After trading up to guarantee the reported number one QB on his board, Bills GM Brandon Beane couldn’t resist seeing another top-graded player on his board falling in the first round and packaged his next pick, 22 overall, and a 3rd rounder to move up 6 spots and select LB Tremaine Edmunds from Virginia Tech.
The 6’5″ 253 pound former Hokie is a specimen at the linebacker position, with the size and strength of an old school thumper and the speed (4.54 40 yard dash) and fluidity of the actual smaller coverage LBs that every team is coveting around the league.
Quickly reads the double team, understands the gap run is coming at him, time to spill and fill and boy he does. Look at those feet buzzing!! pic.twitter.com/oBnBo8i8iL
— Cover 1 (@Cover1) February 24, 2018
He can play all three linebacker positions, but with the Bills it’s very likely he will be developed into the next QB of the defense, replacing Preston Brown in the middle.
— Cover 1 (@Cover1) April 30, 2018
At just 19 years old, Edmunds is already physically capable of making an immediate impact as a rookie, and he showed a lot of productivity in his last collegiate season. Pro Football Focus had him with an impressive 13.2 run stop percentage grade (top 10 in the nation among all linebackers), and a very good 19.2 tackling efficiency grade (top 30 in the nation). He also offers upside rushing the passer (12.2 PFF pass rushing grade), showing a lot of versatility in his game.
Obviously, at such young age, Edmunds isn’t a finished product. He tends to bite on play fakes way more than you would expect from your top linebacker. Sometimes his amazing athleticism helps him to recover and still be in position to make the plays, but at the NFL level, playing against better athletes, he will need to improve his play recognition skills drastically. He also isn’t great disengaging from blocks, but with his combo of size, strength and mobility, there’s no reason not to believe he will be able to improve in this area.
If you could go to “create a player” in Madden and draw your ideal LB, he would look a lot like Tremaine Edmunds. He has all you want from a linebacker prospect from the physical standpoint, and with the right coaching, a thing the Bills surely have in McDermott and Leslie Frazier, this kid can become the next great Bills linebacker.