The Pittsburgh Steelers have not exactly been subtle in their intentions of expanding to making greater usage of sub-packages that utilize three safeties on the field at the same time. They have utilized this package heavily in the past with Tyron Carter and Will Allen, and they’ve added four new safeties this offseason that they can all picture in that role.
One of them is first-round draft pick Terrell Edmunds, whom the team is already giving a look in that dime linebacker role during rookie minicamp. He spoke to reporters after practice on Friday and confirmed that the coaching staff had him moving around.
Responding to a question posed by Mike Prisuta, courtesy of a video on the team’s website, he said that he played “a lot of safety” on the day, but added that he did some things at linebacker today. It goes without saying that he would be gearing up to be used as a third safety in that case.
While this isn’t exactly unexpected news, considering that we have projected all along that Edmunds’ first role on defense will probably be as a third safety, and possibly as the dimebacker rather than as the free or strong safety, it is noteworthy that they are starting him out immediately with that versatility.
The Virginia Tech product actually played a number of different roles in college, including as a linebacker, but he effectively lost that role to his younger brother, Tremaine Edmunds, the two of whom became the first siblings to be drafted in the first round of the same draft in NFL history earlier this year.
The 21-year-old also confirmed that he worked at setting the defense, which is something that the Steelers are looking to get out of the safety position this year. Free agent addition Morgan Burnett is a safety who set the defense for the Green Bay Packers a year ago.
“I’m calling” the plays, he told a reporter, noting that fellow rookie safety Marcus Allen also took his turn in that capacity. Both are expected to make the team’s 53-man roster along with Sean Davis and Nat Berhe to make up an almost entirely new five-safety group.
Davis and Burnett are the early projected starters, but the hope is that Edmunds will be able to get himself on the field from day one, and the ability to work at linebacker and to help set the defense would certainly help to speed up that process.
One area in which he didn’t see time on Friday was at cornerback. He was specifically asked if he took any reps there during the first day of rookie minicamp, but he confirmed that he only worked at the two spots. “It was just safety and linebacker”, he said.
One would imagine that Edmunds’ immediate future is entirely in his hands. If he plays well enough over the course of the summer, he should play right away. T.J. Watt proved last year it’s not too far-fetched for a rookie to earn a full-time starting job on defense, either.