Not everyone can live up to the immediate hype of what being a first round pick in the NFL Draft comes with. Some prospects can pick up right where they left off in college, bringing the individual success one had from the college ranks, and providing that same sort of outcome in their NFL career. Others have to wait and gain the much needed experience before it all comes together, and for some, their game never translates to the NFL like scouts once had expected. This is where you hear the term “draft day bust” being thrown around whenever a player doesn’t meet the organization’s expectations.
Although not selected with a high overall pick in the first round, the Pittsburgh Steelers drafted safety Terrell Edmunds out of Virginia Tech University with the 28th overall pick in the 2018 NFL Draft. The selection came as a surprise to many, being that there was not much first round hype surrounding this prospect. Most scouting experts expected Edmunds to be a late 2nd to early 3rd round selection at best. There was a strong upside though, Edmunds was well liked for his agility at his above average size of 6’1 217 lbs, and matched that with how he was known for the ability to play downhill aggressively, being able to help more in the running game than the passing. He was known for “filling in the gaps” as you will.
Prior to this selection, after the 2017 season the Steelers signed veteran free safety, Morgan Burnett in free agency from the Green Bay Packers. The thought behind it being that he would bring the much needed NFL experience to a defense that just seemed to be getting younger & younger by the season. While that was the plan, that was not necessarily the case. Edmunds and Burnett both shared playing time throughout Edmunds’ rookie season, even spending time on the field together at some points. Burnett looked lost, and Edmunds took advantage of that. When the season ended, Edmunds had started 15 of the 16 games and has never looked back. He has been the team’s starting strong safety ever since.
Although it has only been a short three-year span, Edmunds impact on this defense is one that is still left in question. It seems like ever since Pittsburgh acquired safety Minkah Fitzpatrick from the Miami Dolphins, a lot of pressure was taken off of Edmunds, and rightfully so. Fitzpatrick is arguably the best player at his position in the NFL. There is no question Edmunds is reaping the benefits on the opposite side but not just because of Fitzpatrick’s presence. Edmunds did his fair share to put some respect on his name as well.
Edmunds finally seems to have found his ‘home” on this defense as apparent during last season’s campaign. While dealing with a minor injury towards the end of the year, Edmunds started in 12 of the 16 games, playing in all but one of them. He has proved to be solid in the running game, in most part living up to the expectations scouts had coming out of college. It’s been his contributions to the passing game that has definitely been missing since his arrival into the league. This is an area that in 2020, Edmunds improved on immensely. He intercepted two passes last year after having 0 in 2019, and you could tell just by watching games that his “ball-hawk” abilities have increased. His pass coverage skills took a huge leap forward and that is a great sight to see for a player that has one year remaining on his contract.
With the defensive front four that we have, it is essential that our defense adds pieces to the puzzle that are going to help out the passing game more so than the running game. This team is built defensively to stop the run already and the guys that they have on the depth chart right now will continue to do so. Our lack of production/consistency in the secondary, has been this team’s Achilles heel. I am not going to say that Edmunds himself has been the sole reason for it, that’s just simply not true. All I’m trying to say is that while others production went down last year, his went up and with another year for improvement upcoming, is it safe to say that IF Edmunds has another solid year, he could see himself on this defense for years to come?
Do you think Terrell Edmunds has done enough to earn a contract extension? Comment below!