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TIME AND OPPORTUNITY: Saints RB Trey Edmunds Looks to “Turn Heads” During Mark Ingram’s Absence

For back-up players on the depth charts of all 32 NFL teams, the time and opportunity to prove themselves worthy of playing the sport of Pro Football at its highest level to coaches, fellow players, media, and fans that closely follow it every single day, is something that each and everyone of them strive for on a daily basis.

And now with Saints #1 RB Mark Ingram likely facing a four-game suspension for using a performance enhancing drug this off-season, back-up RB and 2nd year UDFA Trey Edmunds could be in line for an expanded early season role.

While 2nd year superstar and last year's 2017 NFL Rookie of the Year Alvin Kamara is expected to see the most amount of an increased workload while Ingram is sidelined, Edmunds could also be a beneficiary if he impresses the coaching staff and is able to "turn some heads" during the next few months of this remaining off-season; leading up to the start of the 2018 regular season in early September.

Photo courtesy of USA TODAY Sports

An undrafted rookie out of the University of Maryland who originally played at Virginia Tech before transferring, Edmunds earned a spot on the Saints' final 53-man roster out of training camp last season and appeared in all 16 games, primarily as a special-teams contributor. 

But what Saints fans remember most about Edmunds up to this point was last year's Week #10 blow-out 47-10 Saints win over the Bills at Buffalo, New York on November 12th; where the Saints running game racked up over 300 yards and 6 — count them: SIX — rushing TD's on the day. The 6 rushing TD's in a single game set a Saints franchise record in the process.

And after both Ingram and Kamara had each rolled up 100 yards each (Ingram 131, Kamara 106) respectively by the game's 3rd quarter, it was Edmunds who put the exclamation point on the Saints' dominant performance with a 41-yard TD run down the Bills left side-line to "ice" the victory for New Orleans.

It was his only TD of the season, and he finished the year with 9 carries for 48 yards, most of it on that one long run.

Now we fast forward almost exactly 6 months later, and it would appear that the 6-foot-1, 223 pound Danville, Virginia native is about to be given the time and opportunity by the Saints coaching staff to show everyone that he's more than just a "back-up" player in the NFL, and can be counted on to deliver with a much-expanded and increased work load going forward.

Edmunds of course is from the famed Edmunds Family that has seen his father — former Miami Dolphins star and Pro Bowl tight end Ferrell Edmunds — and two of his brothers also make it into the NFL this year.

Trey's younger brothers became the first pair of brothers EVER to be picked in the 1st round in the same year; when Tremaine Edmunds, a 19-year-old linebacker who was also the second-youngest player to be drafted since 1967, went to the Bills with the 16th overall pick. Meanwhile Terrell Edmunds, a safety, was taken by the Steelers at #28 overall.

Photo courtesy of The Roanoke Times

Ferrell Edmunds, the current head coach at Dan River High School, was drafted in the 3rd round of the 1988 NFL Draft also out of the University of Maryland, playing 7 seasons with the Dolphins before finishing his career with the Seattle Seahawks.

And not to be left out: Trey's Mom, Felecia Edmunds, was a successful track & field star and a stand-out hurdler at Southern Illinois University in the 1980's.

So it goes without saying:

Football and elite-caliber athleticism is "in the blood" for Trey Edmunds.

Photo courtesy of The Associated Press

And now those traits that Edmunds has clearly inherited from his parents, are what he hopes can serve him well as he competes for a "bigger piece of the pie" in the Saints running game.

Yesterday it was reported that the Saints would not be looking at the possibility of bringing in a veteran free agent still available such as former Cowboys and Titans RB Demarco Murray, choosing instead to stick "in-house" with the current back-ups on the roster.

Besides Edmunds, there's also former 2016 Draft 6th Round Buffalo Bills draft pick Jonathan Williams (whom the Saints signed off of the Denver Broncos Practice Squad late last year), and the Saints' own 2016 Draft 7th Round pick Daniel Lasco — who suffered a severe concussion in that very same game at Buffalo mentioned above and was lost for the remainder of the 2017 season.

Just how much time and opportunity Edmunds will be given by the Saints coach staff, is still yet to be determined.

Looking back over Trey Edmunds' body of work during his college career, there was only one time that he was truly asked to "shoulder the load", which came during his redshirt freshman year of 2013 at Virgina Tech.

Trey played for his father Ferrell at Dan River High and was a celebrated Parade High School All-American.

Photo courtesy of The Richmond Times-Dispatch

After enrollling at Virginia Tech to play for living legend Hokies head coach Frank Beamer, Edmunds ended up red-shirting his initial year in 2012. Beamer originally planned on using Trey at linebacker for the Hokie defense, before eventually deciding to leave him on the offensive side of the football.

He then made his collegiate debut the following season against Alabama in that year's 2013 Kickoff Classic and had 20 carries for 132 rushing yards and a rushing touchdown over the vaunted Crimson Tide defense in the loss.

While the Hokies were dominated by a much more powerful Alabama team, it was Edmunds who left a notable impression on college football analysts and observers alike with that stand-out performance.

In that 2013 season, Trey had 675 rushing yards and 10 rushing touchdowns (including 4 of them in one game vs. Miami) to go along with 17 receptions for 155 receiving yards and two more receiving touchdowns in his first "full" season at the college level.

Photo courtesy of The Associated Press

But a series of nagging injuries (a fractured clavicle and then a broken tibia) saw his role diminished each of the next two following seasons, and a frustrated Edmunds eventually decided to transfer to his father Ferrell's alma mater, the University of Maryland, to play as a senior in 2016.

But in limited action during the 2016 season due to a foot injury, Edmunds averaged 6.1 yards per carry for 158 yards with one touchdown.

He missed the final eight games of the year, and as a result, his draft stock plummeted and he was not asked to participate in last year's 2017 NFL Scouting Combine.

Photo courtesy of The Associated Press

But he was allowed to compete in Virginia Tech's Pro Day last March, where Edmunds ran a 4.47 40 yard dash and also put together 24 reps on the bench, 4.4 in the shuttle, 34.5 inch vertical jump and a 9'8 broad jump. His numbers would have put him among the top performers at the 2017 NFL Combine.

As a college RB, Edmunds finished his career with a combined total of 260 carries for 1115 yards and 14 rushing TD's in 32 games during that 4 year span.

He went undrafted as most thought that he would, until the Saints quickly signed him following the 2017 Draft's conclusion.

Based on that small sampling of his achievements as a college RB, it would seem that Edmunds is a capable player who has much room to grow and improve at the professional level, if simply given a much bigger chance to show what he can do.

Photo courtesy of Getty Images

But that's assuming that he can avoid the "nagging little injuries" which served to derail the majority of his college career.

But if he can "turn heads" in these next coming months, Edmunds could potentially get a much bigger piece of the proverbial pie in the Saints running game, at least to begin the first 4 games of the season. Sometimes, it's all about time and opportunity..........


Big Easy Magazine contributing writer and Saints News Network columnist Barry Hirstius is a 51-year old semi-retired journalist, former New Orleans-area sports editor, and writer previously with several sites that exclusively cover the New Orleans Saints football team. Additionally, he is a recurring guest on a variety of local Sports Talk Radio programs. Barry is also a New Orleans native who grew up as a fan of the team while attending games as a young boy at the old Tulane Stadium in the early 1970’s, originally following and now covering the team for a span of over 40 plus years. And perhaps most importantly of all: he is the Grandfather of two beautiful young girls, Jasmine and Serenity.....

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