Braylon Edwards emulates Jerry Rice

Tom Friend from ESPN The Magazine wrote a great column before the draft arguing that Braylon Edwards should be the #1 pick for the 49ers due to his passion and work ethic. Friend discusses Edwards?s amazing work ethic and his desire to emulate the great Jerry Rice:

?Yes, the player’s son should go first overall. People don’t realize that Edwards, besides being an obvious talent, has a freakish work ethic. While he watches TV in the evening, he’ll do flexibility work, or sit-ups or pushups. He refuses to just lie down on the couch.

The only time he’ll sit still, in fact, is when he pops in a video tape of Jerry Rice. His father has compiled an extensive football video library, and Rice is the one player who gives Edwards the chills. He noticed how Rice would run just as hard in practice as in games, and that became Edwards’ approach at Michigan. That’s why he wore Rice’s No. 80 his first two years in Ann Arbor. That’s why sometimes he’d head to the track, after practice, and run extra sprints by himself. That’s why Michigan coach Lloyd Carr says no one is as gung ho as Braylon Edwards.

The kid has been thinking like a pro player for years. In college, he got a massage after every game, which is what the NFL studs do. His dad, who used to play for the Oilers and Lions, introduced him to the Rams’ Torry Holt, and Holt took him out to the field to tutor him. Holt let him have it, too, critiqued his pass patterns, and Edwards wasn’t offended at all. Now, every day, he’s working on hitches and digs and post corners, working on disguising his routes. He’s proud to have Randy Moss’s downfield speed, but also wants the route-running feet of Marvin Harrison.

He’s also the kind of kid who cried after Michigan losses, who played his junior season with a broken finger, but never mentioned a word of it. After games, while wearing a suit and tie, he’d throw passes to little kids in the Michigan parking lot. When the Lions’ M&M Boys, (Matt) Millen and (Steve) Mariucci, interviewed him this spring, they asked if he’d mind going to a team that already had Charles Rogers and Roy Williams. And Edwards answered: ‘No offense to those guys, but I love the game too much, and I’m gonna play.’ This could be the one player in the draft who has it all: Rice skill, Rice heart. The 49ers, 20 years later, should draft the reincarnate.?

Browns fans have to be excited after reading this description. This is exactly the kind of player you want to draft high in the first round. Edwards appears to have that unique combination of exceptional athletic ability, the burning desire to be the best and the willingness work harder than everyone else. If he keeps this up, he will lead by example and be one of the cornerstones of the Savage/Crennel era.

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