The Indianapolis Colts have so many possibilities in front of them in the 2018 NFL draft as they sit at the No. 3 overall selection. Trading back is far-and-away the most popular approach for fans as they hope to accrue more selections from a quarterback needy team in order to capitalize on talent with so many positions of need for themselves.
So many mock drafts are sending the Colts Bradley Chubb for their initial pick of the draft, but there are more options a bit further down in the pecking order. One in particular may actually fit a possible change in scheme on the defensive side of the ball, giving them the fit, and the talent that they need amidst the second chapter of the transition in the front office.
Josh McDaniels is, by all accounts, the Colts next head coach and will be bringing in Matt Eberflus to be his defensive coordinator which suggests a possible change to a 4-3 base front for the defense. If the Colts are looking for a do-it-all, pass rushing OLB to fit that system, Tremaine Edmunds could be the perfect grab within the first 40 picks.
The 6-foot-5, 250 pound linebacker has a ton of versatility, he possesses the burst needed to win the edge and uses his body to win with leverage while rushing the passer while also being quite the impressive talent in coverage as well. Edmunds can carry tight ends and running backs across the middle of the field, as well as into the flat, while using his instincts alongside his physical abilities to stand in against slot receivers when called upon.
Perhaps the fun part of the situation, should the Colts grab Edmunds, is that Jabaal Sheard could possibly return to the role he owned when he came into the league as a 4-3 defensive end, which ultimately would put more pass rushers who can stop the run on the field at the same time. Similarly, John Simon would possibly be allowed to move around to an inside role at times giving the Colts some depth there as the games progress.
Additionally, Henry Anderson and some others along the Colts current grouping in the front seven, such as Johnathan Hankins, Al Woods and Grover Stewart to get on the field at the same time. More talent having the ability to play alongside each other within a specific scheme sounds a lot better to me than having to rotate them in for one another.
Also, any other additions to the front seven in the draft or free agency would only bolster this unit. In short, Edmunds allows for a lot of versatility to the Colts defense in general — not just for Edmunds himself.
The consensus on Edmunds isn’t necessarily there, but it’s not because analysts don’t like him, it’s just that some have him significantly higher than others. For example, NFL Network’s Daniel Jeremiah has Edmunds as his third-overall talent in the draft — one above that of Bradley Chubb even — while others like Matt Miller (Bleacher Report) doesn’t even have him in his top-50.
He’s No. 25 on DraftTek’s board, while, both, Mel Kiper and Todd McShay have him mocked in the top-20 of their most recent takes. Something that draws much interest when watching Edmunds’ tape is that he often lines up as an inside linebacker. He is good in that role and, for me, it just advances his versatility for an intuitive defensive coordinator rather than pigeonholing him into one position or another.
Edmunds is good as an inside piece of the front seven, and could be used to create consistent interior pressure in sub-packages, however, his upside is as an edge-rushing, run-stopping coverage outside linebacker in a 4-3 base which allows him to realize his potential much quicker at the next level.
I put together another video breakdown of Edmunds which is mostly just me gushing over his impressive ability to be one of the most well-rounded prospects in this draft, but shows many of his successes within each alignment. While he doesn’t line up as a pure edge rusher as often as he sets up inside, his 202 total tackles, 30.5 tackles for loss and 10 sacks over the past two seasons at Virginia Tech should allow you to understand just how good he could be as a quarterback-hunting edge rusher.
This would allow him Edmunds to showcase his evident talent, and give the Colts another piece as they move towards the future. Enjoy.