When the Pittsburgh Steelers selected former Hokie Terrell Edmunds in the first round of April’s draft, both Terrell and Tremaine were etched into the history books as the only pair of brothers to be among the top 32 picks in the same draft class. However, while Tremaine was a consensus top-fifteen talent, there were question marks surrounding Pittsburgh’s pick of Terrell Edmunds. Many analysts thought he was overdrafted with the 28th pick overall.
The elder Edmunds brother has responded by showing his playmaking ability in the exhibition games, nabbing an interception against Tennessee’s Marcus Mariota in the team’s third preseason fixture. This included a 29-yard return after the pick to set the offense up with great field position.
In the Steelers’ second preseason game, Edmunds nearly intercepted Aaron Rodgers but unfortunately could stay inside the white chalk at the back of the end zone. Later that drive, Rodgers found Jimmy Graham for a touchdown with the former Hokie in coverage, showing that Edumnds is still a rookie.
While it is still premature to say Edmunds will live up to his first-round draft status, he looks to have all the tools necessary to be successful. His instincts, ball skills, and closing speed seem to be translating to the next level, and Hokie fans know he has a lunch pail mentality with his work ethic.
While making plays on the ball garners headlines and fills up the stat sheet, Terrell can set himself apart with his versatility. Bud Foster lined Edmunds up in a multitude of positions on defense, which has become an imperative skill for safeties in the NFL. Players at that position now must to be quick enough to match up against receivers and tight ends in man coverage, rangy enough to play in the post, and strong enough to take on blockers in the run game. Edmunds has experience in all these aspects of the game, which will undoubtedly help him learn the nuances of his position in the NFL.
Edmunds has slowly been working in with the first team defense, which has resulted in chances to make plays against the starters in preseason games. He should have a chance to see the field early in his career, which should be the expectation for most first-round picks. As ESPN’s Jeremy Fowler says, picking Edmunds was no blunder.
Terrell Edmunds, safety, first round: Edmunds’ athleticism, range and mental approach has Pittsburgh seeking creative ways to get him on the field. No one who’s watched camp thinks the Steelers made a mistake drafting Edmunds No. 28 overall.
Defensive Coordinator Keith Butler has thrown more caution into the wind regarding Edmunds’ status with the starters, but was still positive about the rookie safety’s development per Mark Kaboly of The Athletic.
“I think he can do a lot of things, but we just don’t want him to do a lot of things right now,” Butler said. “It’s not like he’s dumb because he’s not dumb at all. It’s just that we want for him to get a feel for different speeds. It’s a whole different game from college to the daggum NFL.”
“He provides a lot of versatility,” defensive captain Cam Heyward said. “He’s getting better every day whether it’s technique or more talkative. The kid wants to work, and he’s getting opportunities to.”
Terrell Edmunds’ rookie year with the Steelers begins with a matchup against the Cleveland Browns on Sep. 9 in Cleveland.