2019 Stats- 45 Total Tackles, one sack, two fumble recoveries
Dubbed as the self proclaimed “Honey Badger” (mainly due his hair style and likeness towards Chiefs free safety, Tyrann Mathieu), Mike Edwards was drafted as the talented safety who lined up with Lonnie Johnson at Kentucky in one of the more feared secondary in all of college football. After being drafted in the third round by Tampa Bay, the plan was to have Edwards learn behind Bucs starter, Justin Evans, while he got acclimated to the NFL.
Things didn’t quite go as planned, as Evans would miss the entire 2019 season and Edwards was essentially thrust into a starting role. As expected, there were plenty of hurdles and Edwards was consistently in and out of the starting lineup. The rookie was able to show a knack for getting to the ball, as evident from his 45 tackles after only starting only seven games. Training camp will be interesting to watch as Justin Evans is expected to return to action by then and the two will go at it for the starting spot.
2019 Stats: Eight total tackles, one pass deflection, one forced fumble
The unfortunate part about Anthony Nelson’s season is that it was ended before it really ever began. The Iowa Hawkeye product was in line to backup OLB, Carl Nassib, and work his way up the depth chart ladder. A lingering hamstring injury ruined that oppurtuity and eventually cut the rookie’s season short. What’s good to know, though, is that Nelson indeed has potential when he’s playing and healthy.
Even though he only provided a small sample size before being shut down due to injury, Nelson actually managed to start a game in his rookie season as well as posting multiple games as the team’s best-graded run defender. If he can avoid the injury bug in 2020, expect Nelson to make a huge improvement in his sophomore season.