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Wednesday, July 27, 2011

DT Ron Edwards, TE Ben Hartsock Signed

arolina signed Ron Edwards, a nose tackle from Kansas City, to a modest 3 year, $8.25 million contract today.

Edwards, 32, is a 6’4, 320 lb tackle going into his 11th year. He was a 3rd round pick in 2001 with Buffalo, playing in Gregg Williams’ pressure scheme. After 5 years with Buffalo, Edwards moved over to Kansas City, most recently fitting into their 3-4 but probably working out a bit better in the one gap scheme Carolina will put forth. Edwards adds a size and experience completely absent the last two years (excepting Hollis Thomas, who situationally bailed Carolina out a good bit), and continues to help fit what Ron Rivera’s said about requiring a better front to help linebackers flow downhill.

Edwards is a departure from past years as well – he is Carolina’s eldest defender at this point – and coming with that experience is a leadership needed (and missed) in the trenches. It’s hard to say whether Tyler Brayton – the other over-30 player in the front seven – will still be with the team at DE.

It’ll be interesting to see what else we do at DT, whether we bring back any other players; as of now, we have Edwards, rookies Fua and McClain, former 3rd round pick Corvey Irvin, undrafted FA from 2010 Andre Neblett, and Nick Hayden. If I were to guess to a depth chart and you were to simplify it to nose or under tackle, here’s what I’d figure:

NT: Edwards, Fua, Neblett

UT: McClain, Hayden, Irvin

Not all of those would make the team. There’s honestly room for another player (I don’t think the team has that much interest in Neblett or Irvin) since we’re light on rush players/3-technique type DTs, if they wanted ,which would push Hayden to inactive depth (should they keep 5 on roster instead of 4).

At first, to be honest, I read that the Panthers had signed Ray Edwards, the sought-after DE. I certainly wasn’t expecting that – I was expecting a player like Ron Edwards. That reaction aside, I wasn’t expecting an elite DT – I figured they’d put big money into one defender, possibly a DT or CB, and IMO preferably a CB (you can find roleplayers at DT if necessary, and I guess we have).

Carolina also signed TE Ben Hartsock, who's been on 5 teams in 8 years. He's an allright blocker, but rarely gets any time receiving. I'm underwhelmed by this signing, and kinda hope we keep working at TE.
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