Virginia Tech junior linebacker Tremaine Edmunds rose up the draft boards after the college season ended, as more people found his tape and read into him they were sold. I’ll be honest the same thing happened to me. Then, I saw last week where Daniel Jeremiah mocked Edmunds no. 9 to the 49ers over Roquan Smith. Even while researching him that seemed to be a bit much at the time but the more you look into the guy, you realize it’s entirely possible.
There’s a lot to love about Edmunds, but it starts with his pure size. He is 6’5” and somewhere between 235-250 pounds with a massive bulky frame that he can add more weight to if he needed. The incredible part is the added athleticism and speed someone that size can have. Edmunds possess great speed and agility that people that size shouldn’t have and it all starts with his feet. Edmund’s feet are technically sound and smooth, and he carries his weight very well.
With his size and ability to move, the scariest part is that there’s more to his game. He commonly takes great pursuit angles and is a very technically sound tackler which is a product of his lengthy arms. His instincts often help put him in the right place at the right time and he displays a great patience for a young linebacker who is physically imposing.
Lastly, on top of his large arsenal of linebacker skills, his age/potential and versatility also make him a great prospect. I can’t seem to find a concrete answer on his age, which is strange, but I’ve seen reports that he’ll only turn 20 a week after the draft, and some that say he recently just turned 21. Unless all this info is way off, it’s likely he’ll be one of the younger players out of this draft which after three collegiate seasons says a lot about his upside. He also didn’t stay in one spot during his last season, although he was mostly lined up as an outside linebacker he periodically filled in as an edge rusher. He hasn’t shown a lot of edge rusher traits, but his size and athleticism along with his age means he very well could develop into one if his team come May sees it in him. All these things add up to a pretty soundproof prospect right?
While it’s true that, on the surface there really isn’t much wrong with Edmunds game, there are a couple of potential downsides. While the phrase ‘’technically sound’’ was used twice to describe his game, he’s surprisingly raw in terms of overall play. He’s a jack-of-all-trades, master-of-none except he’s a good deal better than your average “jack.” There are plenty of times where he was simply the biggest and fastest on the field, his reactionary skills commonly put him in the right space but if he can make those tackles when everyone else his much closer to his size, we’ll see. Shedding blocks would be his biggest issue, for all his combined talents it was surprising to see him get locked up by second level blockers but he can be taken out of a play. Zone coverage could be an issue as well; he excelled playing man because again, his size, speed, instincts and athleticism match him up with any college tight end. In the NFL he’ll be playing a lot more zone and I haven’t seen him succeed a lot when doing so.
Edmunds is a pretty rock solid prospect, he owns the things you can’t teach (size, speed and athleticism) as well as some developed abilities (tackling, pursuit angles) while being raw enough to craft into the exact linebacker you want. Athletic linebackers and fast defenses are trendy right now, and Edmunds fits that mold perfectly. His long, lengthy body and arms will disrupt pass lanes, and his instincts and patience helps him diagnose run plays quickly. It’s that crazy upside that’s gotten him so high up draft boards early in the process, but a top-10 pick seems like a stretch at the moment. The Scouting combine now decides his fate; he’s expected to crush it. If he does he could end up around the 10th pick, If he disappoints, he can still expect to be a first round pick, but in the later half.