For the first time in his very young professional career, rookie first-round safety Terrell Edmunds got a taste of what it’s like to run against the first-team defense during Friday’s practice. Presumed starter Morgan Burnett was sidelined with what Pittsburgh Steelers Head Coach Mike Tomlin said was a minor hamstring tweak.
“It was nice out there and good to go in with the veteran guys”, Edmunds told Joe Rutter. “You saw the veterans on offense, too. I went out there and competed”. And he also took his lumps. Rutter writes that he was beaten twice early in Friday’s installment of Seven Shots.
“Wherever they throw me, that’s where I’m going to end up” the rookie continued to say. “Throughout camp, we’ll figure out what is going on. In college, that’s how it was, trying to learn everything and being out there more. If you know what everybody else has been doing, it helps everything else go smoothly”.
Edmunds played a variety of roles over the course of his career at Virginia Tech. used at safety, he also saw time at cornerback and in the dime linebacker role that is a potential fit for him early on in his career until he enters into a starting position.
There is no hurry to anoint him, however. With Burnett brought in to replace Mike Mitchell and Sean Davis taking over the free safety position, the Steelers have the two starters on the back end that they feel comfortable with heading into the 2018 season.
Burnett is not likely to be a long-term fix of course, something the team was aware of when they drafted Edmunds in the first round. The veteran from Green Bay is already entering his ninth season and will be turning 30 during the postseason, should Pittsburgh reach that stage for the fifth consecutive season.
“There’s going to be plenty of opportunity for” discussing what his long-term and more immediate roles will be, Tomlin told reporters after Friday’s practice after being asked about the rookie logging time with the starters. “It’s really too early to paint a picture or draw a conclusion. We’ll just keep rolling that ball out for him”.
It’s worth mentioning that Tomlin wasn’t shy about using Shamarko Thomas, usually as a slot defender, during his rookie season in 2013 as a fourth-round pick. Let’s just say it would be incredibly surprising if Edmunds doesn’t see at least a respectable number of defensive snaps this season, barring injury.
Taking over a starting job might be a bit more complicated, however, unless either Burnett or Davis struggle. Davis worked his way into the starting lineup during his rookie season, but he took a spot away from Robert Golden, who was only named essentially a bridge starter.