Ever since he was drafted as a first-rounder last year, Terrell Edmunds has been doubted by the Steelers fan base largely because there was a common belief that Edmunds was a reach with players such as Jessie Bates, Justin Reid, and Lamar Jackson on the board when he was taken. Every scouting report said “great athlete, high ceiling, but really, really raw.” Edmunds had an up-and-down rookie year in which he improved the year, slowly, but steadily after being thrust into a starting role early due to Morgan Burnett’s injuries.
Now, flash forward to this year. Edmunds has had an up-and-down year where he has shown some pretty good flashes, but there have been some absolutely maddening plays where he is in position to make a splash play but either does not track the ball and allows a big catch or could make a tackle and whiffs. Consider, then, this game against the Browns as an entire microcosm of Edmunds’ season. He made some very key plays, but there were some absolutely awful plays from him as well.
This is the first gaffe of the day for Edmunds, and like most things for him, the process leading up to the finish is great, but the finish is always bad because of mechanics during the finish. This is a great run fit by Edmunds to fill the C gap here after it was opened by the blocking scheme, but he has to wrap up and make this tackle. The key issue here? He drops his head and eyes and does not see through the tackle. The saying among coaches is “eyes through thighs”, but Edmunds ducks and misses as a result of a spin move. That is a gaffe that ruined a nice run fill.
This one is a mess from the start, however, and it all because Edmunds does not keep his hips disciplined on this route. He gives an outside shade before Jarvis Landry even commits to a direction with his hips and footwork and instead gives Landry the middle of the field completely free because his hips fail to stay disciplined. That takes Edmunds out of this play from making a break on the ball even with a smooth flip of his hips and it is an easy pitch and catch. He does make the open field stick, at least.
On the positive side of things, this is an awesome play by Edmunds. Edmunds flies down into the hole to take away the initial quick cut outside and then stays disciplined and mirrors Hunt’s footwork without getting drawn too close to the line in the line of fire. That allows him to be free and make the initial contact with Hunt in the hole as he wraps him up and holds this to a minimal gain. This is how you come down from the box and make a play in run defense.
This is by far Edmunds’ best play of the day and the most important play he made, too. Hunt is Edmunds’ man anyways on this play and he has great closing speed with a great angle to make sure Hunt has no opportunity to make any type of moves once he catches this football. Then, he does not duck his head and instead sees through the tackle and wraps up Hunt to make a massive open field tackle here. No one was around him, so this is key, especially since it was a key situation.