CAPACCIO: Athletic and versatile Edmunds could start right away at MLB

The young linebacker is only 19-years-old

Sal Capaccio
April 27, 2018 - 1:14 am

Photo: Jasen Vinlove - USA TODAY Sports

Tremaine Edmunds is just 19-years-old, but here is about to take over the middle of the Buffalo Bills defense. Talk about growing up on the fly.

The Bills made the Virginia Tech linebacker their second first round choice Thursday night when they took him with the No. 16 overall pick in the 2018 NFL Draft after trading up from the 22nd spot.

After losing middle linebacker, and the league’s leading tackler, Preston Brown to the Cincinnati Bengals via free agency, the Bills had a gaping hole in the middle of their defense. Edmunds will most likely be counted on to fill that roll immediately.

Despite his age, he already has ideal size (6’ 5”, 253-pounds) for a NFL linebacker, and can fit into any spot along the second level. He’s fast and athletic and can cover, even man-to-man against running backs (because he can match their speed) and tight ends (because he can match their size). But his positive traits that jump off the film are the same ones that can cause him problems. For example, Edmunds can be too fast at times, over-running plays or biting on the first thing he sees. On the same note, many believe he’s so big for his age that he hasn’t grown into his body yet and needs time to develop enough strength to be able to take on big blockers at the NFL level. As long as he works hard in the weight room, it won’t be an issue down the road.

What’s really going to help the rookie get through those hurdles a little earlier while he develops is having Star Loutelei in front of him.  

The Bills signed the defensive tackle last month as a free agent from the Carolina Panthers. Lotulelei, who played for Bills head coach McDermott the first three years of his career in Carolina, is a 6’ 3”, 311-pound space eater who keeps offensive linemen occupied and from getting their hands on linebackers behind him. If he can do that for Edmunds, it will allow him to fly from sideline to sideline and make plays.

McDermott said his new linebacker has enough versatility to play inside or outside, and even has the ability to play both off and on the ball.  


 

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