The NFL introduced into its fraternity 32 new first-round picks this past April. Some teams had none. Some had more than one. Most had just their natural first-round selection, such as the Pittsburgh Steelers. And according to Pro Football Focus, safety Terrell Edmunds has been the worst-graded in their system of all the first-round picks to date through two preseason games.
Does that mean anything? No, of course not. Their grades are not universal nor objective, nor do two preseason games even begin to tell the story of a player. Still, I did think it was interesting to see that the site had him graded lower than any other rookie first-round pick, though some did not play enough to be graded.
Being given an overall preseason grade to date of 38.3, the site says of Edmunds that he “has played 73 of his team’s 130 snaps so far this preseason and has been a useful asset to the run defense, where he ’s produced one tackle and a defensive stop on his 22 run defense snaps”. In spite of that, he “has yet to find his feet in coverage and has allowed seven receptions for 69 yards and two touchdowns from just eight targets in primary coverage”.
If you do scale it back and take a hard look at his results, you do see the negative grading. In the last preseason game alone, he gave up two touchdowns inside the red zone, missed a tackle at the line of scrimmage on a pass into the flat that allowed a 15-yard gain, and got lost on a pick that allowed a 14-yard gain on a basic crossing pattern. He hasn’t really made any impactful plays yet, either.
Still, I argued that he looks the part when you watch him on the field, even if the results have not been as desired yet. He is learning, including from his mistakes, and improving on the field every day, according to his coaches.
In other words, not that any of you were going to, but I wouldn’t put much of any stock in the grade, and I doubt that the website does either. So far he has earned a run defense grade of 54.8 and a tackling grade of 55.6. He has given up 69 yards on seven receptions in his target area, with 34 coming after the catch.
The Steelers have essentially already been using him in practice and in games as their number three safety, but that move was confirmed in their most recent official depth chart, now seeing him as a second-team participant behind starters Morgan Burnett and Sean Davis. He started against the Packers with Davis nursing an injury.