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2018 Steelers Draft Grades: Steelers 1st round pick Terrell Edmunds

Pittsburgh surprised us a bit, but was it really all that surprising. Just what is Pittsburgh getting in Terrell Edmunds?

2018 NFL Draft Photo by Tom Pennington/Getty Images

I wasn’t going to be surprised if the Steelers ended up taking Terrell Edmunds;

In the 2nd round.

I’ll be honest when Terrell Edmunds got drafted by the Steelers my reaction was just silence. I wasn’t mad with the pick, I just was really surprised by it being so early. Don’t get me wrong, this was a huge area of need for the Steelers, but I just felt like this was a player that would’ve made more sense in the 2nd round.

I had Terrell with an early 3rd round grade, so this is definitely considered a reach if we were just going based off my board.

Some things I want to mention first about Edmunds that I believe are important.

1. He’s a grade A athlete:

There is denying that he is an absolute physical specimen at the safety position. Not many safeties are built at 6”0, 217 lbs testing the way he did. Does his athletic ability always show up on film though? Not quite and a lot of that goes into my 2nd thing you need to know.

2. He’s raw from a mental processing perspective:

Edmunds isn’t always playing as fast as he can because he’s thinking so much and the biggest reason for that is that he’s played so many different positions that he hasn’t had time to learn one. Edmunds was a CB coming out of high school who converted to play the Rover position for the Tech defense, which is basically a hybrid between a linebacker and safety. They take the place of the nickel defender which is typically the slot CB and they usually line up on the side of the field with the most receivers, usually guarding the TE or the slot receiver.

This is actually a role I could see him playing with the Steelers early on in subpackages, often replacing whoever the buck LB is on the field on obvious passing downs.

Then of course during his junior season, he played more a traditional safety role for the Tech defense where he seemed to struggle covering deep, but a bit of context to keep in mind is that he was struggling badly with a shoulder injury around midway through the season. He was better in coverage a year ago and that thinking is backed up if you look at his PFF grades.

I don’t see the man coverage upside right now though because of how easily he’s fooled by good route runners with how quick he is to take the cheese. That’s a problem that Sean Davis has had and it’s why athletic ability is not always gonna translate to being good in man coverage.

I also think a lot of it had to do with youth too, he was a very young player who hadn’t really gotten to learn one position and was asked to do a lot of the Hokies defense, which gets me to my third thing you need to know about him.

3. Justin Fuente thought he was their best player on defense

The Steelers love strong charactered individuals and Terrell has tremendous football character. Justin Fuente could not stop talking about him:

“I think athletically he’s just different. He’s an incredibly hard worker but I’ve never seen a guy that can’t get tired. He doesn’t. We know about the family, just great people in general but there’s just something different about him,” Fuente added about the middle Edmunds brother, “his stamina, his strength, his work ethic, his intelligence. He’s pretty special. When they go run in the summertime and we go do things and you’re playing games and he’s covering punts and playing safety and covering kickoffs, he’s the fastest guy out there every single time, every single rep, it’s pretty fun to watch. He can do about whatever he wants really. He’s pretty talented.”

This is definitely what keeps me more optimistic about this pick and why I believe regardless of how I grade it, he’ll be a contributor for this defense. There’s going to be a lot of growing pains along the way which is why I’m not a big fan of this pick so early with the amount of ready to play now prospects on the board I had graded higher, but I digress.

Overall Grade: C

This reach is what it is, but there’s upside to this pick in the long term. The short term though is going to be filled with a lot of growing pains and in a defense where they’re already dealing with enough of that, this could limit the Steelers from having enough pieces to finally get over the hump.

I like this pick in the long term, I think he’ll help in subpackages at times but I’m really concerned with the raw mental processing if he’s asked to play a lot early in this defense. I think Pittsburgh picked an outstanding young man with great athletic ability, which I believe keeps his floor at decent level.

Can he develop enough early to help this team more than hurt them when he is on the field?

Only time will tell.......


What do you think of the Steelers 1st round pick Terrell Edmunds?

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