We continue our series of posts on 49ers free agent acquisitions with a look at wide receiver Braylon Edwards, courtesy of John B at Gang Green Nation. Thus far we've looked at Madieu Williams, Antwan Applewhite, Carlos Rogers and Donte Whitner.
Braylon Edwards brings a ton of upside to the table, but as John describes, there are issues that could prevent him from reaching that potential with the 49ers. The 49ers are in a fortuitous position with Edwards because of a very team-friendly contract. There's no doubting the talent of Braylon Edwards, but it's a matter of putting it all together while staying out of trouble. My fingers are crossed.
Arguably the most interesting aspect of John's write-up is on the issue of dropped passes. I need to get some more details on the changes he made, but apparently he was able to figure out a glitch in his game and reduce the drops. According to Pro Football Focus he had four drops in 2010. Not too shabby.
Head after the jump to check out John's comments about Braylon Edwards.
There are certain things he does really well. He is a great deep threat. He's fast. He uses his huge frame and leaping ability to win contested balls. He makes the subtle body contortions to shake defenders on deep stuff. He's also a really, really good run blocker on the edge, every bit as good as you would hope a guy as big as him would be.
I think he's an inconsistent route runner on anything other than the short stuff, which can lead to problems if his quarterback misses. He's a big target, though, so that helps make up for it. He had a deserved reputation for drops, but he worked hard with the Jets coaches over the last offseason to eliminate them. They studied it and realized they tended to happen on balls over his right shoulder. Drops were not an issue in 2010.
The big issue with him is that it seems like he has a dangerous lack of judgment. He cost himself a game ball against the Patriots by picking up a taunting penalty after a touchdown. Then there was the drunk driving arrest the week of a big divisional game. And this happened while he was playing for a new contract and supposed to be showing teams he was a worthwhile investment. And Edwards was reportedly out with Donte Stallworth the night Stallworth was arrested for later allegedly driving drunk and killing somebody.
Shouldn't that have made a big impact? And he already had run ins with the law in Cleveland and promised to be on his best behavior in the second chance the Jets gave him. And then he later said the arrest was "BS." It doesn't seem like he learns from his mistakes. The Jets reportedly said he was a diva in the locker room. Braylon made two tweets he later removed in the free agency period that seemed to be shots at the Jets front office. Then he allegedly is part of a bar fight right as he is looking for a new contract from some team and had court cases regarding the drunk driving arrest and possible issues with a pre existing probation in Cleveland.
I think he's the kind of guy who needs a strong locker room and a winning atmosphere to stay focused because it seemed like he kind of wrote his ticket out of Cleveland with attitude problems. I think the contract the 49ers got him on was an absolute steal, though. He has a ton of talent, and there's virtually no risk with the other stuff paying him so little.