As we’ve done in previous years, we’re taking a look at those Pittsburgh Steelers under futures contracts for the 2021 offseason. The ones who spent most if not the entire year on the practice squad and what we can expect from them during training camp (hopefully) into the regular season.
Trey Edmunds/RB – 6’1″ 217 lbs.
You can’t get rid of Trey Edmunds that easily. Practice squad lifers aren’t much of a thing anymore, the Walter Youngs, Scott Paxsons, the guys who just hang around forever and ever. NFL rosters have too much turnover and guys come and guy more than ever before. But Edmunds has shown staying power, on and off the Steelers’ roster since signing with the team at the start of the 2018 season.
At this point, he’s really less of a running back and more of whatever the Steelers need him to be for a particular practice or even a play. Call him an H-Back who can play running back, fullback, tight end, and of course, wear multiple hats on special teams. His tight end role has seem to have grown a bit in recent years and he had one of his better training camp performances in 2021, us writing at the end of the summer:
“Edmunds’ value is in his versatility and ability to wear whatever hat the team gives him. He functioned more like an H-Back than actual running back this camp, some sort of poor man’s David Johnson. He was a backup fullback/wing and did a decent job, leaking out into the flat on boots when defenses got bad with their eyes and left him open. That led him to catching all six of his targets for an impressive-looking 80 yards and one touchdown. And he had similar moments in games. Ball security was an issue though, at least one fumble on just seven camp carries.”
We gave him a respectable C+ grade for his efforts. In a crowded running back room that added Najee Harris, it was no surprise to see Edmunds begin the year – and spend most of it – on the Steelers’ practice squad. He was elevated for two games late in the season as a COVID replacement, logging 18 total special teams snaps in Weeks 16 and 17. Edmunds, however, didn’t log a snap on offense.
Over his five NFL seasons, 2017 through 2021, he’s played just 113 total offensive snaps, 93 of them coming in that injury-ravaged 2019 season when he saw his most extensive time with the Steelers. His current-day role isn’t as a running back but a Swiss Army Knife, a jack-of-all trades, master-of-none who keeps his place because of his versatility. He can play anywhere on the scout team, help out on the coverage and return units, and teams can plug and play him into several spots, allowing his one roster spot to occupy a fistful of roles.
His role won’t ever be different than that, not without several injuries ahead of him, but that will give him staying power to compete for a practice squad spot year-after-year. At some point though, the Steelers figure to move on from him. Practice squaders can stay around for awhile. But they’re not here forever.