No one lands in more of a diverse spot in ESPN’s rankings of the NFL’s top-10 linebackers than the Buffalo Bills’ Tremaine Edmunds.
The former world-wide leader went and asked anonymous front office personnel for their thoughts when putting together their power ranking. On Edmunds, his results saw him land in the No. 8 overall spot.
But the wide-range of answers to lead him there is really the story.
Things taken into account were a player’s highest rankings and lowest among front office executives that were polled. For the Bill, one of those called him the NFL’s best middle linebacker, No. 1 overall.
On the flip side, another didn’t even rank him among the top-overall at all as “unranked” was his lowest. That means he was not in someone’s top-15.
All of this combined then saw Edmunds actually drop in ESPN’s rankings. Last year he was named the seventh-best insider linebacker, so he fell one spot.
More twists: In the top-seven ahead of Edmunds, we see the Colts’ Darius Leonard at No. 4. He is the only AFC linebacker ahead of Edmunds… so now the Bills technically have the second-best stack linebacker in the conference per ESPN…
A lot to unpack, but here’s the full breakdown via NFL insider Jeremy Fowler:
Highest ranking: 1 | Lowest ranking: Unranked
Age: 23 | Last year’s ranking: 7
Edmunds’ potential is so expansive that this ranking feels too low. He is 6-foot-5 and 250 pounds, with incredible downhill ability and range.
“This guy is tough — very rangy against the pass, good instincts,” an NFC coach said. “Tough for us to deal with.”
Man coverage is not his strength, but Edmunds can use that 4.5-second 40-yard dash speed to diagnose short passes and wash them out. Edmunds covered 4,359 yards when traveling above 12 mph, per Next Gen Stats, the highest total of the group. And at age 23, Edmunds is still ascending.
“In zone defense where he can come downhill, he’s really good,” the coach said.
On the list, Edmunds is the lone player from the AFC East to appear. Overall, the Seahawks’ Bobby Wagner and 49ers’ Fred Warner land in the third and second place spots, respectively, behind the top-ranked Devin White from the Bucs.
While Edmunds does have excellent athletic ability for a person his size, he isn’t perfect. Along with his sub-par coverage skills at times, he also has been known to be too “downhill,” causing him to miss tackles. Pro Football Focus often gets on him for this.
But still, perhaps the best thing about him is his age. The Bills drafted eight players at the 2021 draft… and half of them are still older than Edmunds, who is entering the final year of his rookie contract (excluding his fifth-year option).
He will undoubtedly add to his two Pro Bowls during his career.