Now that the 2020 regular season has begun, following a second consecutive season in which they failed to even reach the playoffs, it’s time to take stock of where the Pittsburgh Steelers stand. Specifically where Steelers players stand individually based on what we are seeing over the course of the season as it plays out. Who is making plays? Who is missing them? Who is losing snaps? Who is struggling to stay on the field?
A stock evaluation can take a couple of different approaches and I’ll try to make clear my reasonings. In some cases it will be based on more long-term trends. In other instances it will be a direct response to something that just happened. So we can see a player more than once over the course of the season as we move forward.
Player: S Terrell Edmunds
Stock Value: Up
Reasoning: After going 38 consecutive games without an interception, third-year strong safety Terrell Edmunds picked off Jacksonville Jaguars rookie quarterback Jake Luton twice yesterday, including an impressive tip to himself in the second half, in addition to four tackles.
Terrell Edmunds has never been a fan favorite, and it started the second he was drafted when people didn’t even know his name, or if they did, considered him a mid-round prospect when the Steelers made him their first-round pick in the 2018 NFL Draft.
Taken in the same year that they signed a veteran starter in free agency, Edmunds was supposed to have time to grow and develop, time that was not afforded to him due to injury. He has played in every game of his career, and started all but one.
Each year, he has improved in terms of gaining consistency in his performance, but the key missing ingredient, which is important for a strong safety, is delivering the big play, particularly takeaways. Entering yesterday’s game, he had just two takeaways in his career, one interception and one forced fumble, both of which came during his rookie season.
He doubled that total yesterday, albeit against a rookie backup quarterback, picking off Jake Luton twice against the Jacksonville Jaguars. While the first interception at the end of the first half was a bit of a gift on an overthrow down the field as Luton tried to feed the ball over the head of the linebacker, the second interception was an impressive effort.
Conventional wisdom suggests that turnovers, like sacks, can come in bunches. Success breeds success. Is this Edmunds getting the monkey off his back, opening the door to more splash plays for him in the future?
Considering the fact that the team has to decide on whether or not to pick up his fifth-year option in 2021, that’s a big deal. Especially since they have to pick up Minkah Fitzpatrick’s option, too. If they don’t pick up Edmunds’ option, then 2021 will be the final season under which he would be contracted, so they would have to decide if they could extend him or let him play out the year.