This is probably the hot take-iest ranking of our 25 most important Buffs, but hear us out. Javier Edwards is a very large man who can move well for his size. Last year, Javier Edwards did not play like he was a very large man who could move well for his size. His conditioning really needed to improve, as did his initial push. By the end of the year, Javier was noticeably worn down and got pushed around a bit. All of this does not point to an important player.
But, here he is at #2. The Colorado Buffaloes run a 3-4 hybrid defense. Yes, the pieces may shift around in the secondary and behind the linemen, but generally, CU is going to have two large defensive ends and an even bigger nose tackle right in the middle of the line to occupy blockers. In any 3-4 defense, the most important player is always the nose tackle. If he can hold his own, everyone around him is free to make plays. Jamaal Williams on the 2000’s Chargers and Casey Hampton on the Steelers can show you that. If the nose tackle can actually generate push and disrupt the line of scrimmage, the defense gets immensely better. Think Vince Wilfork.
Edwards is far and away the best option for the Buffs at the nose tackle position. He has lost another 30-40 pounds to get to a much quicker 330 pounds, and his body looks completely different. Here is Javier in his new svelte state:
No conflict. No story. pic.twitter.com/hImTDdf7Lr— Javier Edwards (@javier_edwards9) October 17, 2017
Frankly, this change was needed. He will be counted on the middle of the defense to hold the point of attack and direct traffic to the linebackers. If he can successfully do so this year, with a new coach and a new body, CU’s defense could improve by a touchdown or so. No, I’m not joking. A true, honest to God nose tackle, is invaluable to a 3-4. Josh Tupou proved that. So this #2 ranking is based a lot on what Javier Edwards can be. If he can use his natural quickness at his size (with a new level of conditioning), the senior could easily end up on some Pac-12 lists. If he reverts to last year’s form, the entire defense suffers. Simply put, he needs to be good this year. We think he will be.