The Buffalo Bills traded up to the 16th pick in the 2018 draft to select linebacker Tremaine Edmunds from Virginia Tech.
Edmunds was a 20-year-old redshirt sophomore with an unlimited ceiling. In his rookie season, he played and started in 15 of the 16 games and was the play caller for the defense. In those 15 games, Edmunds accumulated 121 tackles, two sacks, and two interceptions.
Looking to see how Edmunds can improve off of his 2018 season cannot come until after looking at other young middle linebackers, such as Myles Jack, Jaylon Smith, and all-pro Luke Kuechly.
In Jack’s rookie year, he played more of a reserve role so it would be better to look at his improvement from year two to three. In 2017, Jack started all 16 games and had 90 tackles and two sacks. In 2018, he (again) started all 16 games and increased his stats to 107 tackles and two-and-a-half sacks, which was an increase in the production of by 20 percent.
With Smith, you have to consider that he was coming off of a knee injury and missed his whole rookie year. So once again, it is better to look at improvements from his second to third year. In 2017, Smith played in all 16 games and had 81 tackles and one sack. In 2018, he increased his production by 50 percent to 121 tackles and four sacks.
Then, there is the best linebacker in football, Luke Kuechly. In 2013, Kuechly started all 16 games and had 166 tackles and two sacks. The next year, he improved to 171 tackles and three sacks. Although that is only an increase in production of only 10%, you need to look at the stats and see how impressive they already were in 2013, and to remember that Keuchly was the Rookie of the Year and already playing at an All-Pro level.
With looking at this sample of data, it is realistic to look for a significant improvement on his stats in year two. Using the median of those numbers and a realistic increase of 26 percent, Edmunds’ 2019 stat line would feature 152 tackles, two-and-a-half sacks, and three interceptions.
Looking at recent trends at the position, and that he is on the field for over 95 percent of the defensive snaps for the Bills, Edmunds can be a focal point of this defense and reinforce their role as one of the best defenses in the league.