In the days leading up to the NFL Draft, BaltimoreRavens.com takes a look at some of the successes from the Ravens' scouting department. On Thursday, it was third-round draft pick Marshal Yanda.
In the second round of the 2004 draft, Dwan Edwards was the pick.
When the Ravens drafted Dwan Edwards five years ago out of Oregon State, they got a 315-pound run stuffer that had anchored the Beavers' defensive line for years.
But Baltimore has a way of utilizing their players in different ways than most would expect. Instead of burying him in the middle of the line, where he needs to hold up blockers and create a pile, the Ravens moved Edwards out to end, where he has found success in recent years.
That didn't happen last season, though.
During a 2007 campaign that saw him start a career-high 13 games in place of an injured Trevor Pryce, Edwards totaled 58 tackles, his first sack and first interception.
People inside Ravens headquarters were expecting great things from the former second-round pick (51st overall) in 2008, at least until a back injury required surgery and he was placed on Injured Reserve just after training camp.
"It's a shame that he got hurt last year, because he was starting to come into his own, and we were expecting him to have a breakout season last year," said Chad Alexander, who spearheaded the scouting of Edwards that year. "He started a lot of games in '07 when Trevor got hurt and [he] did a great job. I think he's still on his way to being a great player."
Alexander said he saw a prospect that played with intensity and energy on every play, even though Edwards weighed in at a hefty 315 pounds coming out of college. Edwards notched 159 tackles and 12.5 sacks while at Oregon State, earning All-Pac 10 honors twice.
The area scout knew that effort would translate to the next level.
"He played three technique in college, and he was really strong at the point of attack," explained Alexander. "I thought Dwan was really athletic and tough, a guy that would chase the ball really well with effort."
Still, it took some time before Edwards became a regular part of Baltimore's defense.
He only saw action in four games as a rookie, and then only 20 over the 2005-06 seasons.
When given a chance after Pryce succumbed to a broken wrist and torn pectoral muscle, Edwards responded with his stellar performance.
"He's a guy that has progressed every year," said Alexander. "[Defensive line coach] Clarence Brooks has done a great job with him, as far as teaching him to play with leverage and to use his hands to get off blocks.
"When he came in, he was originally playing D-tackle and now he's moved out to end. He's been a really good player for us."
As part of Edwards' transition, he also slimmed down to between 290-295 pounds by eating healthier and regularly playing pickup games of basketball.
And according to Alexander, the switch wouldn't have been successful if not for a full commitment from Edwards.
"It's a completely different position," Alexander stated. "You're moving from the inside, where you're dealing with two guys on you at all times, to the edge, where you rely more on speed and quickness. You've got to use your hands to get by those tackles and maybe a tight end."
"He was always tough and athletic, but from a technical standpoint, he's gotten better."
Edwards signed a one-year contract extension in December, fortifying one of the best defensive lines in the NFL.
Obviously, the Ravens believe Edwards can recapture the feel of 2007. Perhaps 2009 will be Edwards' second breakout season.