It helps to have a brother already in the league. Just ask T.J. Watt, the Pittsburgh Steelers’ first-round draft pick from a year ago. He made it no secret that he relied heavily upon the wisdom of his two older brothers, both established NFL players, in bracing himself for what to expect during his first NFL offseason, and how to be a professional in general.
Pittsburgh’s latest first-rounder has had the same benefit with an older brother already in the league. He also is the son of a Pro Bowl player in his own right. Safety Terrell Edmunds said that his connections, including his fellow Virginia Tech alumni, had him well-prepared for what to expect so far.
As a result, “it’s been smooth” transitioning into the professional game, he told reporters during OTAs last week. “I’m getting adjusted to the speed, getting adjusted to how the vets play and everything. Just coming out and competing every day, that’s been good”.
And he also said that he was not surprised by the fact that he has been able to have a relatively easy go of it so far, though let’s be honest, he hasn’t even put pads on yet. “They told me that it wasn’t going to be like an insane jump from the previous guys that went to Virginia Tech”, he said. “But it’s definitely been a little bit of a jump from college”.
Asked who specifically had talked to him about making the transition from the NFL to the pros, he named some Virginia Tech alumni. “Kendall Fuller, Isaiah Ford, my brother [Trey Edmunds], I talked to [Tyrod Taylor]. There’s a lot of guys. All the guys try to reach out to you the best way you can, and they just try to stay connected”.
Virginia Tech has had its fair share of history in terms of contributing NFL-ready talent, Edmunds and his two brothers being among the more prominent examples recently. So was it the complexity of their system that has enabled their players to transition well?
“It was kind of complex”, Edmunds said of his college system, “but overall, at Virginia Tech, you’ve just got to come in and you’ve got to be hungry, just like when you come here. You’ve got to be hungry and you’ve got to compete”.
We heard a lot of similar sentiments from Watt last season, and frankly, I found myself wondering at every stage of the offseason when he was finally going to hit that wall and realize that, you know what, this isn’t college anymore.
That moment never came for him, ending up immediately in the starting lineup and making an impact right away. Edmunds is not likely to begin his career as a starter, but he should play, and be able to put himself in a position to start if an injury arises, so one can only hope that things continue to go as smoothly for him as they did for their top pick from a year ago.