From now until the 2018 NFL Draft takes place, we hope to showcase as many prospects as possible and examine both their strengths and weaknesses. Most of these profiles will feature individuals that the Pittsburgh Steelers are likely to have an interest in, while a few others will be top-ranked players. If there is a player you would like us to analyze, let us know in the comments below.
#49 Tremaine Edmunds/LB Virginia Tech – 6’5 236
– Elite athlete who closes and moves sideline to sideline as well as anyone in this class
– High IQ even for his age, diagnoses route concepts and blocking schemes quickly
– Excellent job of defending perimeter runs, takes good angles to the ball, defeats backside cutoffs with speed and balance and capable of ripping through defenders who try to climb
– Reliable tackler and violent player thanks to explosiveness
– Strong change of direction ability, hard for backs to shake him and thrives in zone spot dropping, able to move with QBs eyes and take away intermediate middle throws and can drive on anything shallow
– Versatile and lined up all over the defense, not just contained to the box, on edge and walked out of box against 11 personnel
– No loafs, high effort to the ball
– Incredibly young with plenty of room to grow
– NFL bloodlines
– Lanky frame and needs to fill it out and get stronger
– Struggles to anchor vs base/drive blocks and hand use is underdeveloped to shed, looks to get around than go through
– Want to see more consistency when he reroutes in zone coverage, be more physical
– Not a successful pass rusher on the edge and scheme will have to allow him to generate pressure
– Too young? Physically and mentally undeveloped?
– Two year starter, 29 in total
– Career: 226 tackles (35 for loss) 10 sacks 4 FFs, 1 INT
– 2017: 109 tackles (14 for loss) 5.5 sacks, 3 INTs
– 2017 First Team All-Conference
– Father played in NFL for seven years and made two Pro Bowls, brother plays safety for the Hokies
– 19 years old, won’t turn 20 until after the draft (May 2nd)
You can count on Tremaine Edmunds being one of this draft’s most polarizing players. His blend of youth, athleticism, and playmaking is rare, even in an era where that’s common. Edmunds takes it to another level.
You gotta start with his age. You thought JuJu Smith-Schuster was young? Edmunds will be about six months younger by the time he gets drafted and won’t turn 20 until a couple days after the draft. We’re at Amobi Okoye levels here.
Edmunds is also a terrific athlete. One of the best at the position. Sideline-to-sideline range with effort to boot.
What I love about his game the most is his consistency to take away the perimeter run game. It’s really hard to run outside zone against his blend of athleticism, angles, and football IQ.
Saw him mostly spot drop and play zone but he excelled and rallying to the ball underneath and taking away crossers. Like here.
Biggest issue of his game? Functional strength. Really struggles to work off base blocks when linemen get into his chest. Can’t anchor and doesn’t have the hand use to get off them in time. Two examples. The first, #50 climbing to him.
A scouting report that reads similar to Ryan Shazier. The Steelers love to go youth early in drafts and obviously, Edmunds checks that box. Like I said, the one knock on him is a big one but there is plenty of time to get stronger and improve his hand use. If he does that, you have an All-Pro caliber inside linebacker. Should be on the Steelers’ radar, provided he falls that far.
Projection: Mid-Late Day One
Games Watched: at Boston College (2016), vs Clemson, at Miami (FL), vs Oklahoma State