Kasim Edebali, a former staple in Boston College‘s defense, is beginning to make a name for himself in Rob Ryan’s unit. Following the 2014 NFL Draft, the New Orleans Saints signed the Hamburg, Germany native as an undrafted free agent.
With all the depth on defense, it was tough to see a scenario where the rookie would make the final cut. However, a solid performance throughout training camp and preseason, followed by some cuts at the linebacker position is making that scenario seem much more realistic.
Through three exhibition games, he leads the Black and Gold with two sacks alongside DE Cam Jordan. His high-motor as a pass rushing defensive end in college seems to have transitioned well into the NFL after finishing his senior year as team captain with 67 tackles (14 for loss), 9.5 sacks, five passes defended and three forced fumbles.
At the age of 18 and speaking limited English, Edebali hopped on a plane from Germany to the United States as part of the USA Football International Student Program. Before redshirting as a freshman at Boston College in 2009, he prepped at Kimball Union Academy, a school in Meridan, New Hampshire. He actually played as a tight end for the German under-19 national team before making the switch to defensive end in America.
Could his decision to play American football instead of Deutsche fussball in a country that is dominated by soccer have an impact on the Saints’ defense in 2014? He possesses intriguing upside as an outside pass rusher — he’s quick, explosive, a strong tackler and is able to locate the ball.
Unfortunately for Edebali, the Saints are loaded inside and out with talent at linebacker, which is where he was assigned to play. However, his position flexibility may end up assisting him in making the final 53-man roster. His potential is endless, and with a majority of the starters likely resting Thursday night against the Baltimore Ravens, the opportunity to stand out from the rest, on defense and on special teams, will be greater than ever.
From Germany to America, the story of Kasim Edebali is something pretty awesome. Playing for a Super Bowl contender in the National Football League in 2014 would just make it that much better.