There are certain inalienable truths in the world—statements that are universally true. If blessed with a proper upbringing, we learn these truths at a young age. I readily admit I have been blessed throughout my life, raised and loved by wonderful parents grounded in faith, love, and honor. They lead by example, and I have tried to live up to that example. Though I have often failed, I still remember and value those lessons.
Some words of wisdom I remember quite often: Always look a man in the eyes when you are shaking his hand. Hold the door for a lady and respect your elders. Treat others like would want to be treated. All lessons apparently not still being taught today, but desperately needed.
One particular lesson applies to Steelers Nation and Steelers safety Terrell Edmunds. The old mindset of "Don't cry over spilled milk". It can be worded in many ways. Nobody likes a know-it-all, or a backseat driver. In this case, I guess we would refer to them as a armchair GM. As the saying goes, hindsight is 20/20.
Terrell Edmunds has been behind the 8 ball since he was the surprise selection of the Pittsburgh Steelers in the first round of the 2018 NFL Draft. He has had a bullseye on his back ever since. Truth is, most of the time the criticism from a certain segment of fans has been unfair and unwarranted. They insist on judging him based on who he isn't instead of appreciating everything he is.
Notice I said who he isn't, because it goes beyond what he isn't. For a certain segment of Steelers fans, I fear there is nothing that Edmunds could ever do on the football field to justify his draft position in their eyes. Some fans love to point out certain accomplished players that were still on the board when Edmunds was selected. While the list is quite extensive, some prominent names that continuously pop-up are Lamar Jackson and Darius Leonard.
Personally, I feel the Lamar Jackson idea has no real merit as he was simply not a good fit for the Steelers offense. The Ravens overhauled their offense to fit Jackson's specific skill set. The Steelers were never going to even consider that option as they already had future Hall of Famer Ben Roethlisberger at quarterback. With plenty of holes needing filled on a mediocre defense, the Jackson selection would have made absolutely no sense.
However, the Darius Leonard consideration actually makes perfect sense. The Steelers desperately needed a inside linebacker, and Leonard is presently the best in the business. Leonard would have been an excellent first-round selection, and he would undoubtedly be a top ten selection if there was a draft do over. The problem is this is not the reality of what transpired.
Leonard was a second-round selection because of his small school status. Every team, not just the Steelers, passed on him in the first round including teams also in need of inside linebacker help. If this year's small school selection Alex Highsmith develops into a future standout for the Steelers, many teams will feel like they missed out on a opportunity. It's the nature of the beast and the cost of doing business.
Terrell Edmunds had no control on who selected him, nor when he was picked. All he can do is be the best player he can be, and ball out every time he is on the field. This is exactly what he has done since arriving in the Steel City.
Terrell Edmunds is a solid contributor, by all accounts. He utilizes his superior athleticism to consistently be around the ball, and his speed has helped to reduce the number of big plays against the defense by running down the ball carriers, previously a problem before his arrival.
He needs work on his ball awareness at this stage of his young career, particularly getting his head around in time to make a play on the ball. The good news is Edmunds is still a young man who admirably played multiple positions collegiately at Virginia Tech, willingly sacrificing his own development for the betterment of the team.
This statement apparently sums Edmunds up to a tee. His teammates on the Steelers all love the guy. Minkah Fitzpatrick quickly developed a strong chemistry with Edmunds after his in-season arrival and has talked openly about his excitement for their potential as a dynamic duo.
Similar to the Polamalu/Clark tandem that preceded them, Edmunds has no problem playing second fiddle to the electric Fitzpatrick. Just like he did in college, he will sacrifice personal adulation for the benefit of the team. I know what you are thinking; young, talented, hardworking, team first type of player. What's not to like? Trust me, I am right there with you.
Hopefully this season Edmunds will take the next step in his development and, in the process, help the Steelers defense become the most dominant group in the NFL.
Maybe then all of Steelers Nation will learn to appreciate Edmunds for everything he is, and leave it at that.