Here’s who’s playing well on the Steelers defense:
*DE Cam Heyward, as much as being continuously double-teamed allows.
*Edge rusher T.J. Watt, when he’s available.
*CB Joe Haden, when he’s available.
*S Minkah Fitzpatrick, at least lately.
After that, it depends on your definition of “playing well.”
Watt might be the NFL’s Defensive Player of the Year, but Heyward is the defensive unit’s MVP. One of the most important abilities is availability.
Besides Heyward, the defensive line stinks.
The inside linebackers stink. (Devin Bush absolutely reeks.)
Besides Haden, the cornerbacks stink. (Cam Sutton might be OK.)
But safety Terrell Edmunds doesn’t stink. Many think he does, but they’re wrong.
Edmunds has some anxious moments. He misses some tackles. But he had 10 of those in this past Sunday’s home win over Tennessee.
Edmunds is average. He's a legit starter.
Edmunds is far from great. He hasn’t lived up to his pedigree as a first-round pick (28th overall) in the 2018 NFL draft.
But Pro Football Focus graded Edmunds second-highest among all Steelers in the victory against Tennessee. (I have no idea what those ratings really mean, as exemplified by the fact that Arthur Maulet graded highest.)
The Steelers didn’t pick up Edmunds’ option for next season. It would have paid him $6.7 million. Edmunds doesn’t merit that.
But when Edmunds and Haden (very likely) depart via free agency after this season, it will gut the Steelers’ secondary. Fitzpatrick is good, but he’s one man.
So, appreciate Edmunds while he’s here. He doesn’t stink.
On that Steelers’ defense, that makes him better than many.