Buffalo Bills General Manager Brandon Beane was aggressive in filling the team’s two biggest needs Thursday night during the first round of the NFL Draft, trading up twice to land Wyoming’s Josh Allen and then Virginia Tech’s Tremaine Edmunds.
"They got the biggest quarterback, and now they just got the biggest linebacker," draft analyst Daniel Jeremiah said on the NFL Network TV broadcast.
To get in position for Edmunds, the Bills traded the No. 22 selection in the first round and the first pick of the third round, No. 65 overall, to Baltimore for the 16th overall pick and a fifth-rounder, No. 154.
Edmunds doesn't turn 20 until next week. He is the first teenager drafted since Amobi Okoye was selected at No. 10 overall in 2007 by the Houston Texans, according to ESPN research.
"I've always been a mature guy," he said. "Yes, I'm a young guy, but I'm mature in my head ... so I'll be good."
The Bills used one of their official pre-draft visits on Edmunds, which coach Sean McDermott said gave the team a chance to learn more about his mental makeup for the game considering he is so young.
“It’s a little bit unusual that he is 19. I mean, you don’t find that every year,” the coach said. “That type of athlete, at that age.”
Edmunds also showed his football acumen during his meeting with the Bills at the NFL Scouting Combine.
"We talked ball in a good way," he said. "I'm glad they made the choice. ... I don't think I did anything that really wasn't expected. I think they expected me to come in and talk football and do what I was supposed to do. I think just my communication with football, just gave them (comfort) like, 'yeah, he knows the game.' And you know, I'm here."
A third-team Associated Press All-American, Edmunds tallied 226 career tackles at Virginia Tech, 35 of which went for losses. He led the Hokies with 109 tackles in 2017, including 14 for losses, while adding 5.5 sacks and three forced fumbles.
McDermott did not commit to playing Edmunds at middle linebacker, but that would make sense given the team’s loss of Preston Brown in free agency.
“He’s a versatile athlete,” McDermott said. “He’s got size (6-foot-5, 250 pounds), length. He’s played inside, he’s played outside as well. You know, he’s played on the line of scrimmage, off the line of scrimmage. So some of that flexibility, versatility, whatever word you want to use, is want attracted us to him. … So we were real happy with what we did.”
His brother and Virginia Tech teammate, safety Terrell Edmunds, was drafted by the Steelers with the No. 28 pick. It's the first time in NFL history two brothers have been drafted in the first round of the same NFL Draft.
"We can finally say that we made it," Tremaine Edmunds said.
Older brother Trey, a running back, went undrafted in 2016 and played mostly on special teams for the Saints last season.
Their father, Ferrell, was a 1988 third-round draft pick of the Miami Dolphins and played seven years in the NFL at tight end.
"It mean everything to me," Tremaine Edmunds said on the TV broadcast shortly after being selected.. "I've got a good support system. A lot of family came out, a lot of friends came out. I can't thank them enough. It's a special moment for me, and I know it's a special moment for them so I really appreciate everything."
Edmunds was a finalist for the Butkus Award which is given to the nation’s top linebacker. He was projected by some to be a top-10 pick. He said falling short of that projection did not bother him.
"I'm a guy that's all in," Edmunds said shortly after being selected. "I'm a guy that's going to give 100 percent and a guy that still has stuff to prove. And I can promise you I'm going to play good football."