coaches, they’re still just guys. They’re just normal people that happen to coach football. It’s nothing overbearing or too intimidating.

DI: As far as position, are they talking to you about playing on the strong side like you did at Iowa, or have teams talked to you about playing inside?

Edds: It’s been a little bit of a mixed bag. The 4-3 teams said playing on the strong side, playing one of the outside backer spots. I’m also having conversation with 3-4 teams, talking about playing inside, which would be a little tougher because it’s a position I haven’t played. But at the same time, playing on the goal line and being in a few situations like that at Iowa, it’s not totally foreign. It would be a little bit more of a transition. I think ideally, playing outside in a 4-3 is kind of the spot that I would be best at.

DI: Do you ever pay attention to the mock drafts or listen to the people like Mel Kiper Jr. and Todd McShay say as far as where they think you’re going to go?

Edds: You can’t put too much into that because the only opinions that matter are the head coaches’ and the GMs’, and they’re not the ones having the mock drafts. People that have the mock drafts are people with nothing to lose, and if they’re wrong, nobody cares. They don’t watch the game film, you know, Mel Kiper and Todd McShay don’t sit down and watch film, break stuff, have any idea what they’re talking about. Yeah, it’s easy to pick the first 10 picks of the draft. Anybody can do that. It’s a matter of trying to take that stuff with a little bit of a grain of salt and move forward. Whatever happens, happens, then after that, things kind of take care of themselves.

DI: What experience from your Iowa career do you feel will make you a solid NFL player?

Edds: It’s kind of like what I said earlier. It’s really just kind of having played in a system where you have to be accountable, to be at a certain place at a certain time. You’re not necessarily doing your own thing. You’re playing within a bigger piece of the puzzle, playing in the defense that I did with coach Parker. I guess the biggest thing that I’ll take to the next level is knowing that I’ve done it for three years, and it worked.

DI: If I were to tell someone, “I think A.J. Edds will have a solid NFL career,” what would you want me to say to back that up?

Edds: I think the biggest thing that would help me be successful at the next level is my ability to be able to adapt and being flexible to doing whatever is asked. And then what I’ve done, ever since I’ve played football is kind of ask the coaches where they best see me, where I can best help the team, and then just make myself the best possible player at that position. I think just having that mindset, having that chance at the next level is something that will help me and really kind of give me an edge by being flexible and doing a little bit of everything. Hopefully, that’s enough for a team to want to pick me and keep me on the team.


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