It’s always nice when a rookie sounds like he’s well ahead of the game, doesn’t it? Even if he ends up not being as far along as he thinks he is in his understanding of how the game of football at the professional level works, it’s still usually an asset to him to have that early insight, provided that he doesn’t use that as an excuse to become slack in his learning.
Terrell Edmunds, the Pittsburgh Steelers’ first-round pick in the 2018 NFL Draft, has said a number of things over the course of the past month that do really hint at somebody who ‘gets’ it, the way T.J. Watt did a year ago, which I talked about yesterday.
There was another prominent example of that in the interview that he gave to reporters last week during OTAs that I thought was worth spelling out, especially in light of what we learned heading into the opening day of minicamp.
As I wrote about recently, fifth-round safety Marcus Allen supposedly missed a good deal of practice time during minicamps while nursing a hamstring injury, the sort of soft-tissue ailment that plagues a lot of rookies as they come out of the draft process, which requires them to train their bodies in a way that is different from preparing for a football season.
Edmunds has had no such issues, and it’s fair to surmise that that can be attributed at least in part to the fact that he already knows what he has to put his body through. He already has an older brother in the NFL (as Watt also does), but the safety out of Virginia Tech also comes from established football lineage. His father, Ferrell Edmunds, is a former Pro Bowl tight end. And you can get they told him what to do.
“I’ve always been like that, trying to get out here and get my extra stretching in, just in case, you know”, he told reporters when he was asked about why he always seems to be among the first players out on the field for every practice.
“I don’t want those soft tissue injuries or anything like that. But yeah, just coming out here stretching, get warm”.
Considering what a common and widespread issue soft-tissue injuries like hamstring strains are around the NFL, this is no small bit of information. A lot of these problems do stem from something as simple as not doing as much stretching as a player should.
Cameron Sutton missed most of his rookie season a year ago dealing with a hamstring injury, as just the latest example. Senquez Golson also ended up missing the team because he couldn’t get over a hamstring injury in camp.
There might be nothing more important for a rookie than being available on the field as much as possible. That is the best way to give yourself the opportunity to play. That is how Watt got on the field right away a year ago, and Sean Davis the year before him.