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Stats: How will Tremaine Edmunds' rookie numbers compare to past NFL first-round picks?

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It’s never easy to predict what could be the final statistical numbers for a running back, wide receiver, tight end or quarterback on offense, though the fantasy gurus make projections every summer. The task is even harder for defensive players, due in part to factors like time on the field, opposing offense they’re facing and scheme.

Tremaine Edmunds had an encouraging debut performance for the Bills, despite a very disappointing result on the scoreboard. He logged seven tackles, a pair of pass breakups, a sack and a forced fumble.

If this was game one on a bad day, what else might Edmunds have in store for Bills fans in his rookie season?

We decided to try and gauge what Edmunds could do in terms of defensive production based on a list of middle linebackers who were also first-round draft choices and started as rookies. The only outlier is Alec Ogletree, who started his career as an outside linebacker before moving inside.

Buffalobills.com stipulated that the player had to start at least 12 games or appear in 14, so as not to skew the numbers too much based on time on the field.

Going back to the 2008 NFL draft, there were 10 middle linebackers whose profiles fit the criteria. Six of them started all 16 games of their rookie season, something Edmunds is expected to do provided he stays healthy.

The overall projection led to the following figures

Table inside Article
Games Starts Tackles Sacks PBUs INT FF TDs
15 15 109 2.0 5.4 1 1.5 0

The tackle figures among the 10 former first-round picks were the numbers that fluctuated the most with Dont’a Hightower on the low end (61 tackles) and Luke Kuechly topping the group (164 tackles). Knowing Edmunds plays in the same exact defensive scheme as Kuechly did his rookie is certainly encouraging, especially knowing both players are three-down linebackers with prominent roles in coverage.

Kuechly had three sacks, eight pass breakups, two interceptions and a forced fumble his rookie year.

Considering the fact that Edmunds, after one game, already has a sack, two pass breakups and a forced fumble, with 15 more to play, the rookie linebacker should be well within reach of the average figures from his NFL predecessors.

Table inside Article
Players Games Starts Tackles Sacks PBUs INT TDs FF
Jerod Mayo - 2008 (NE) 16 16 128 0.0 4 0 0 1
Brian Cushing - 2009 (Hou) 16 16 133 4.0 1 4 0 2
Aaron Curry - 2009 (Sea) 14 12 61 2.0 6 0 0 2
Rolando McClain - 2010 (Oak) 15 15 85 0.5 6 1 0 0
Dont'a Hightower - 2012 (NE) 14 13 60 4.0 3 0 0 0
Luke Kuechly - 2012 (Car) 16 16 164 1.0 8 2 0 0
Alec Ogletree - 2013 (Rams) 16 16 117 1.5 10 1 1 6
CJ Mosley - 2014 (Bal) 16 16 133 3.0 8 2 0 1
Stephone Anthony - 2015 (NO) 16 16 112 1.0 5 1 0 2
Jarrad Davis - 2017 (Det) 14 14 96 2 3 1 0 1

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