We’re down to the final two players on our countdown of the top ten 25-and-under Buffalo Bills. It’s officially Pro Bowl territory now, and this entry features the cornerstone of the Bills’ defense. He’s a remarkable athlete and an every-down defender, and even though he’s entering his fourth season, he’s younger than half of the Bills rookies!
The list so far
Honorable mentions: A.J. Epenesa, Zack Moss, Spencer Brown, Dawson Knox
Number 10: K Tyler Bass
Number 9: DE Carlos “Boogie” Basham Jr.
Number 8: OG Cody Ford
Number 7: DE Greg “Groot” Rousseau
Number 6: RB Devin Singletary
Number 5: WR Gabriel Davis
Number 4: CB Taron Johnson
Number 3: DT Ed Oliver
Number 2: LB Tremaine Edmunds (turned 23 on May 2)
Tremaine Edmunds exists in a quantum state of overrated and underrated as a player. Bills fans have seen the former first-round pick for three seasons, and there’s no question that he’s critical to the Bills defense. He plays every snap at middle linebacker, using his 6’5” 250-lb frame and 4.54 speed to seal up the second level of the defense. Edmunds is extremely rangy, topping 115 tackles in every year of his career, and he has a decent handle on playmaking, too. In three years, he’s racked up 24 passes defended, three interceptions, two forced fumbles, 5.5 sacks, 19 tackles-for-loss (TFL), and 14 quarterback hits. Those aren’t All-Pro caliber stats, but they’re very, very good.
The league certainly thinks Edmunds is an outstanding player. He’s been named to the Pro Bowl twice in his three years as a pro. The first, in 2019, was as an alternate, and the second, in 2020, was an outright selection.
And yet, Bills fans aren’t satisfied. There’s definitely a feeling that Edmunds isn’t making enough of an impact for the team. Some of it’s the playmaking—when compared with Matt Milano or Jordan Poyer, Edmunds definitely doesn’t cause the same level of havoc. Some of it is the feeling that he hasn’t progressed. He set his career highs for every stat except TFLs in his rookie year, and it would be preferable to see him growing those stats in subsequent seasons. It’s still worth keeping in mind that Edmunds played through a nagging shoulder injury in 2020, which impacted his quality of play for most of the season.
Ultimately, the fact that fans expect more out of Edmunds is a sign of how important he is to this team. He’s being compared against Darius Leonard and Fred Warner, All-Pro talents, because that’s where the bar has been set. And he’s still only 23 years old, entering his fourth season! Last year he was the third-youngest defender with 100 total tackles.
Edmunds will be eligible for this list for two more years, and if nothing drastic changes, he should continue to set the standard for all the other young players on the Bills.