Bringing back a series I had a lot of fun exploring the last several offseasons. Every player wants to improve, to elevate his game in all areas from one season to the next. Understanding that, we’re going to isolate just one area, one faction of a player’s game. The biggest area for improvement.
Terrell Edmunds – Make (At Least Some) Splash Plays
This is the most obvious recommendation that comes to mind for any player across the roster, making Edmunds an easy place to start for 2020. We laid out the facts clearly after the season ended. Here’s what we wrote in February.
“Using Pro Football Reference’s data, since 1993 – when they began to track forced fumbles – I looked at all safeties with at least 30 starts with two or fewer career takeaways or potential ones, as is the case with forced fumbles.
It’s a staggeringly short list.
Terrell Edmunds – 2018-2019
Michael Ball – 1988-1993″
Edmunds will never be Troy Polamalu, Minkah Fitzpatrick, or anyone close to that. But your defense can’t take the football away 38 times and your starting, every-down strong safety not be apart of any of those. That feels impossible. But it happened.
His ball skills are simply lacking. Edmunds has grown as a tackler and run supporter but he’s at his worst when the football is in the air. From poorly playing the catch point to pass interferences and just lacking the ability to take the ball away, he’s unlikely to ever be a bonafide playmaker.
But he has to do better than the goose eggs he’s been putting up. His focus needs to be on taking the football away. Being more aggressive trying to strip it out. Taking better angles with the ball in the air to pick it off. He has the size, speed, and physicality to make a much bigger impact than what he’s done so far.
He has the benefit of now playing in a star-studded secondary that masks those issues. They were certainly more forgivable in 2019 when Fitzpatrick and company were making things look easy. Edmunds just needed to do his job, wrap up, and play fundamental football. And that could still work in 2020. But that isn’t why the team drafted him in the 1st round. He was taken to do a lot more than just the basics.
And he can get better. He’s still a young guy, 22 years old, heading into his third year. Bud Dupree showed a breakout year can be delayed and to be clear, Edmunds isn’t a bust and he has improved.
Let’s set some tangible goals. In 2020, I want Edmunds to record at least:
– 1 Interception
– 1 Forced Fumble
– 1 Fumble Recovery
That showcases every trait. Ball skills and hands to pick off a pass, physicality and technique/posture to knock the ball out, and ball awareness to scoop up a fumble. 13 safeties, including Fitzpatrick, met that mark in 2019. This is doable and honestly, setting the bar low for a guy as physically gifted, and mentally improving, like Edmunds. If you can’t be a playmaking DB in the NFL today, you can’t be a long-term starter. Simple as that .