Terrell Edmunds plays safety and linebacker in 1st practice with Steelers
Mike Tomlin and Keith Butler put the newest tool in their box to use on the field for the first time Friday. And boy, was it a handy one.
First-round pick Terrell Edmunds’ debut in a team-drill setting on the practice fields at UPMC Rooney Sports Complex featured him playing safety and linebacker.
“I played … a lot of safety (and) a few of the linebacker positions,” Edmunds said Friday after the first rookie minicamp session of the season. “Just going out there competing. Everything was going fast, but things will slow down.”
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The Steelers have talked at length about the versatility Edmunds can bring . Purportedly a safety, Edmunds said he played both traditional safety positions Friday (alternating at strong and free with fifth-round pick Marcus Allen). He also has been said to have NFL skills at linebacker and cornerback, though Edmunds reported he did not take any reps at corner during Day 1.
While it’s not unusual in the NFL for a defensive back to play a “dime linebacker” position in certain packages, that is more of a linebacker in name only. Edmunds potentially could play a hybrid position that is more “linebacker” than “safety.”
What type of linebacker was he drilling as Friday?
“You have to ask Coach Tomlin,” Edmunds said. “I don’t want to give away all the stuff.”
Edmunds and Allen were making the calls for the defense, a possible sign he’s picking up things quickly. Though it should be noted everyone on the field was a rookie or first-year player. Somebody has to make the calls, so why not the highest- drafted defensive players?
“I wouldn’t say that they are trying to overwhelm us,” Edmunds said, “but they definitely are trying to put in some calls because, like the say, ‘It’s a man’s game. It’s not a little boy’s game.’ And you’ve got to be able to pick up the stuff. So they’re putting a lot in for us to retain.”
Edmunds said he doesn’t have a preference where he plays and what’s important is he make plays regardless of how he’s utilized.
Mostly, though, the 21-year-old was happy to be fully part of an organized practice again after missing the latter parts of his junior season and the spring draft-prospect circuit because of shoulder surgery.
“I haven’t played a snap since November,” Edmunds said, “so to come out here competing, strapping up people here and there, it’s nice being able to compete.”
Chris Adamski is a Tribune-Review staff writer. Reach him at [email protected] or via Twitter @C_AdamskiTrib.