The 2018 Buffalo Bills will have at least one thing in common with the 2013 vintage—they will start a rookie middle linebacker once the season opens. In 2013, Kiko Alonso started all 16 games for the Bills, building a legend for himself that the team converted into future Hall of Fame running back LeSean McCoy in a trade prior to the 2015 NFL season.
In our latest installment of “90 players in 90 days,” we examine the second of Buffalo’s two first-round selections in 2018, a linebacker old enough to be trusted with the keys to an NFL defense, but too young to order an adult beverage in public.
Name: Tremaine Edmunds
Height/Weight: 6’5” 250 lbs.
College: Virginia Tech
Financial situation (per Spotrac): Edmunds signed a four-year contract worth a total of $12,659,544. The contract is fully-guaranteed. His cap hit for the 2018 season is $2,301,735.
2017 Recap: Edmunds had a tremendous junior season for the Hokies, accumulating 108 total tackles, 14.5 tackles for loss, 5.5 sacks, and 3 forced fumbles. He added 2 passes defended. For his efforts, he was named first-team all-ACC. Per NFL.com’s prospect grading system, he was the number four overall prospect in the 2018 NFL draft, with only Saquon Barkley, Quenton Nelson, and Bradley Chubb grading higher than Edmunds’ 7.17 mark.
Positional outlook: Edmunds is the clear starter at the middle linebacker position, as he has handled nearly all of the first-team reps since OTAs began in the spring. The Bills added veteran Keenan Robinson two days before camp opened as a veteran body to help alleviate some of the pressure Edmunds will see in his first NFL camp. Tanner Vallejo has also lined up at middle linebacker, but he profiles as more of a special teams player. The other linebackers on Buffalo’s roster are Lorenzo Alexander, Matt Milano, Julian Stanford, Ramon Humber, Corey Thompson, Deon Lacey, and Xavier Woodson-Luster.
2018 Offseason: As mentioned above, Edmunds has been the first-team middle linebacker since he arrived. He has attended all offseason workouts to date.
2018 season outlook: Barring an injury or unexpected struggles, Edmunds will be a three-down middle linebacker for the Bills this season. With his tremendous athleticism, he could be a true game-changer for the franchise on defense.