Hindsight is 20/20. If we are being honest, all of us have thought, at one time or another, that if I only knew then what I know now, I would have done somethings differently. That is undeniable because we are only human, destined for both success and failure. Looking back often serves no purpose, only leaves us crying over spilt milk. Better to focus on the future and the things we have control over. However, our mistakes may prove to be our greatest life lessons if we learn from them. After all, those who forget the past are bound to repeat it.
The Pittsburgh Steelers seemingly struggle to evaluate defensive talent. Actually that may not be completely fair or accurate. It is probably more accurate to quantify that they have been very hit or miss when selecting first round defensive talent over the last decade. For every clean hit there is a equally impressive swing and miss. For every Cam Heyward, a player worthy of a first round pick, there is a Ziggy Hood. For every TJ Watt and Ryan Shazier, you have a Jarvis Jones and Artie Burns. Then you have a player like Bud Dupree, not a bust by any means, but his performance thus far hasn’t proven worthy of his first round status.
So it was easy to understand the concern of so many Steelers fans when the team surprisingly selected a safety out of Virginia Tech with their first round pick this year. Especially a player that was projected to be a second or even third round selection by many of the draft pundits. But the Steelers had the young man much higher on their draft board, and they were more than happy with their selection. They didn’t feel that they had reached in any way to fill a position of need, ala Bud Dupree three seasons prior. They had done their due diligence this time around as an organization. The countless hours by Colbert, Tomlin, and company spent away from family and friends was about to pay off. They adhered to the same principles they utilized for the 2017 Draft to great success, and it shows.
Terrell Edmunds is already a solid pro, and improving each week. He stated during a bye week interview that the professional game was starting to slow down for him, and it reflects in his on field performance. Forced into the starting lineup sooner than expected due to the lingering groin injury to projected starter Morgan Burnett, Edmunds executed his assignments initially rather cautiously to say the least. An outstanding athlete with impressive playing speed, he appeared to be playing at half speed on most plays. He instead focused on limiting the huge mistakes that so often plague rookie safeties, and worked hard on becoming a reliable contributor.
On the plays where he could quickly diagnose his responsibility, his potential was immediately evident and his arrival sudden. Those instances should only occur more frequently with additional experience. Edmunds has done an admirable job as a starter on a improving defense for a playoff contender sporting a three game winning streak at the moment. Not too shabby for a young man rather new to the position, having spent the majority of his college career moving from position to position out of necessity, all the while sacrificing his development for the betterment of the team. This included playing second fiddle to his younger brother Tremaine, who also ended up being a first rounder. Terrell displayed versatility and humility through it all. His college coaches and teammates spoke glowingly about his character.
The Steelers got great news during the bye week when Burnett was able to return to practice without issue. What would the Steelers do now that their biggest offseason addition had returned to the fold? They did the right thing, they kept the status quo. Why try to fix what isn’t broken? Edmunds and Davis have developed a nice chemistry at this point of the season and the defense appears to be improving weekly. Burnett is actually in the perfect situation for him. He can work his way slowly into the defense and back into shape. Hopefully fewer snaps will keep him fresh and improve his effectiveness, while also decreasing his chances of further injury.
Edmunds is farther along in his development than probably anyone expected at this point of his rookie season. Sure looks like a first round pick to me.