Mike Edwards’ transition into the NFL has been seamless, thanks to his extensive experience in Mark Stoops’ secondary.
The former Wildcat is one of only two defensive backs in Kentucky’s 300-tackle club. He reached that level of success by playing multiple positions in UK’s secondary. The versatility he developed in Lexington is serving him well in Tampa Bay.
“We played a lot of DBs out there,” Edwards said shortly after the start of training camp. “I played a lot of nickel, dime, safety, corner. I’ve played a lot of different positions, so I feel like coming in here, Coach (Todd) Bowles has a great scheme, great defense and I feel like he has a lot of DBs out there at a time so wherever he likes me at, I can play.”
Upon his first arrival in Tampa, the third round draft pick lined up at strong safety. They have since tried him out at free safety, where he could line up in a number of different locations before the ball is snapped in former New York Jets’ head coach and current Buccaneers defensive coordinator Todd Bowles’ scheme.
“He likes to mix it all up,” Edwards said. “[There is] not really one main thing, like a free safety just playing the middle field – I blitz, cover guys, stack the box and different things like that. So, he definitely has a great scheme for our defense. I just try and prepare for whatever he sets me up for and wherever I line up at – wherever he’s got me positioned at. Like I said, I’ve been doing that since college and high school. I’ve been playing all over the field, so wherever he has me, I’m comfortable.”
Edwards has looked quite comfortable in the opening days of training camp. On Monday the Kentucky Badger returned an interception for a touchdown where the defense promptly participated in a team celebration.
Mike Edwards with his second pick of the day. Read the eyes of Ryan Griffin and took it to the house. pic.twitter.com/ZTwpAdgxKO
— PewterReport (@PewterReport) July 29, 2019
— Eduardo A. Encina (@EddieInTheYard) July 29, 2019
That wasn’t his only interception of the day either.
Video: Deep INT for Bucs rookie safety Mike Edwards, looks like miscommunication between Winston and receiver … pic.twitter.com/k1g4LGVcG1
— Greg Auman (@gregauman) July 29, 2019