No matter who you ask, Buffalo Bills rookie linebacker Tremaine Edmunds is destined for stardom. The team wrapped up their third week of OTAs Thursday and the No. 16 overall pick in the 2018 NFL draft has teammates and coaches alike singing his praises. Edmunds had a stellar career at Virginia Tech, notching 215 tackles, 32.5 tackles for loss, 10 sacks, four forced fumbles and an interception in two seasons as a starter before declaring for the draft.
Just 20-years old, Tremaine Edmunds’ freakish athleticism for his size (6-foot-5, 252-pounds) is undeniable but his leadership is what stands out to defensive coordinator Leslie Frazier, as well as his teammates. Last week, Frazier raved about Edmunds maturity and ability to command respect despite being a rookie.
[perfectpullquote align=”full” bordertop=”false” cite=”” link=”” color=”” class=”” size=””]“Tremaine has done a really good job up to this point,” Frazier said. “It’s a challenge coming in as a rookie, for sure, and then being a middle linebacker, to lead, you’re in a leadership role if you’re the middle linebacker. You’re calling the defense, you’re setting the front, you’re doing a lot of things that are required to lead an entire group, and that’s asking a lot of a rookie.[/perfectpullquote]
Preston Brown was Buffalo’s starting middle linebacker for the previous four seasons but departed via free agency. It’s not common for rookies to step in and make an immediate impact but to Frazier, the Bills’ new ‘MIKE’ shares a similar mindset to Tre’Davious White, the team’s first-round selection in 2017. White was named to the PFWA’s All-Rookie team and made a strong case to win the NFL’s Defensive Rookie of the Year award after a stellar season.
[perfectpullquote align=”full” bordertop=”false” cite=”” link=”” color=”” class=”” size=””]“There are going to be some rookie mistakes along the way, but his ability to gather information and then transfer it to the field has been very similar to what we saw with Tre’Davious,” Frazier said. “You don’t have some of the concerns that you ordinarily would have with most rookies because of it, their ability to be able to process information and then be able to handle it in game situations, or practice situations at this point, is pretty impressive.[/perfectpullquote]
White was giddy about what the near future holds for Edmunds when discussing the young linebacker on NFL Network’s Good Morning Football.
[perfectpullquote align=”full” bordertop=”false” cite=”” link=”” color=”” class=”” size=””]“This is an alpha male here, man,” White said. “Guy goes sideline to sideline, he’s a 4.4 (40-yard-dash) guy. He has tremendous range, athleticism, and his knowledge of the game is next to none. I feel like by training camp, he’s going to be probably one of the best young linebackers in this league.[/perfectpullquote]
But White isn’t the only Bills’ defender who sees Edmunds achieving stardom. Fellow linebacker Lorenzo Alexander has been in the NFL for 12 seasons, so he’s been around quite a few playmakers over the course of his career. In an appearance on One Bills Live, From One Bills Drive, Alexander said that he’d be ‘surprised’ if Edmunds wasn’t an All-Pro within two to three seasons.
“I would be surprised if he’s not an all-pro player in the next two, three years,” Alexander said. “I would be surprised, really. Just his athleticism and the way he’s handling the information, I would be really surprised if he’s not that next great linebacker in his era, like that Luke Kuechly-type.”
While this praise is certainly unique for a rookie, Tremaine Edmunds isn’t letting it get to his head just yet. The 20-year old is grounded, previously pointing to his father, who also has a brother that was taken in the first round, but his father spent several years in the NFL also.
“I’m a professional now so I’ve got to treat it like I’m a professional and I’m enjoying it. Just going back to the room, studying, coming in here with my teammates, just learning from the veteran guys who’ve been here through the system and guys who can help me succeed in the league.”
Edmunds went on to credit his veteran teammates for guiding him as he adjusts to the NFL.
“It’s great, because those guys they always communicate to me out there,” he said. “There could be sometimes when I’m kind of lost out there. Just hearing the communication from the guys has helped me figure it out and I can’t thank them enough.”
Training camp is still several weeks away but after just a handful of practices, Edmunds is exactly the player Buffalo envisioned they would be getting but the budding star seems to prefer his teammates do the talking for him as he lets his play speak up for itself.