The offseason is inevitably a period of projection and speculation, which makes it the ideal time to ponder the hypotheticals that the Pittsburgh Steelers will face over the course of the next year, whether it is addressing free agency, the draft, performance on the field, or some more ephemeral topic.
That is what I will look to address in our Buy or Sell series. In each installment, I will introduce a topic statement and weigh some of the arguments for either buying it (meaning that you agree with it or expect it to be true) or selling it (meaning you disagree with it or expect it to be false).
The range of topics will be intentionally wide, from the general to the specific, from the immediate to that in the far future. And as we all tend to have an opinion on just about everything, I invite you to share your own each morning on the topic statement of the day.
Topic Statement: Terrell Edmunds will be a better player than Sean Davis by the end of his rookie contract.
Explanation: Though he hasn’t necessarily played at a Pro Bowl level, Sean Davis has been a full-time starter roughly by the middle of his rookie season. He has been moved around multiple times over the course of his first three seasons, but in 2019 starts where he began the previous season for the first time. Edmunds is entering his second season after spending almost all of his rookie year as the starting strong safety.
The Steelers didn’t use a first-round pick on Terrell Edmunds because they didn’t think he could be better than Sean Davis. While they do like Davis—to the chagrin of many fans—they saw something beyond in Edmunds that they were excited about, even if few on the outside saw it, at least enough to justify a first-round selection.
Both players have the physicality and athleticism to play either strong or free safety, but Edmunds looks to be the more explosive player of the two, perhaps best exemplified by watching what he does with the ball in his hands after an interception. He is also a cleaner tackler at this point of his career than was Davis.
If you compare their two rookie seasons, though, I don’t think you can really say that Edmunds is ahead of where Davis was at that same point in his career. Though he had to wait a bit to get that starting job, he did play well once he was there. And he did have three interceptions in year two, something Edmunds still has to show he can do.
I think a key part in answering this question for the long-term will come this year, in what Davis does in potentially his final season in Pittsburgh. Playing the same position, with most of the same players around him, this should be the most comfortable by far he has ever been, and hopefully it shows.