Friday, April 27, 2018
Steelers bolster depleted secondary
The Pittsburgh Steelers selected Virginia Tech safety Terrell Edmunds with the 28th overall pick in the draft to bolster a secondary in the midst of a serious offseason overhaul.
The Steelers released safeties Mike Mitchell and Rob Golden as well as veteran cornerback William Gay in March. The AFC North champions did sign former Green Bay defensive back Morgan Burnett, but Edmunds gives Pittsburgh a jolt of youth and athleticism.
The 6-foot-1, 217-pound Edmunds had four interceptions in 2016 but was limited to just 10 games last season after undergoing shoulder surgery.
Edmunds was taken a dozen picks after the Buffalo Bills selected his brother Tremaine with the 16th overall selection.
Steelers linebacker Ryan Shazier announced the selection at the draft in Arlington, Texas.
Shazier, who underwent spine stabilization surgery in December after getting hurt in a victory over Cincinnati, slowly walked onto the stage, his first public steps since sustaining the injury.
Shortly before the Steelers took Edmunds, they sent mercurial wide receiver Martavis Bryant to the Oakland Raiders in exchange for a third-round pick.
The 26-year-old Bryant spent four uneven years in Pittsburgh, where his on-field brilliance was often offset by his struggle to stay clean. He scored 17 touchdowns in 36 career games, averaging 15.3 yards per catch.
He also was suspended twice for running afoul of the league’s substance abuse policy and missed all of 2016 while getting his life in order.
The Steelers welcomed Bryant’s return with open arms last season, but he was slow to return to form and lost his spot as the second receiver on the depth chart behind All-Pro Antonio Brown taken by rookie JuJu Smith-Schuster. Bryant demanded a trade early in the year, was deactivated a game by head coach Mike Tomlin after a social media post expressing his frustration.
The 6-foot-4 Bryant was entering the final year of the rookie contract he signed after being taken in the fourth round in 2014 and with a new deal unlikely, Pittsburgh sent him west. It won’t be the last time the Steelers see Bryant. Pittsburgh visits Oakland on Dec. 9.