Journey From Virginia Tech to the NFL So Far
Of all the Virginia Tech Hokies currently in the NFL, there isn’t a more impactful player as inside linebacker Tremaine Edmunds. After three seasons in the NFL, Edmunds not only looks like one of the consistent players on the team but also in the league.
Edmunds came into Virginia Tech ranked as the 441st overall prospect in the recruiting class of 2015. He was also ranked as the 34th ranked outside linebacker and the 16th best prospect from the state of Virginia. While he was considered a three-star player in the 2015 recruiting class, he would eventually develop into one of the most dominant players in recent history.
As a true freshman, Edmunds played in all 13 games for the Hokies but mostly on special teams. He did start two games in his freshman season as he accounted for 11 total tackles and 2.5 tackles for loss. The following season, Edmunds made a tremendous leap as he not only became a full-time starter but a star for the Hokies. Edmunds accounted for 106 total tackles (second-on-team), 56 solo tackles (first-on-team), 18.5 tackles for loss, 4.5 sacks, one fumble recovery, and one interception. He was named a second-team All-ACC for his stellar performance in his sophomore season.
In his junior season in 2017, Edmunds received much preseason hype for his leadership and his dominant playmaking ability. In the 2017 season, Edmunds accounted for 109 total tackles, 14 tackles for loss, 5.5 sacks, and three forced fumbles. He was named a first-team All-ACC selection. Edmunds was also a finalist for the Butkus Award, which is given the most outstanding linebacker in College Football.
He finished his collegiate career of three years by declaring early for the 2018 NFL Draft after receiving first-round grades. He accumulated 226 total tackles, 122 solo tackles, 35 tackles for loss, and 10 sacks. Edmunds would be considered one of the top linebackers in the 2018 NFL Draft as he was drawing heavy interest from the Buffalo Bills, Green Bay Packers, and the San Francisco 49ers.
The Buffalo Bills traded back into the first round to select the leader of their defense with the 16th overall pick. Edmunds became an instant starter in his rookie season in 2018 as he accounted for 121 total tackles and 12 pass deflections. In each of the past two seasons, Edmunds was a Pro-Bowl selection as he accumulated 234 total tackles, 143 solo tackles, 14 tackles for loss, and 12 pass deflections.
What to Expect from Tremaine Edmunds in 2021
Buffalo had their best season in over two decades this past season as Edmunds was key in helping Buffalo take the AFC East Divisional title this past season for the first time since 1995. The Bills appeared in their first AFC Conference Championship game since the 1993 season. This was due to the massive surge of the offense led by quarterback Josh Allen and new wide receiver Stefon Diggs. The defense was also key in helping Buffalo achieve a fantastic season.
Edmunds comes in as one of the most proven leaders of the defense for the Bills along with cornerback Tre’Davious White. He comes from a highly talented 2018 Draft class that features several Pro-Bowlers already this early in their careers but not a lot of them bear the same role and responsibilities as he does for the Bills.
There is still some serious work to be done for the Bills in the upcoming 2021 NFL season. Last season, the defense was ranked 16th in points allowed per game (23.4), 14th in total yards allowed per game (352.5). They were not as efficient on the defensive side of the ball as some of the other top teams in the league last season. They were efficient on third downs as they only allowed a conversion rate of 39% (76-of-191) from the opposing offense. This is an area where Edmunds excelled throughout the three years at Buffalo.
Edmunds’ rare combination of speed, agility, strength, and high-end motor makes him one of the most efficient run stoppers and blitzing linebackers in the NFL. He also possesses quick footwork and quick reaction to the ball carrier to react to the plays to either chase into the backfield or run to the opposite side of the field.
The Bills added some great young playmakers at the edge rusher position with their first two picks of the 2021 NFL Draft. They will not have to constantly rely on their linebackers like Edmunds and Matt Milano to blitz from the second level of the defense to create pressure on the opposing offense. Buffalo will look to get more consistency from their entire position groups, and they will need solid leadership from Edmunds to do so.
Despite being named for the Pro-Bowl in each of the last two seasons, Edmunds has never received a vote for an All-Pro selection. With the Bills defense expected to get better and the team looking to get back into the AFC Championship Game again, this will be Edmunds’s biggest chance yet for an All-Pro selection.