Cleveland Browns: Could Tremaine Edmunds be the answer?
By Joel W. Cade
Why should Cleveland be looking at him?
Tremaine Edmunds is the all world linebacker out of Virginia Teach. Most mock drafts have Edmunds falling into a range where the Browns might be able to take him at No. 12 (provided there is a trade with Buffalo).
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Tremaine Edmunds is good at pretty much everything. He plays in a double gap 4-3 style defense. In such a defense, the hope is that the defensive line would be instrumental is making the initial contact with ball carriers allowing the linebackers to finish off the deal.
In the run game Edmunds was a tackling machine. He is a phenomenal open tackler. He closes space on ball carriers well. He plays with excellent discipline within his scheme. He has great vision for where the holes are opening and fills them with a vengeance. He takes excellent pursuit angles toward ball carriers.
One negative in run defense is that he struggled in 2016 to get off of blockers at the second level. However, in 2017 he was more effective in shedding blockers. There is still room for improvement but his skills are developed enough to be effective at the NFL level now.
He excels in the passing game as well.
In coverage, Edmunds is effective in both zone and man coverage. Is he perfect? No, but his skills would be a massive improvement over what the Browns currently trot out there. In zone, he reads the quarterbacks eyes well and floats well in his zone. This means he understands his zone and plays the whole area instead of standing in the middle and waiting for the action to come to him. In man to man, he will often make the play on running backs out of the backfield quite easily. He plays excellent coverage on tight ends in open space.
He could use improvement in rushing the passer. He has the size and athleticism to rush the passer from the edge or the middle. He is at his best when rushing unblocked. However, his pass rush moves need serious work. Like in the run game, he struggles at times to get off blocks. He relies on strength and vision to overcome this lack of technique. He’s effective in doing so, but Edmunds would not be the first or last player to learn the technicalities of pass rushing in the NFL.
To be fair to Edmunds, he did not rush the passer a lot. He served primarily as a run stopper and coverage linebacker at Virginia Tech. He only rushed occasionally.