I devoted a few articles to discussing Pittsburgh Steelers first-round pick Terrell Edmunds last week, first talking about the fact that his ‘official’ promotion to a second-string player was deserved in spite of the fact that his preseason numbers might not reflect the quality of his play.
I then dedicated a film session article to addressing some of the positives and negatives of his most recent performance, which featured a forced fumble on special teams, but also two touchdowns allowed in coverage. That was followed up by an acknowledgement that Pro Football Focus gave him the lowest grade of all rookie first-round picks so far through two preseason games.
But at long last we actually get to talk about Edmunds in terms of results, because the safety made a great play to undercut a route under duress and intercept a pass off of former second-overall pick Marcus Mariota against the Tennessee Titans last night.
He not only displayed great awareness and ability to get to the spot he needed to, but he also got up and turned upfield, getting quite a bit of yardage on the return of the interception, almost looking like an offensive player if not for the reckless abandon in his body language.
“It was nice”, he said of the opportunity to make that first big play on defense of his career in a game setting. “I was staring down the quarterback because my guys was right there on my hip, so I knew I was going to undercut it if the quarterback was going to throw it”.
Edmunds also credited his partner safety who was back there with him for giving him the trust that he would be able to cut the route without giving up the play. “I knew I had Sean Davis over the top, so regardless, I can just go out there and try to make the play”, he said. “I knew I had SD. I trust him that he was going to be back there behind me”.
The rookie started the last preseason game, in fact, in place of Davis, who was missing the game with a minor groin injury. Yesterday, Morgan Burnett missed the game with a minor injury, so he started in place of the veteran safety this time rather than playing with him.
Of course, once you pick off a pass, your job isn’t necessarily done, and Edmunds was ready for that. “After it happened”, he said “it was just time to get up and go, so I was trying to get as many yards as I can for the offense”.
The Steelers’ defense is hungry for playmakers anywhere they can get them, and believe that Edmunds and Davis could be a productive pair of safeties at the back end. The rookie was off to a good start with a forced fumble and interception. Davis led the defense with three interceptions last season.