For all the criticism Terrell Edmunds has taken throughout his career, Teryl Austin has seen continued growth. Not at the lightning-fast pace of someone like Minkah Fitzpatrick but steady steps in the right direction. Austin spoke with reporters following Sunday’s practice and talked about Edmunds’ development.
“As I look at it, this will be my third year with him,” Austin told reporters via the team website. “He’s gotten better every year and I think he’ll continue to improve. He’s got a great work ethic. He’s a great kid. Really studies, works at the game. So I think those plays will come.”
Edmunds was a surprise first round pick in the 2018 NFL Draft. A great athlete, he was a little raw, an underclassman who tested well but was thrown into the fire as a rookie. Veteran Morgan Burnett was hurt early in the season, forcing Edmunds into an every-down role instead of playing in sub-packages like initially planned. Edmunds has been an every-down player ever since and has seen incremental progress.
In 2020, Edmunds turned in his best season. He picked off his first two passes since his rookie year, both coming against the Tennessee Titans. More importantly, his missed tackle rate fell to a career-low 9.2%. Here’s how that number has looked year-by-year.
Last year, Edmunds’ number was considerably lower for much of the season until he suffered a shoulder injury late in the season, hurting his play down the stretch.
The biggest concern in Edmunds’ game has been coverage and making plays on the football. Austin is confident there’s progress there, too.
“You see it starting to come around and he’s getting around the ball more and he’s making more plays. And I think that’s kind of the maturation process with him. And I think he’s stepping up right now. I’m excited for his year.”
Edmunds is in a contract year after the Steelers declined his 5th-year option. If Pittsburgh does decide to bring him back in the offseason, he’ll need to have another career year and increase the number of splash plays. Either way, he’s playing for that important second-contract and should have plenty of motivation to improve.