Panthers seem keen on ASU’s Edwards

By Darin Gantt
Updated: March 17, 2010

BOONE, N.C. — Appalachian State quarterback Armanti Edwards said Tuesday the Carolina Panthers seemed more interested in him than any of the NFL teams he’s spoken with so far.

But as much as he thinks they like him, he’s not sure what they want to do with him. Such is the problem with the celebrated Mountaineers passer, and the reason he was catching punts and running receiver drills at his pro day workout Tuesday.

The Panthers were one of 10 teams watching, and they’ll be back Thursday for a private session with the two-time Walter Payton Award winner (the FCS version of the Heisman).

What they’re going to ask to see is a mystery to the multi-talented Edwards, the only player in NCAA Division I history with over 10,000 passing yards and 4,000 rushing yards.

The professional ambivalence, however, doesn’t extend to his coach.

“I think he’s a quarterback,” Appalachian State coach Jerry Moore said Tuesday. “I don’t think there’s any question about it.” The league has questions. Just shy of 5-foot-11, Edwards weighed in at 182 pounds Tuesday.

That’s 5 pounds lighter than when he was measured at the scouting combine in Indianapolis. Several scouts said they were hoping to see him around 185 pounds, to convince them he wouldn’t be a durability concern.

But Moore talked about a scout who had also worked another little guy who came out of Purdue, recalling that veteran evaluator holding his fingers an inch apart saying “he’s that much shorter than Drew Brees.”

Because of his size, no one seems willing to commit – or admit – to scouting Edwards as just a quarterback. “Every team varies,” Edwards said.

“A couple teams like me as a special teams returner. A couple like me at receiver and a couple like me at quarterback and receiver, so it depends.”

It was all on display Tuesday. Edwards went through positional drills and all the standard physical testing he was unable to complete at the combine because of a right hamstring pull.

Edwards ran his 40-yard dashes in the mid-4.4-second range (teams keep their own stopwatch times, Moore saw a 4.43), and his shuttle run times were equally impressive.

He also did 13 repetitions of the standard 225-pound bench press. “That was awesome,” Appalachian State strength coach Mike Kent said of the lift.

When all that was finished, it was out to the turf of Kidd Brewer Stadium to field punts, something he hadn’t done since high school. And since it was breezy, it was an adjustment.

But for Edwards, the entire process has been about adjusting. In addition to teams asking him to work at positions he hadn’t played, they’re also making him takes snaps from under center, which he hadn’t done since his days growing up in Greenwood, S.C.

As for his de facto hometown team, Edwards admits he wouldn’t mind being drafted by the Panthers. He met with coach John Fox and the offensive coaches at the combine, and will have further discussions with them this week.

While Jacksonville will come to ASU today to audition him as a return man only, he said the Panthers, Colts and Dolphins all want to see him throw and run routes.

Along with the Panthers, representatives from Kansas City, Buffalo, Washington, Detroit, Baltimore, Pittsburgh, Jacksonville, Philadelphia and Cleveland were on hand for Tuesday’s workout.

Wherever Edwards ends up, Moore said he has no doubt he’ll be successful because of his drive. “That’s his makeup; his intensity level, he’d play tight end – or try,” Moore said.

“He’s so, so competitive. You’ve seen him one day in here doing this, I’ve seen him for four years, and there’s been no drop-off. I think that’s his biggest strength, is his competitiveness and his intensity.

“Wherever you put him, he’s going to work hard and be competitive about it. He’s in the game for one thing, and that’s to win, and do well.”