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Bills Today: Edmunds has been one of NFL's best rookies


1 - Edmunds has been one of the NFL's best rookies

A Sean McDermott defense is at its best when it's built around a rangy and athletic middle linebacker. Panthers' linebacker Luke Kuechly broke out as one of the best defenders in the league under McDermott's tutelage.

Buffalo linebacker Tremaine Edmunds is now doing the same.

Edmunds, whom the Bills selected with the 16th overall pick in the 2018 draft, has been impressive through the first four games of his rookie campaign. He's been a defensive playmaker, a player who has seemingly has a nose for the ball. The 20-year-old has recorded 30 tackles, four pass deflections, one sack, and one forced fumble through four games.

Edmunds is starting to earn praise from pundits around the league. In his recent first-round rookie report card, Bleacher Report's Maurice Moton gave Edmunds an A.

Head coach Sean McDermott prepared Tremaine Edmunds for a starting role at middle linebacker in the spring. Thus far, he looks primed to become the heart of Buffalo's defense. The Virginia Tech product leads the unit with 30 combined tackles and four pass breakup. He also has a sack and forced fumble in four starts.

It's telling that Edmunds has played 100 percent of the Bills' defensive snaps. The coaching staff has shown trust in him regardless of the down and distance.

Edmunds was one of just six players to receive an A. Quarterback Josh Allen, Buffalo's other first-round selection in the 2018 draft, received a C+.

2 - Vrabel: Josh Allen is a 'really good leader'

Josh Allen and Mike Vrabel have one thing in common - they're both rookies.

Allen is a rookie quarterback, and a highly touted one at that. Buffalo selected Allen with the seventh overall pick in the 2018 draft, and thus far, he's largely been able to live up to the hype that comes with being a first-round signal caller. Through five games, Allen has completed 53.4 percent of his passes for 666 yards and two scores.

Vrabel is not a rookie on the field, but he is a rookie on the sideline. The Tennessee Titans hired the Texans defensive coordinator in the offseason, giving the former Pro Bowl linebacker his first head coaching job.

The two rookies will face off against each other in Week 5 when the Bills host the Titans at New Era Field. Vrabel has been impressed with what he has seen from Allen both on and off the field thus far.

"Great talent," Vrabel said. "I think he's a really good leader, it seems like, just watching him at the Combine. We weren't scouting quarterbacks but, talked to him, watched him, observed him. Unbelievable talent. Athletic, strong. Good play strength. I think he's got all the tools that you'd want in a starting quarterback."

3 - Siran Neal reflects on first career sack

Siran Neal played in just three percent of Buffalo's defensive snaps in Week 4. That didn't stop him from making an impact.

Neal recorded his first career sack in the contest, taking down Packers' quarterback Aaron Rodgers late in the second quarter. Getting the first sack of his career was a joyous experience for the rookie.

"It felt wonderful," Neal said. "Just coming off the bench and just do my job, and for it to be the first play in and get a sack on a Hall of Fame quarterback, that's big."

Bills head coach Sean McDermott was impressed with the impact that Neal made in a limited sample size.

"Yeah, I think he did a good job in the game and that's the key," McDermott said. "When your number is called and you're not the primary starter and your number is called, you have to be ready. That starts with preparation and what goes on during the week. I was proud of the way he stepped up and executed. He had a key moment in the game and got a sack. That guy is not an easy guy to sack."

With Micah Hyde and Rafael Bush currently on the injury report, Neal may see an increase in playing time this weekend. The versatile safety will be ready to go if his number is called.

"I'm going to prepare like I've always been preparing," Neal said. "I'm always preparing like a starter, because you never know what's going to happen, just like the game happened the other day, a lot of people went down. Had to come in and do my thing and make a play, that's what I'm expected to do."


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