The journey toward Super Bowl LII ended far too prematurely for the Pittsburgh Steelers, sending them into offseason mode before we were ready for it. But we are in it now, and are ready to move on, through the Combine, through free agency, through the draft, into OTAs, and beyond.
We have asked and answered a lot of questions over the years and will continue to do so, and at the moment, there seem to be a ton of questions that need answering. A surprise early exit in the postseason will do that to you though, especially when it happens in the way it did.
You can rest assured that we have the questions, and we will be monitoring developments all throughout the offseason process, all the way down to Latrobe. Pending free agents, possible veteran roster cuts, contract extensions, pre-draft visits, pro days, all of it will have its place when the time arises.
Question: Would you have more confidence in Terrell Edmunds or Tyler Matakevich as a full-time, every-down starter in 2018?
By the time the regular season opens, rookie safety Terrell Edmunds and third-year Tyler Matakevich figure to be at least the top backups at their positions. The favorites to start ahead of them are two free agents that signed back in March: Morgan Burnett and Jon Bostic, respectively.
Let’s say, hypothetically, that the Steelers never signed those veterans. Let’s say that they got into the regular season with Edmunds starting at strong (or free) safety and Matakevich starting as inside linebacker (the mack, presumably, though they might also move him to the buck if they trust his coverage less than Vince Williams.
So in this hypothetical scenario, who would you have more confidence in entering the 2018 season that they would be capable of being an effective starter, or at least a player who won’t be too much of a liability to the rest of the defense?
It goes without saying that Edmunds is the more talented of the two, but he is also a rookie, and we know how big communication issues have been in the secondary. It would also force Sean Davis into assuming the role of veteran, in just his third season, before he has really established himself as a quality starter himself.
At the linebacker position, you at least have Vince Williams, who has been in the league for several years now. He had a better first season starting than many would care to admit, but at the very least, you would figure that the pair of Williams and Matakevich would be solid on the communication end.
Matakevich is obviously physically limited, which is far from the ideal pairing with Williams. I suspect this is going to be the main argument being made below. Though while Edmunds has the speed and athleticism, his college tape shows a player who doesn’t yet always know where he’s supposed to be. As a rookie, that could be a bigger problem than Matakevich’s athletic limitations.