Back in 2018, the Pittsburgh Steelers surprised pretty much everyone when they selected former Virginia Tech safety Terrell Edmunds in the first round. Edmunds turned out to be a solid player, not at all spectacular and left the team in free agency this offseason.
Bleacher Report did a re-draft of the 2018 NFL draft and instead of Edmunds, they opted for an upgrade at the safety position in the first round.
This time around, Bleacher Report went with former Wake Forest safety Jessie Bates III. His name was the one you heard all of Steeler Nation screaming when Pittsburgh passed on him for Edmunds and then screaming again when the Cincinnati Bengals drafted him instead.
Here is a little of what they had to say about the pick:
The Steelers attempted to upgrade the safety position back in 2018 by grabbing one of the Edmunds twins late in the first round. They succeeded the following year when they made the trade with the Miami Dolphins that brought in Minkah Fitzpatrick.
But had they drafted Jessie Bates III over Terrell Edmunds in 2018, Pittsburgh would have been well on its way to building the best safety duo in the league.
Hindsight being what it is, I’m very grateful this didn’t work out like B/R is projecting. Adding Bates could have put the trade for Minkah Fitzpatrick the following season in jeopardy. No one would take Bates over Fitzpatrick. Looking at that trade and the re-draft, give me offensive tackle Brian O’Neill to come in and start at right tackle.