As a former first-round draft pick heading into his second season, Pittsburgh Steelers safety Terrell Edmunds has gotten some attention from the fans and media during training camp so far, but probably still not enough, relative to the potential significance of this upcoming year for him, and for his role within the team.
Even the backup quarterbacks have gotten more attention than Edmunds, who in 2019 could potentially emerge as one of the focal points of a resurgent defense full of young talent. He could help be the difference between a championship unit and the one that helped give up lead after lead in the second half of last season.
In spite of the fact that he was only a rookie, he was an instrumental part of that defensive effort, in part due to necessity. The plan was for him to get light work last year, but injuries suffered by presumed starter Morgan Burnett saw the veteran get leapfrogged on the depth chart by the time he got back on the field.
Now Burnett is in Cleveland and Edmunds is ready to enter his first season as an intended full-time starter, equipped with the first-hand experience he gained and lessons learned through last season’s trials and tribulations.
“It was just a long year”, he recalled to Associated Press writer Will Graves of his rookie year. “But it was a long offseason. We don’t want to have that again either so, it’s just something you’ve got to buy into. I’ve bought into it and now we’re here again”.
Edmunds was part of the first Steelers rookie class since Jarvis Jones’ group in 2013 that did not get the opportunity to experience the postseason in their first year in the league. They were in position to secure a first-round bye with six weeks to go, but allowed their control to slip away by losing four of their remaining games, ultimately coming down to the final week of the year.
Edmunds’ rookie issues surely contributed to that to some degree, though of course there was plenty of blame to go all around, up and down the roster and bleeding into the coaching staff. But the 22-year-old is obviously focused on what he can do better, since that is what is in his control.
“I needed to learn how to play and how to communicate with different people because everybody’s communication is a little bit”, he said of one area in which he had to grow. “We speak in the same language. But the way one person might get it delivered to them is a little bit different. I definitely feel comfortable back there with everyone now”.
Both safety positions are important hubs of communication for the defense, with strong safety sometimes playing an even bigger role depending upon where he lines up, so it should go without saying that it’s rather important he feels comfortable in his communication.