Ever since the Pittsburgh Steelers selected former Virginia Tech safety Terrell Edmunds in the first-round of the 2018 NFL Draft, the common theme that has been used to describe him as a player has been his position versatility. During a Monday interview on SiriusXM NFL Radio, Steelers general manager Kevin Colbert was asked to describe what the team liked most about Edmunds that ultimately led to him being selected in the first-round and his response once again centered around the player’s position versatility, in addition to his smarts.
“Well, Terrell, you know the safety position in college football is changing as you guys can see it with the change in the offensive philosophies and how you have to defend them. Some guys are box safeties, some guys play in the post, some guys match up on slots, and when we looked at Terrell, we thought he could do all three,” Colbert said. “And you know, there’s times within Virginia Tech’s game that he did all three on the same play. be it a motion that changed him from a strong safety alignment to a free safety alignment, to a match up on a slot, and even sometimes as a nickel linebacker, more when he was in his sophomore year.
“So there was a lot of versatility. He certainly has the size and the skill and the speed to play any of those positions, but his intellect also matches his ability. So, when he talked about what he had to do within a different play or scheme or set, we thought that was very truthful and very knowledgeable. And for red shirt junior that was intriguing, you know. And you throw all that together from a football standpoint and then the character of the young man, and the family he comes from, that really put us in an easy pick setting for us.”
Later in the interview, Colbert was asked if there’s a possibility that the Steelers will use a lot more three safety packages moving forward now that the team has drafted Edmunds to go along with the third-year safety Sean Davis and veteran safety Morgan Burnett, who the team signed as an unrestricted free agent back in March.
“Sure, that was a big attraction with us with Morgan [Burnett] and honestly, Terrell and Morgan have a lot of the same background,” Colbert said. “Obviously, one’s a lot younger than the other, but Morgan certainly can be a part of this, as is Sean Davis, our other safety. You know, Sean, he can move like a free safety, he can think like a free safety, but he can play strong safety.
“And you know in this league that teams, if they think that a player’s better in the box than he is in a post, well, they’ll try with their formations and their offensive groups, may force you to make that player rotate back. So, really, the strong and free within a given play in today’s NFL, that can change, and the offenses work to get people out of position and out of match ups. So, Morgan, Sean and Terrell, they all have the abilities to switch in and out and maybe even line up as a linebacker.”
We’ve talked and written quite a bit about the Steelers possibly using a lot of three safety looks in 2018 now that Edmunds has been drafted and we’ll now sit and wait to see if indeed that’s ultimately the case and who lines up where and when. The Steelers have done a good job at getting their last few first-round draft picks some meaningful snaps during their rookie seasons and it appears as though they’ll be able to do so the same with Edmunds during the 2018 regular season.