The Rise (Or Fall) Of Edmunds

Katharine Lotze/Getty Images

By: Jordan DeFigio, @fidgenewton
SteelerNation.com

Bounce-backs, comebacks, revenge tours – this off-season has been ripe with buzz for what the year will look like for the Pittsburgh Steelers. With Ben Roethlisberger returning from injury and several key players coming off of surprisingly disappointing seasons, there are a lot of guys with a lot to prove.

So, where exactly does that leave Steelers’ safety Terrell Edmunds? He hasn’t exactly put up first-round draft pick numbers since they selected him 28th overall in the 2018 NFL Draft. In his two seasons with the team, Edmunds has played all 32 games, supplying 165 total tackles, one sack, and one interception. His presence overall on the field has been at best, lackluster. At worst, he’s been a thorn in the side of the Steelers’ secondary. He has nothing to bounce-back from, since he has yet to bounce-in in the first place.

Edmunds was given the benefit of the doubt in his rookie season; a lot of guys need that grace period to ease into the league. But he was done no favors by the fact that the Steelers acquired Minkah Fitzpatrick in via trade after week 2 during his second season. Fitzpatrick dazzled, and Edmunds, well…disappeared. He was out-played and out-matched. He got confused in coverage, left in the dust, struggled to follow through with tackles, and never quite seemed as prepared as he should have been.

Some would say Edmunds isn’t where he needs to be and he’ll never get there. Others, however, aren’t ready to give up on him just yet.

I’m one of those people (in part because before the 2019 season, most people were ready to call Bud Dupree a bust and dump him off for chump change and spare tires. Dupree sure did change our minds, didn’t he? And the Steelers rewarded him by placing the franchise tag on him and keeping him around).

Edmunds hasn’t played to his potential. But, I think his ceiling is far higher than we’ve yet to see or give him credit for. Just check out this monster hit he lays on Los Angeles Chargers’ running-back Austin Ekeler, knocking the ball out of his hands before he’s even able to establish possession.

Sure, it isn’t the kind of play you see in SportCenter’s Top 10, but it certainly is an effective way to keep momentum on your side. And Edmunds did just that in breaking up a screen pass while the Chargers were inside their own 20. Those are the exact kinds of plays that form the base of any successful player’s career; before they can dazzle, they need to develop that foundation.

Or check out this play from the week 2 game against the Seattle Seahawks.

Nothing flashy here either, but he stays with his man and cleanly breaks up a pass that would’ve given the Seahawks incredible field position.

Of course, as it is with any player, if you search the internet long enough, you’ll find both highlights and lowlights. None of this exactly provides a superstar resume for Edmunds. But what it does provide is evidence that he CAN play in the league. He CAN keep up. He CAN be a worthy partner in the secondary lined up next to Fitzpatrick. As he enters into his third season, I think he knows he has to prove himself. He knows that if he doesn’t elevate his game, the likelihood of the Steelers picking up his fifth-year option (albeit, still two seasons away) goes down. So does the likelihood of him solidifying a spot on any team’s list of starters.

The Steelers undoubtedly have one of the best (if not THE best) defenses in the league. Whether or not he rises to the occasion and becomes worthy of assisting them with that title has yet to be seen. But I think he can do it.

Now we just have to wait and see if he will.

#SteelerNation

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