The Eagles have signed a few lost-cost options on defense that I have spent some time watching as I knew very little about them! Up first is safety Terrell Edmunds who I think has a decent chance of starting for the Eagles this year. Let’s get into it.
Edmunds has never been a playmaker and the stats sort of reflect that. He’s played a lot of snaps over the past 5 years though the numbers point to a reliable option at safety. He spends a lot of his time in the slot and in the box and the film showcases why, as you will see shortly!
+ Consistent in a number of different roles. A sort of jack of all trades, master of none type of player. Although he does have strengths and weaknesses.
+ Good athleticism and speed to swarm to the ball consistently and provide run support from a deep safety position.
He's also very quick to support the run as a deep safety. Here he's dropping back but he shows good acceleration to get to the running back and tackle him in the open field. This is only a 3 yard gain and it's really well blocked which highlights the importance a safety can have pic.twitter.com/ljc9syxxGQ— Jonny Page (@JonnyPage9) March 27, 2023
+ Seems to relish the physical side of the game. Celebrates short yardage stops like you expect a defensive back to celebrate an interception!
This play highlights what he is all about. This is 3rd and short. He takes on the WR's block, then gets to the running back and helps prevent the 1st down. Then he celebrates which I love as it shows he enjoys the physical side of the game a lot. pic.twitter.com/BgmsX4Ine7— Jonny Page (@JonnyPage9) March 27, 2023
+ Very comfortable in the box as an extra run defender. He has the size, instincts, and tackling ability to be a really useful run defender. Almost looks like a linebacker at times.
This is a big time play at the goal line. He reads the shovel pass perfectly and then has the strength to prevent the TE from getting into the end zone. He's at his best in the box or close to the LOS. pic.twitter.com/O0itclqgrk— Jonny Page (@JonnyPage9) March 27, 2023
If he's needed in the box, he will excel as a run defender. He doesn't look like a safety on a play like this, he looks like a linebacker! He reads the TE pulling and shoots the gap quickly and makes the tackle for loss. This is where he really excels. pic.twitter.com/uHgSmDWhuI— Jonny Page (@JonnyPage9) March 27, 2023
Let's end with where he excels though - coming into the box and making plays on the running back. This is the best of his game without a doubt. He will help the Eagles' run defense with his play in the box. pic.twitter.com/gkILw8W7Nw— Jonny Page (@JonnyPage9) March 27, 2023
+ Able to replace a linebacker who is pulled out of the play in the box. He also can replace the linebacker in DIME packages and play the underneath zones closer to the LOS.
Terrell Edmunds thread - number 34. First thing that stands out is position versatility. Here he lines up almost as a DIME linebacker and tackles Burrow in the open field. He is extremely comfortable close to the LOS. pic.twitter.com/0eWlBaow3E— Jonny Page (@JonnyPage9) March 27, 2023
+ Has enough deep speed to prevent completions from going over his head. He had a fantastic rep where he just about managed to stay with Tyreek Hill who is as fast as it gets.
He's not slow either! This is Tyreek Hill who burns the outside CB, Edmunds recognizes the threat and manages to just about keep up with him down the field and even knocks the ball away. The ball is underthrown but this is still an athletically impressive play. pic.twitter.com/mLt4WYmiHY— Jonny Page (@JonnyPage9) March 27, 2023
+ Has experience starting for a number of years now. This isn’t a risky or unreliable player. He’s been an average starter for a while now.
+ Has the size to cover tight ends one-on-one in man coverage. The Steelers trusted him to play a fair bit of man coverage and he won against average tight ends quite consistently.
He has the size to cover tight ends in man to man coverage too. Here he is trusted with the TE who is split out to the bottom of the screen. The Steelers used him on TE's quite a lot in man coverage and he looks pretty comfortable most of the time. pic.twitter.com/DjjhFIvGcz— Jonny Page (@JonnyPage9) March 27, 2023
He is by no means useless in coverage though. I saw some really good reps against average tight ends and he can certainly play man coverage. Here he does a good job on Jonnu Smith who is an athletic (but underwhelming) tight end in one-on-one coverage with a deep over route. pic.twitter.com/U9VQkx3odk— Jonny Page (@JonnyPage9) March 27, 2023
+ Showed the ability to match routes as the deep safety in quarters coverage. This was a huge part of playing safety for the Eagles last year.
However, I enjoyed this rep a lot. He recognizes his safety partner is going to play the deep in which means he has to get across and cover the deep crossing route. The Eagles did a lot of this last year so this is a great sign, assuming we see a lot of quarters still. pic.twitter.com/pYjFenyvkA— Jonny Page (@JonnyPage9) March 27, 2023
- Doesn’t look like a natural deep safety at times to me. He plays very deep and conservative and seems concerned about beating beaten over his head rather than matching what is in front of him.
I preferred him in man at times rather than as a deep safety. I thought he was a bit conservative and would have liked to see him match some routes downfield better. Here he is at the top of the screen and it looks like the CB has the deep route so I'd like him to cover the seam pic.twitter.com/BmPZh8HdKY— Jonny Page (@JonnyPage9) March 27, 2023
- Lacks instincts in zone coverage too often. Sometimes seems unaware of what is going on around him and allows easy completions.
I think he lacks awareness in intermediate zones at times. He doesn't always seem aware of what is going on around him and he can allow easy completions that you would like him to challenge. Here is an example, the Eagles love this route to Goedert and he doesn't seem aware to it pic.twitter.com/XgULg2Polx— Jonny Page (@JonnyPage9) March 27, 2023
Here's another example, he is at the top of the screen and he gets distracted by the seam route and doesn't pick up the out route. He isn't awful in zone but I wouldn't call it a strength and he can be targeted. pic.twitter.com/JK66SujAgm— Jonny Page (@JonnyPage9) March 27, 2023
- Had some mental errors in coverage last year, including this one which you may remember...
He also had a couple of coverage busts which I noticed in the games I watched. This one stands out because you should remember it! I can't be certain, but I'm pretty sure he should have the WR here and he tries to jump the route and gives up a huge touchdown. pic.twitter.com/BiPwGOEoC1— Jonny Page (@JonnyPage9) March 27, 2023
- Had some reps where he lined up at slot cornerback, but he doesn’t look comfortable and doesn’t have the ability to cover wide receivers like some of the top safeties in the league.
He can match up with average tight ends in man coverage, but I don't think you want him in the slot on receivers much. Here he is beat deep and he doesn't look natural in man coverage here at all. He simply doesn't have the coverage ability of someone like CGJ who can play WRs. pic.twitter.com/JxgJxBjw5L— Jonny Page (@JonnyPage9) March 27, 2023
- Got worked in man coverage by some of the outstanding tight ends in the league, such as Mark Andrews and Njoku.
Covering elite tight ends is a hard matchup for any safety, but he struggled at times with Mark Andrews (no surprise) and David Njoku in the Browns game I watched. He can do a job but will get worked by really good tight ends in man coverage. To be honest, most safeties will! pic.twitter.com/KlCSZgVZpq— Jonny Page (@JonnyPage9) March 27, 2023
Last year the Eagles’ defense had a Pro Bowl-level player at nearly every single position. That is unsustainable and the fact is that the Eagles needed to sign some low-cost average starters this year. Edmunds is exactly that. He profiles as an average safety who isn’t going to win you any games with his play-making ability, but he won’t lose you games with backbreaking errors either (hopefully!). He’s a reliable starter who could be replaced pretty easily in the future but will give the Eagles someone who can play meaningful snaps from day one.
I haven’t really dug deep into Sean Desai yet (expect some long pieces on him after the NFL Draft) but I imagine a big part of his job will be improving the Eagles’ run defense. I think Edmunds will play the Marcus Epps role in the Eagles’ defense as Epps was also very useful in the box.
At this point, I expect the Eagles will go into the season with Reed Blankenship and Edmunds as their two starters. I need to watch Blankenship in more detail but I think the Eagles can probably survive with that combination, especially considering how good the cornerbacks are. I would love to see a high pick spent on a safety who could challenge at both safety spots this year too. Edmunds is certainly upgradeable but he should do a professional job for the Eagles
Overall, as I said earlier, you can’t have extremely good players at every position but Edmunds should be able to provide some stability at a position the Eagles need immediate help at. It seems a pretty sensible signing that I’m happy with.