Bills linebacker Tremaine Edmunds heads into his fourth NFL season still trying to live up to the monster standards he created in his first one, with 121 tackles, seven quarterback hits, 12 passes broken up, two interceptions and 2.0 sacks. All stand today as career highs.
That doesn't mean that he's been chopped liver ever since, however. In fact, Edmunds made the Pro Bowl the following season and came through with 119 tackles and 2.0 sacks again last year.
He and Matt Milano, who was re-signed to a below-market deal this offseason, are the linebackers who remain on the field when the Bills are in the nickel package, which is most of the time.
Thus, their value to the team has been immense.
Edmunds ranks fifth in our projection of the 30 Most Valuable Bills for 2021, presented day-by-day leading up to the start of training camp on Wednesday.
Both represent what is sought in today's NFL linebacker: Someone who can play the pass as well as the run. Edmunds is elite in that area.
For his part, Edmunds knows he needs to be more consistent to cash in with the Bills. But considering he just turned 23 in May, it's safe to say his best football is ahead of him.
"I'm a guy that I always want to get better," Edmunds said. "I'm always willing to grow. I take that approach with everything that I do, so ... I [want to] correct what I messed up on the previous day and come out the next day willing to correct it and take a step forward.
As far as that goes, Pro Football Focus has mixed feelings about Edmunds' future.
On the one hand, it ranks Edmunds as the 24th best linebacker in the league entering the 2021 season, which pretty darn good.
On the other, it ranks the Bills' entire linebacker tandem just 14th of 32. This, despite Milano being ranked 11th, which puts two of the Bills' linebackers among the top 25 individually.
A big part of the reason is that Edmunds is overrated, according to author Sam Monson.
"The Bills would be much higher than this on name recognition, but Tremaine Edmunds has been more hype than overall production thus far. His highlights are spectacular, but so are his lowlights, and he has yet to finish a season with a PFF grade higher than 60.0. He's also missed 57 tackles in three seasons. Matt Milano has been much better, giving up just two touchdowns in coverage in two seasons. A.J. Klein played over 600 snaps last season as Milano dealt with injury, but he recorded only a 46.1 overall PFF grade."
Some may argue that Edmunds actually is underrated.
Barring injury, everybody should have a much clearer picture of Edmunds by the end of the 2021 season.