I have over the course of the past several seasons turned to a series of articles around this time of year in which I looked to explore the issues and questions facing the Pittsburgh Steelers during the upcoming season and trying to identify the range of possibilities in which any given scenario can end.
I started out with a dual series called The Optimist’s/Pessimist’s Take and switched last season to the Devil’s Advocate series. In an attempt to find a more streamlined solution with a title more suited to the actual endeavor, we are introducing a simple Buy Or Sell segment exploring whether the position statement is likely to be worth investing in as an idea.
The range of topics will be wide, from the specific to the general, exploring broad long-term possibilities to the immediate future of particular players. I will make an argument for why a concept should be bought into as well as one that can be sold, and you can share your thoughts on which is the more compelling case while offering your own.
Topic Statement: Terrell Edmunds will be a full-time, every-down starter by the end of his rookie season.
Given that he is viewed as a player who is capable of playing either strong safety or free safety, and the fact that neither of the two starting safety positions are necessarily etched in stone as long-term answers, first-rounder Terrell Edmunds actually has two different opportunities to enter the starting lineup by the end of year one.
The Steelers also have a recent history of working their young players into the starting lineup now. I don’t think he would begin the season working over Morgan Burnett or Sean Davis, but I see no reason why anyone should be surprised if he is on the field for almost every snap as one of two safeties by the end of the year.
Edmunds is a big, athletic, talented safety who from a physical point of view can do just about anything you want on the field, in coverage, against the run, or as a blitzer. That is a piece that motivates you to get him on the field as much as possible, and where there is motivation, there is action.
Still, no matter how much motivation there might be, the player must still ultimately be ready for the opportunity, unless injuries force him onto the field. Playing as a dimebacker might be as big of a bite as he can chew during his first season.
There’s also the possibility that, you know, Burnett and Davis play well together in the starting lineup. Burnett is a long-time veteran with a proven track record, assuming he can avoid injuries, while Davis has certainly flashed, even if there are important aspects of his game that need to be cleaned up.
There is not the same sort of immediacy at safety as there was over the past few seasons with the Steelers plugging their holes with rookies, even if it took half a season. If necessity is the mother of invention, then Pittsburgh won’t be very creative this year provided that their Plan A is working out.