No wide receiver playing college football at the FBS level had more touchdown catches than Houston's Patrick Edwards did last season. His 20 scores still weren't good enough to get him drafted, though—probably because of his 5'9", 175 pound frame and lack of top-end speed. They were, however, good enough to get a contract from the Detroit Lions, who also signed the all-time winningest collegiate QB, Boise State's Kellen Moore, as an undrafted free agent. Now, Edwards is already on his way to making the team's final roster.
Lions head coach Jim Schwartz said that the team "thought a lot" of Edwards, and they "were very surprised that he didn't get drafted," according to Dave Birkett from the Detroit Free Press. Per Paula Pasche of the Daily Tribune, Edwards talked to GM Martin Mayhew and WR coach Shawn Jefferson "right after the draft," and he decided to pursue the opportunity to impress the team.
Edwards and Moore hooked up frequently during this weekend's rookie mini-camp. According to Pasche, Edwards said, “As the days went on he (Moore) got good and the ball started coming in the right places and we converted a lot of deep plays and scores.’’ Pasche called Edwards' plays "eye-catching," especially on the final day of practice.
Undrafted free agents usually face long odds to make the final roster, but Edwards is in the right position to make a run at a job. After Calvin Johnson, Titus Young and Nate Burleson, the Lions have no established wideouts. Second-round pick Ryan Broyles is coming off of an ACL tear and might start the season on the PUP list. Edwards can add value as a punt returner, and he'll have much more experience practicing with the team than Broyles.
Not only could Edwards make the roster if he keeps this up, he could even get on the field in four-wide sets early in the season.
The odds of Edwards ever playing pro football were remote when he finished high school. He wasn't offered a scholarship and had to walk on at Houston. After a grisly compound leg fracture in 2008, those odds got even more microscopic. But now, Edwards is poised to overcome the odds again, and it sounds like his coaches have little doubt that he's capable of doing it.