The offseason seemed to be a period of pretty steady progress for rookie first-round pick Terrell Edmunds, who appears to have already secured the number three safety role for the Pittsburgh Steelers. He got a long look in the preseason opener, so we should take a look at some of the work he put in before tonight’s encore.
Though he logged a lot of snaps, he didn’t make a huge impact. Arguably his most ‘significant’ play made came early in the second quarter when he got in on a stop against the run on first down. With Wendell Smallwood looking for a crease, the rookie filled the lane and stuffed the back after a gain of two yards.
Most of his work throughout the day featured him dropping into coverage, even a surprising amount playing in deeper coverages, but I suppose that’s natural when you’re playing against a team focusing on throwing the ball around because they’re trailing.
So there wasn’t a ton of quality evaluating opportunities, especially with the preseason cameras, but one of the three tackles he made did come in coverage against tight end Dallas Goedert, showing good closing speed after the catch.
As a rookie still learning the defense and coverage concepts, Edmunds is also going to be prone to making a mistake here and there, and on this 22-yard gain, he seems to take responsibility for drifting from his receiver, leaving him wide open for quarterback Joe Callahan to find him for an easy explosive play.
I did like his effort a couple of plays later when he was in coverage defending tight end Richard Rodgers. Callahan actually delivered a decent ball, but high, and Edmunds playing in trail was able to make it difficult, though he didn’t get a hand on it.
I think it’s safe to say at this point, as though there was any doubt, that the Steelers are not banking on Edmunds being a starter right out of the gate at the beginning of his career. He is going to be given the opportunity to develop, beginning his career by cutting his teeth in sub-packages. Limiting his assignments should allow him to be a productive contributor in year one.