New Cardinals running back Chase Edmonds meets the media Thursday.
When Joe Moorhead, the coordinator for Fordham's prolific offense, decided to leave to become an assistant at Penn State, Chase Edmonds wanted to also go to Happy Valley.
One large problem: Saquon Barkley was already a star running back there.
"I didn't know what to do. They had '26,' " Edmonds said Thursday, as rookies arrived in Tempe for this weekend's minicamp. "I wanted to follow (Moorhead), but 26 is 26."
Edmonds had a long conversation with Moorhead, who told Fordham's own star runner just to stick around and work, and good things would happen. It was then when Edmonds really started believing the NFL was a possibility – one that came true last month when the Cardinals made Edmonds their fourth-round pick.
An ankle injury robbed the 5-foot-9, 210-pound Edmonds of the kind of senior year he had hoped for after putting up
monster numbers his first three seasons, and he still felt it was an uphill fight through the Scouting combine and private workouts given his small school (and small stature) status.
"To still be in this position," Edmonds said, glancing at the press conference backdrop behind him, "and looking at this Cardinal up here, it's a dream come true."
Besides the Cardinals, only one other team – the Saints – brought Edmonds in for a pre-draft visit. Edmonds connected with the town and the team in short order, particularly running backs coach Kirby Wilson. The Cardinals even considered taking Edmonds with their third-round pick before drafting offensive lineman Mason Cole, before snapping up Edmonds in the next round.
His confidence isn't lacking, and he had the stats to back it up. Edmonds was the Patriot League's all-time leading rusher, with 5,862 yards, and he had a chance to threaten Ron Dayne's Division I record of 7,126 had his ankle not kept him out of four games as a senior and hampered him in others.
In one practice at the East-West Shrine game, "I truly feel I was the best player on that field," he said.
"I don't train the way I train to be second," he said. "I train to be first."
That didn't change the giddiness Edmonds felt Thursday. He said he'd be in the "hip pocket" of running back David Johnson – as long as Johnson doesn't shoo him away – learning as much as he can. Reaching the NFL and getting a signing bonus puts him in position, before anything else, of paying off his sister's student debt – which he planned on making a surprise before
divulging it Thursday.
"She's my angel," Edmonds said of his sibling, who lives in Phoenix.
Where Edmonds fits with the Cardinals (and behind Johnson) is to be determined. He won't get the same opportunities as Barkley – with whom Edmonds ultimately talked football with at the combine and played some Fortnite.
Barkley, as the second overall pick in the draft, comes in with a lot more fanfare than Edmonds. But Edmonds has been watching all the best backs in college football carefully, every Saturday with Fordham quarterback Kevin Anderson after their own game was over.
"There's always that question, can I play?" Edmonds said. "Can I compete? Can I dominate the way I am on the FCS level? Now we are all on an even playing field, so we'll see what's up."