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Fordham product Chase Edmonds gives Cardinals unique set of RB tools

Cardinals general manager Steve Keim dipped into the FCS draft pool in the middle rounds of the last two NFL drafts.

Running back David Johnson was a third-round pick from Northern Iowa in 2016, and last year Keim selected Grambling State wide receiver Chad Williams in the third round.

Over the weekend, the Cardinals followed that trend by taking Fordham running back Chase Edmonds.

The addition gave depth to a running back room led by Johnson but without a known commodity behind him. Second-year pro T.J. Logan, whose wrist injury in the preseason ended his rookie year, figures to challenge Edmonds for the backup spot.

“T.J. to me is a little bit more straight-line explosive. This guy has great lateral cut-ability,” Keim told reporters on Saturday. “I don’t want to tell you who we compared him to because it’s a little lofty, but he’s got the makeup athletically of some of the guys who’ve had a lot of production at this level.”

Edmonds measured 5-foot-9 and 205 pounds at the NFL Scouting Combine and put up a 40-yard dash of 4.55 seconds.

It’s his maneuverability that has the Cardinals believing he can provide a changeup option at running back, but as it was with their other 2018 NFL Draft selections, his personality matters, too.

Before the draft, Edmonds clicked with Arizona on a visit with team personnel and eventual first-round draftee Josh Rosen.

A father since his freshman year in college and a 3.0 student at Fordham, his college head coach, Andrew Breiner, told Doug & Wolf on 98.7 FM Arizona’s Sports Station that Edmonds is prepared for success in his professional career.

“The Cardinals got as focused and determined of a young man I’ve ever been around,” said Breiner, who is now the passing game coordinator at Mississippi State. “As I told all the scouts I talked to, Cardinals’ scouts included, he’s very talented but I think what makes him special is he checks so many if not all of the intangible boxes.”

Edmonds racked up 62 total touchdowns and more than 1,600 rushing yards in each of his first three seasons at Fordham. With another such season, he would have challenged the FCS record of 6,559 total rushing yards held by Georgia Southern’s Adrian Peterson.

In seven games and struggling with ankle and hamstring injuries, Edmonds produced 577 yards at 4.2 yards per carry. He still finished his career averaging 6.2 yards per carry and 5,862 yards on the ground.

Edmonds tallied those numbers playing in a spread, run-pass-option offense and thrived finding holes in the Rams’ inside zone blocking schemes.

He also flashed as a pass-catcher out of the backfield by taking 86 receptions for 905 yards in his college career.

“The vision, the change-of-direction — I always thought Chase has the ability to change direction and get to his top speed as quick as anybody I’ve seen or coached. I think his contact balance is incredible,” Breiner said. “Obviously he’s coming into the league, he’s not a 6-foot, 220-pound running back. He’s 5-9, he’ll probably play in that 210 range, but his ability to absorb a hit and stay on his feet and pick up those leaky (sic) yards — or stay on his feet and create a big play — I think that will be his strength at the next level.

“There are times he probably bounced runs knowing he could create a big play. In the NFL, some of those runs — four-yard runs are good runs. He’s going to have to cram it in there and be happy with the four-yard run.”