PHOTO: Buffalo Bills' Willis McGahee (21) pushes off of Miami Dolphins' Antuan Edwards (21) during
the fourth quarter at Ralph Wilson Stadium in Orchard Park, N.Y., Sunday, Oct.
17, 2004. The Bills won 20-13. (AP Photo/David Duprey)
FOXBOROUGH, Mass The New England Patriots
added another veteran defender to their roster yesterday, as the team agreed to
terms with former first-round defensive back Antuan Edwards. Edwards, who had
been to visit the Super Bowl Champs previously, agreed to terms with the club
and will provide yet more depth a unit, which was decimated by injury last season.
a first-round draft choice by the Green Bay Packers (25th overall) in the 1999
NFL Draft. The former Packer moved on from Green Bay to sign with the Miami Dolphins
in 2004 as an unrestricted free agent. He spent time with both the Dolphins and
the Rams last season.
The 6-foot-1, 210-pound safety has the versatility
to play multiple positions in the defensive backfield, something the Patriots
look for in their players. Edwards' flexibility translated into success last season
when he set personal best records for tackles (65) and passes defenses (10), while
playing for both the Dolphins and the Rams.
Edwards joins an increasingly
competitive group of safeties already on the roster including Rodney Harrison,
Eugene Wilson, Guss Scott, James Sanders, Dexter Reid and Raymond Ventrone.
Harrison is a sure starter, the other safety position is more unsettled. Wilson
is expected to start, but may switch to corner, Scott is returning from an injury-shorted
season, Reid looks to compete for time along with draft choice James Sanders and
Ventrone's best hope may be the practice squad.
The 28-year-old Edwards
will have to prove he still has the talent that landed him in the first round
of the draft. If he can harness some of that talent, it will be another example
of how the Patriots take former high round draft choices that fall out of favor
with other teams, and turn them into productive players again.
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