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: Lack of stability impeded Terrell Edmunds’ development last season and explains his lack of growth.
Explanation: Sean Davis was the starting free safety until Week Three, but he was barely on the practice or playing field prior to then. Edmunds spent a lot of the offseason lining up across from newcomer Kameron Kelly, but with others as well, including Jordan Dangerfield. Minkah Fitzpatrick was traded for in Week Three and was plugged in immediately, learning the defense on the fly.
I think it goes without saying that this was the case, and is the reason that he didn’t take a more meaningful step forward from year one to year two. Edmunds is a young player himself, and yet he was thrust into a role last season in which he basically had to be the rock for Fitzpatrick as he adjusted to the Steelers’ scheme, covering for the newcomer.
Despite what many seemingly don’t want to believe, Terrell Edmunds is a talented individual and football player. Had he had Fitzpatrick working alongside him all along from the start of last offseason, the duo together would be a lot further along right now.
Unfortunately, given the uncertainty of 2020, it would be premature to say that they can make strides this year working together, because we don’t even know when teams might have the opportunity to get on the practice field.
While it can certainly be argued that the lack of stability had some effect on Edmunds’ development, it would be going too far to use that as the scapegoat for his performance, which was borderline adequate. There were too many plays that he should have made but failed to, including such plays in which he ought to have been able to put himself in range, but simply did not.
Based on what we currently can know, there is no compelling reason to believe that Edmunds will be meaningfully a better player in 2020 than he was in 2019. And I’m certainly not going to lay the blame at the feet of Davis for not being healthy. If Edmunds comes back roughly the same player, we’ll have our answer.