Why did Steelers take Terrell Edmunds in the first round of the 2018 NFL Draft?

The Steelers reached on Terrell Edmunds in the 2018 NFL Draft. Here’s why Pittsburgh was fooled to taking him in the first round.

When the Pittsburgh Steelers were on the clock in the first round of the 2018 NFL Draft, there were a number of players I would have been thoroughly excited about. Lamar Jackson was my 10th overall player in the draft and was still available when the Steelers were selecting at pick 28. In addition, I was a big fan of players like Harold Landry, Taven Byran, and Nick Chubb.

However, I knew the aforementioned players were never truly on Pittsburgh’s radar. One player I did not want them to select in the first round was Virginia Tech safety, Terrell Edmunds. Edmunds was my 81st ranked player in the draft, and the Steelers reached far too high to fill a need at safety.

Upon further evaluation of the selection, it wasn’t hard to see how the Steelers were reeled into making this pick.

Apart from some spotty and inconsistent college tape, Edmunds checks the boxes of everything Mike Tomlin and Kevin Colbert typically look for in their first-round picks. Terrell Edmunds was a young underclassman who turned 21 years old just a few months before the draft, and he had the family bloodlines they covet.

His older brother, Tremaine, likely would have been their favorite selection they could have made in the 2018 draft, but he wound up going 16th overall to Buffalo. Instead, Pittsburgh settled with Terrell.

In addition to youth and bloodlines, Edmunds tested as a phenomenal athlete – something the Steelers have narrowed in on after busting on Jarvis Jones in the first round back in 2013. With a 4.47 40-yard dash, a 41.5” vertical, and a 134” broad jump, Edmunds tested above 97 percent of NFL safeties, according to Three Sigma Athlete.

Edmunds also came with a high-character reputation and a love for the game – something that has no doubt help players make their case to the Steelers in the past.

However, with all of these intangibles, there was far too much risk in taking Edmunds as early as the Steelers did. Many draft analysts thought that, based on tape alone, Edmunds should have been a day-three draft pick. But we knew that his athletic traits would boost him some in the draft. When final big boards were locked in, most believed that Edmunds would be a second or third-round draft choice based on his upside. That obviously didn’t happen.

It was a pick where, at the time, I thought it was a bad decision, and I still stand by that. The Steelers got so focused on the ‘here and now’ and what position they needed to fill that they ignored some of the best players in the draft who were still available.

Next:

Terrell Edmunds is still a very young football player, but his second year was worse than his first. If he doesn’t turn things around quickly, fans will start to pencil his name next to players like Jarvis Jones and Artie Burns as some of the worst busts of the 2000s for the Pittsburgh Steelers.

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