Some may find it a bit unorthodox for a National Football League team to rely on a 21-year-old linebacker who’s in his second professional season to be the leader of its defense. However, in Tremaine Edmunds' case, the Buffalo Bills are expecting big things out of him in Year 2, including taking a leadership role on defense.
Despite being the youngest player in the NFL in 2018, Edmunds turned a lot of heads during his rookie campaign. The Virginia Tech product continues to progress on and off the field each day, but the Bills are hoping that Edmunds can establish himself as a true leader this training camp. One veteran teammate of Edmunds believes that No. 49 is more than ready to take that leap.
“He’s more mature beyond his years,” fellow linebacker Lorenzo Alexander said Wednesday on WGR. “He’s 21, so lining up next to him you expect some immaturity. But because of his family’s background, his dad, his mom playing at a high level, competing at a high level, he has his two brothers, the foundation and maturity of a young man is there. He’s just different than some of his peers. He carries himself different, he walks in the room different, and obviously what he looks like talent-wise is just on another level. So when you couple all that together, including him having some experience now, his growth process has just been on a different level than others.”
Edmunds sat down with Howard Simon and Brayton Wilson live at training camp before practice on Thursday morning to talk more about what he learned last year, his progress heading into this season, learning from veterans like Alexander, his family, and more.
Here is some of what he had to say:
“I knew there was going to be a lot of ups and downs. I think the biggest thing was just looking at all the things that went bad and kind of just learning from them. Knowing that things weren’t going to be perfect and knowing that there were things I was going to have to learn from. Mistakes that came up and things that come up each and every game and each and every day, you just have to look at them and learn from it. I’m glad those things came up early. I’m glad was able to go through some of the growing pains that I went through and I’m just trying to get better overall.”
“I had some good moments and also some down moments. My whole thing is I just have to get better overall. That’s always going to be the mindset I have. I’m never going to be the best that I can be, there’s always going to be something I can get better with. So I just have to have that approach towards everything and simply get better.”
“It starts with me, man. I have to do my part first and then have the other guys follow. That’s why I say it starts with me. I have to set that example. I have to show the guys how I work and things like that. I just have to take it one step at a time and everything will take care of itself.”
“I’m still learning now. I don’t know everything right now. Things come up every day and I’m still trying to learn from it so I can play a step faster the next day. I’m just trying to get better every day, play a step faster, and just develop my game more.”
“We got a lot of guys on that defense that are still helping me, but Lorenzo has been in the linebacker room; and being a veteran, he helps me out a lot. I ask him a lot of questions and he always answers all the questions I ask. I can’t thank him enough.”
You can listen to the entire interview with Edmunds below: