On a defense full of stars and big-name players, fourth-year safety Terrell Edmunds has quietly developed into a key role player on the vaunted Pittsburgh Steelers’ defense.
Though he had his fifth-year option declined by the Steelers earlier in the offseason, all Edmunds has done is improve each week, playing a vital role in taking away the opponent’s best pass-catching option seemingly every week, especially tight ends, allowing the Steelers to be a bit more creative on the back end.
While it would be understandable for any player in Edmunds’ situation to struggle just a few months after having the team he was drafted by essentially tell him he wasn’t good enough for a fifth year at that junction, Edmunds has gone out and shown just how good he can be in the Steelers’ defense, which has many fans clamoring for him to be extended, providing the Steelers with a terrific safety tandem with Minkah Fitzpatrick for years to come.
That may be a few months down the road at this point, but for the moment, Edmunds is focusing on competing each and every rep, and is embracing facing off against the best the opponent has to offer that week in pass coverage.
“Honestly, I just go out there. I played the [defensive play] call,” Edmunds said to reporters during his Thursday media availability, according to Steelers.com. “I try to go out there and compete with whoever’s in front of me. If it’s a tight end, if it’s a wide receiver — just got to go out there and compete and try to go out there and make plays and not let them catch the ball.”
So far, with the Steelers sitting at 2-3 Edmunds has certainly done his part defensively, helping take away Las Vegas’ Darren Waller, Cincinnati’s CJ Uzomah, Green Bay’s Davante Adams and Denver’s Noah Fant in recent weeks, wiping out any true threat from the tight end position for the time being, allowing the Steelers, defensive coordinator Keith Butler and head coach Mike Tomlin to try and create disguises in the back half of the defense elsewhere.
The Steelers wouldn’t be able to even try and attempt that if Edmunds wasn’t playing as well as he is. This isn’t just a 2021 thing either. No, Edmunds has been pretty darn good dating back to the early portion of the 2020 season, which made the decline of his fifth-year option all that more interesting.
Edmunds will draw another tough assignment Sunday night at Heinz Field against the Seattle Seahawks, who will be without future Hall of Fame quarterback Russell Wilson. The fourth-year safety will likely be tasked with helping take away star third-year receiver DK Metcalf, who gave Edmunds some issues in their previous meeting at Heinz Field in 2019.
He’ll get a shot at redemption this season, especially as the Steelers have shown more trust and given him more responsibilities in coverage the last two seasons as he’s grown more comfortable and confident.
“I guarded Metcalf early in my career, so he’s one of the big name guys,” Edmunds said. “So it was really just making plays out there and just continuing to develop, and when you’re in those positions is go out there, feel comfortable and go out there and help your team.”
We’ll see if Edmunds can continue to show that he’s taken that next step in coverage on Sunday night in primetime against the Seahawks.