With the 2017 NFL Draft now finished, it is time to look to next year. As we know, this draft saw some quality players coming out of the FCS including North Carolina A&T’s Tarik Cohen and Eastern Washington’s Cooper Kupp. Both of these players will have big roles to play with their respective NFL teams next season. Who will NFL teams be looking at from the FCS in the middle rounds of next year’s draft? Look no further than Fordham’s Chase Edmonds.
Since he first stepped foot onto Coffey Field, Edmonds has only improved as his college career has continued. In his first season he ran for 1,838 yards and 23 touchdowns earning him the coveted Jerry Rice Award (awarded as the NCAA FCS Rookie of the Year) and averaging out at 131.29 yards per game. This was the season that Fordham broke their all-time rushing touchdowns record with 31 in total, Edmonds, of course, being responsible for 74% of them. His season highlight was week 8 of the 2014/15 season at Lehigh where he ran for 197 yards and tied a school record with five touchdowns.
His sophomore season was where Edmonds receiving game started to shine, catching 31 passes for 383 yards. Lehigh again felt the wrath of Edmonds as he made 402 all-purpose yards (including 347 rushing yards on 31 carries with 3 touchdowns). He showed no signs of slowing down moving into his Junior season as he rushed 257 times for 1,799 yards, just 39 short of Fordham’s single-season record. It would be hard for me to list all of the accolades that he has achieved in his time at Fordham (as there are that many), but you can check them out here:(http://www.fordhamsports.com/roster.aspx?rp_id=6779).
So how will his running style transfer to the NFL? Well at 5’9, Edmonds doesn’t look like a player that would fit into a Le’Veon Bell or David Johnson mold, but I wouldn’t exactly call him undersized. He measures up similarly to Ameer Abdullah but is more athletic. Patience is something that seems to be getting discussed more and more in the NFL, this is something that Edmonds has a tonne of.
He uses his frame to shift quickly at the line of scrimmage and create gaps that simply aren’t there. When running in the open field, he can read defensive backs well and force them to miss with ease. He is by no means the fastest running back in college football, but that doesn’t mean he is lacking in pace. Not all top quality running backs have to go 0-100 like a rocket, some will use their footballing knowledge to force themselves away from oncoming defenders.
So where do I see Edmonds a year from now? Coming out of the FCS, it would be way too farfetched to say he will go on day 1 of next year’s draft. However, if Edmonds continues to shine as he has in his first 3 college years, there is no reason he can’t shoot up every team’s draft boards and maybe be considered an early third round to mid fourth round pick (similar to where Tarik Cohen went in this year’s draft). When he makes it to the NFL, I would think Edmonds will start as a backup somewhere and quickly earn his way into a starting spot as a three down running back.
I was lucky enough to chat with Chase and find out more about him.
So Chase, to start, can you tell me a bit about yourself?
I believe I’m the hardest working individual that there is. I’m ultra-competitive and I will never ever allow another man to outwork me at this game. I have a 2 year old daughter who’s name is Avery who I will do anything for and I pride myself on making football the way to give her the best life possible.
So where are you from originally?
I’m from Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. I went to high school at Central Dauphin East.
What made you go to Fordham?
When I got recruited a big thing for me was the opportunity to play my freshman year. Fordham had a scheme that I felt fit my strengths as a running back and they were also my first offer. That was a big thing for me because they were the first ones to take a shot on me and believe in my talents.
That’s fair. So with you being at Fordham, what do you know about the ‘Seven Blocks of Granite’? “Seven Blocks of Granite”
I’m familiar with the history of seven blocks and it’s pretty cool learning about it. For the Holy Cross game we watched an entire documentary about them.
That’s pretty good, especially since Vince Lombardi himself was one of them! So, how old were you when you started playing football? Growing up, did you always want to be a football player?
I was 5 when I first began to play football. Funny story is, my very first practice ever I got hit hard and went home crying to my mom claiming I didn’t want to play anymore. My father told me that you never ever quit something when you start. So I had to finish and by that time. I began to love it.
That’s brilliant! So since you have been in college, you have been fairly successful at Fordham. What would you say is your favourite highlight from your college career up to now?
I would say my favorite highlight is going to Army my sophomore year with a very young team in question and winning. That memory I had as we took the knee and just embracing it with Kevin [Anderson] I’ll never forget. My most memorable game to this day will be the Villanova game my freshman year. 9 carries for -5 yards. It was the week after I won national freshman of the week. It’s why I’m so hungry to play elite competition and can’t wait to have the opportunity again.
You have finished 4th in the Walter Payton award now for two years running. Would you say that is this season’s target? To go and win it?
I’m always a competitor. And I would love to win the award. But at this point, I know where I stand and my main goal is to lead my team to a national championship. Nothing more, nothing less. The best players win, that’s what I have to do.
Strong answer! Winning the 2014 Jerry Rice award was a huge achievement for you. Did you attend the ceremony?
Yes I did. It was a great experience and very humbling. Showed me that hard work truly pays off.
Definitely, so did you meet any NFL legends during the weekend?
I didn’t. Jerry rice had a family emergency that weekend but I did get to speak with him on phone.
So who would you say is the biggest inspiration in your life?
My daughter one hundred percent. It’s just life changing being a young father and knowing that how well I do in life can immediately impact hers.
That’s great and very true! So back to football, are there any NFL players that you try to model yourself on?
Play style wise. Shady McCoy. But my idol is Antonio Brown. I follow him on every social media and any workout I see him do, I immediately will do it and add it to mine. I love his work ethic and the fact that he was a 6th round pick motivates me more.
Agreed, he is an incredible player. Who out of the 2017 draft class of running backs would you say you compare to the most?
That’s a good question. I would like to think I’m my own running back but if I had to pick I would say Dalvin Cook.
Good stuff, I wondered if you might say Tarik Cohen due to the FCS background. Who would you say is the best player you have played alongside?
Wow really tough question. Offensively. Brian Wetzel. Most crafty player I have ever played with and he looks like he shouldn’t be a football player. Only saw him drop one ball and I truly believe he would’ve been another Chris Hogan if he had the opportunity. Defensively. Stephen Hodge.
Okay, so where is Brian now?
He lives in Texas now but I talk to him daily.
How do you see yourself in the NFL? Every down back, change of pace back, or pass catching RB?
I see myself as an every down back. I’m at 210 lbs now. I can catch and I can pass protect. I know a lot of people will consider me foolish for thinking that but like I said. I’m not in this business to please people, I’m here to prove them wrong and show I can dominate at every level.
Was there any reason you didn’t look to enter the draft this year?
I knew it was a loaded draft class and honestly, my daughter is the biggest reason, my dream has always been the NFL but I knew that if I left without my degree. I wouldn’t be just failing myself, I’d be failing her.
So you will be entering next year’s draft, is there anywhere in particular you are hoping to be drafted to?
I’m hoping to end up around the same draft pick as Cooper Kupp. I’m hoping to go to the Senior Bowl like him and prove I can play with the best of them. My goal is top 100 draft pick.
I think you’ve got that in the bag. So, what can we expect to see from you next season?
You can expect to see a complete running back. I want to show off all my talents including in the return game and do everything I can to lead again this time round.
If our readers here at can take anything from this interview, what would you want them to take from it?
Just my passion for the game of football. I truly love this game and want to be the best at it that I can be. It means absolutely everything to me.
Great answer. To finish, the 2017 draft has just finished, a couple of your old teammates were entered into it. What would be your message to either Phazahn Odom or Jihaad Pretlow? (Or any others that I’ve missed)
My message would be to continue to work hard and that I hope the best for them. They are very blessed to be in the position that they are in. Many do not get it.
So what can we take from this? Chase Edmonds is hungry. He wants to prove to everyone the talent that is available in the FCS is legitimate NFL caliber talent. He is not just playing for himself, he is playing for his family as well, and that is something that gives him extra motivation. Be sure to keep Edmonds on your radar, he is not a household name yet, but give it time and he will be. You can follow him on Twitter @ChaseEdmonds22 to keep up with him.
Don’t sleep on twenty two.
Follow me on Twitter @DFF_JamesH I would be happy to answer any questions you have or just talk Football.