NFL Draft 2018: CD East grad Chase Edmonds looks to prove people wrong all over again
Fordham running back Chase Edmonds runs a drill during the NFL football scouting combine, Friday, March 2, 2018, in Indianapolis. (AP Photo/Darron Cummings)
Former CD East and Fordham star Chase Edmonds expects to hear his name called on Day 3 of the NFL Draft, but his mom isn’t taking any chances.
Alison Edmonds is traveling to Dallas for the draft and plans to be there as long as it takes to feel the moment her son’s dream comes true. She figures Chase has been through enough and has worked hard enough to go all-out.
At the same time, Chase will host a small gathering in the Bronx feeling just as much relief as anxiety. He’s finally about to turn a corner from all the workouts and pre-draft scrutiny to football.
“I’ll tell you what, it’s a long experience,” Edmonds said. “I like to have a usual routine, and it kind of messes the routine up. You’re always flying, always on the move. That’s the most anticipated part, getting back to ball, getting back to what I do. It’s what I’ve done since I was six.”
Edmonds is at peace with the process, feeling like his hard work has paid off. He thought he proved at the NFL Combine what he felt all along, that he was the quickest running back in the draft class. Edmonds led all backs at the combine in the 3-cone drill (6.79 seconds) and the 20-yard shuttle (4.07).
Edmonds also got a chance to showcase another of his primary strengths by lining up in the slot and running routes for teams. Add in a sound time of 4.55 seconds in the 40 and solid marks elsewhere, and Edmonds came away satisfied.
“At the combine, I wanted to run a 4.51 or 4.52 in the 40 and ended up running 4.55,” Edmonds said. “I feel like I’m the quickest running back in the class. I had the best times in the shuttle and 3-cone. I showed my versatility. After I did all the testing, they had me run reps from the slot.
“I felt like I won the day at the combine and achieved the goals I wanted to achieve. I wanted 20 reps on the bench and got 19. Other than that, I was pretty satisfied and felt like my hard work paid off.”
Since then, Edmonds estimates he’s worked out at Fordham for 7-8 teams, and he’s taken visits to Arizona and New Orleans, teams that have recent history of using backs with his skill set. The Cardinals found early success with Andre Ellington as a sixth-round pick in 2013. The Saints hit a home run when they picked NFL rookie of the year Alvin Kamara in the third round.
The big knock against Edmonds is that he might not be big enough to make it as a workhorse back, but how many of those exist in today’s NFL anyway? Only one player, Pittsburgh Steelers back Le’Veon Bell, topped 300 carries last season. Six did it in the 2007 season.
Those criticisms of Edmonds were seemingly confirmed by a senior season in which he missed time with injuries and finished with 136 carries for 577 yards and five touchdowns in seven games. Edmonds still left Fordham as the all-time leader in school and Patriot League history with 5,862 career rushing yards, 74 touchdowns and 67 rushing touchdowns.
“There aren’t too many running backs that really get the ball 30 times a game out of the backfield,” Edmonds said. “It’s trending in a positive way for myself. There’s a lot of running back-by-committee teams and a lot of guys being switched into the slot trying to create bad matchups for teams.”
And that’s what Edmonds is, a matchup problem. Those quick feet can get him into and out of routes and can help him make a living by attacking the perimeter of defenses. But he said the thing that has stood out most to NFL teams isn’t physical at all. It’s his football IQ.
Spending time with best friend and former Fordham quarterback Kevin Anderson has its benefits.
“My football intelligence was praised by a lot of coaches with board work and my knowledge of the game,” Edmonds said. “My best friend is a quarterback, so I’m always watching film with him. It’s just about repetition.”
Edmonds approaches the run-up to the draft with the usual mix of excitement and nerves. He’s about to learn where the next chapter of his life begins, but his story is different than many of his peers. Edmonds also has 3-year-old daughter Avery to consider with a potential cross-country move on the horizon.
Already established as a leader and captain and Fordham, fatherhood accelerated Edmonds’ maturation off the field. His No. 1 priority now with football income that’s coming his way, he said, is to set Avery up for the rest of her life.
“I’m already thinking about what I want to do with my money,” Edmonds said. “Other guys spend it on themselves a little bit. I’m looking at a 529 savings account for Avery to get her college paid. My outlook on football is as long term as possible to keep money growing as long as possible for her future.”
That outlook will likely start as a late-round pick who has to climb the ladder to carve out a career in the league.
If that’s the case, Edmonds be in his element. He wasn’t considered much of a recruit leaving CD East High in 2014, and he went on to tear through FCS Fordham’s record books. He’s getting the same underdog treatment now as an NFL prospect, which could be dangerous for the league.
“For me, it’s a blessing to be in the position I am,” Edmonds said. “It’s been a long road. I was never a high recruit. I was always an underdog. I enjoy the underdog role and proving people wrong by working hard every day.
“I earned everything I got. I pride myself on hard work. I remember being that guy being asked, ‘What do you want to do?’ and saying I wanted to go to the NFL. People looked at me weird. For it to be coming true, it’s like a pat on the back. I’m proud of how far I’ve come.”