Terrell Edmunds is making plays and saving money for Steelers

PITTSBURGH -- The money pot keeps filling up in the Pittsburgh Steelers' defensive back room, which tracks each miscue during training camp.

Drop an interception? Put money in the pot. Blow a coverage? There's the pot. Corner Joe Haden was overheard telling teammates he had a "high 20" after a near-interception. At the end of the camp, the position uses the money for a group dinner.

First-round safety Terrell Edmunds is glad to report he's keeping most of his change. Catching two interceptions in recent practices kept him off the high 20 list.

"Everyone's had their share, but he's holding up pretty well," cornerback Mike Hilton said.

It's hard to watch Steelers training camp without noticing the presence of Edmunds, whose size, speed and playmaking have been on display at Saint Vincent College.

No need to overhype rookies, and veteran Morgan Burnett is still the favorite to start at strong safety. But Burnett's week-long absence with a hamstring injury has allowed Edmunds -- who's every bit of 6-foot-1 and 220 pounds with a 4.47-second 40 -- to show promise for the future.

Edmunds has twice intercepted Ben Roethlisberger in 11-man work, and on Thursday he broke up multiple passes in drills.

"Everything's coming together," Edmunds said. "Just learning the playbook, learning the plays, going out there really fast."

Several NFL draft analysts considered Edmunds a reach with the 28th overall pick, but coach Mike Tomlin expects first-round pedigree in camp, and he's getting it.

"Yes, and it should, you know,” Tomlin said "He’s a one. Those one characteristics should show up routinely."

The Steelers want big and athletic safeties who can cover like corners and even play some hybrid linebacker if the package manifests during the season. Fifth-round pick Marcus Allen is just as large as Edmunds at 6-2 and 215 pounds.

Edmunds has played strong safety almost exclusively during camp, and he's earning trust from teammates at that spot.

"He's a physical guy, he can run, he can cover," Hilton said. "He's learned the scheme really well so he's a guy you can plug in and everyone feels comfortable with."

Starting with the first team during last week's "seven shots" goal-line work, Edmunds covered tight end Vance McDonald tightly toward the sideline but still gave up the touchdown thanks to a perfectly placed ball by Roethlisberger and nifty footwork from McDonald. He also showed a tendency to grab the receiver's jersey in those first few practices.

He hasn't given up much since. He used Thursday's "seven shots" session to bat down a pass over the middle.

"Hopefully I block more than they catch," Edmunds said.

Haden, the only Pro Bowler on a young secondary, is constantly coaching Edmunds after plays. Haden has lauded Edmunds' willingness to listen, and to tackle.

Now all he has to do is beat Haden in the money pot.

"Don't nobody want to know [who paid the least] because we went to see the totals at the end," Hilton said.