When the Pittsburgh Steelers drafted Terrell Edmunds in the first round of the 2018 draft, it was a huge surprise. The safety from Virginia Tech was not a first round talent in the minds of many draft analysts. But the Steelers saw potential. Usually, a raw talent with great upside is not called upon to be an immediate starter. But, due to injuries in Pittsburgh’s secondary, Edmunds has had to start. He has had troubles with missed tackles and blown coverages that have contributed to the poor performance of the Steelers defense.
Terrell Edmunds Struggles to This Point
There have been numerous occasions of Edmunds doing a poor job in coverage, but two that are very obvious. The first of the two came in the Steelers win over the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Mike Evans got past Artie Burns on Edmunds’ deep side of the field. Edmunds was late seeing where he needed to be, and late getting there. As discussed here, the play is as much Burns fault as it was Edmunds. But, if Edmunds gets to the play in time, he could have prevented such a big play.
Ridiculous grab for 51 yards. #GoBucs
?: #PITvsTB on ESPN pic.twitter.com/Oq5S43XJYO
— NFL (@NFL) September 25, 2018
Edmunds’ other horrible display of coverage came in Pittsburgh’s Week Four loss to the Baltimore Ravens. Ravens receiver John Brown ran a very deep post and Edmunds was the only guy in coverage. Edmunds bit hard on Brown’s fake cut to the outside and a guy as fast as Brown just needs that one step. Edmunds couldn’t make up for his mistake and Joe Flacco hit Brown in stride for a 71-yard gain. As the only deep safety, Edmunds has to know that his only job is to not let anyone behind him. And if he already knows that, he has to do a much better job of executing it.
Joe Flacco hits John Brown for a 71-yard gain. pic.twitter.com/cGIma2DICa
— Baltimore Ravens (@Ravens) October 1, 2018
Getting beat down the seam is nothing new to Edmunds. It has been happening consistently throughout the season. Brown’s long gain is just one good example. If Morgan Burnett can’t get healthy, Edmunds will have to do a much better job of covering both receivers and tight ends in the middle of the field.
Edmunds is by no means the only player on the Steelers that missed tackles. It has been an ongoing issue on the team for the past multiple seasons. But, as a safety, Edmunds simply has to be a better tackler in space. There’s no way around it. The biggest knock on Sean Davis last year was that he missed far too many tackles and did a poor job against the run. This year, he has been doing a much better job in those aspects. Edmunds will need to make similar improvements soon.
The first of two bad missed tackles by Edmunds came against the Kansas City Chiefs. On third and goal, Kareem Hunt caught a ball out of the backfield. He had only one guy standing between him and the end zone. Edmunds was the guy, and he didn’t prevent Hunt from getting to the end zone. It’s simply a tackle that Edmunds has to make. He needs to either get Hunt to the ground or at least get him out of bounds and force Kansas City to take the field goal. Instead, Edmunds tried to tackle way too high and Hunt slipped right through his arms.
BACK TO BACK TO BACK TOUCHDOWNS, KANSAS CITY!
— Kansas City Chiefs (@Chiefs) September 16, 2018
Another bad missed tackle of Edmunds came late in Week Four’s loss to the Ravens. At 8:46 of the below video, Edmunds doesn’t use any form while trying to make the tackle. He looks to make the big hit, an issue that has been plaguing the Steelers safeties for years now. Instead of a big hit, Edmunds misses the tackle and gives up an extra seven yards because of it. Headhunting results in plays like this far too often and a good old-fashioned form tackle is a much better and more efficient alternative.
Terrell Edmunds might develop into an athletic, play-making safety. He definitely isn’t there yet, though. If he continues to be called upon to play every defensive snap of every game, there will be more poor performances by the Steelers defense coming in the future. His tackling, coverage skills, and overall play must improve soon, or his snap count must decrease if Pittsburgh wants to see an improved defense.