The information to begin examining training camp battles is here now that the rosters are set. We will look through the Pittsburgh Steelers roster and predict who will make the team. Also, we will see where the team stands in terms of playing time for the 2016 season and beyond. Reasons to hold onto these lower-end players vary. Some may be able to make a future impact as players come and go via free agency. This edition will look at the free safety position. The Steelers should carry five safeties overall.
Pittsburgh Steelers Strong Safety Projections
The Steelers drafted Sean Davis in the second round this year with the intentions of him grabbing the starting strong safety position. That said, it would be tough to envision him starting in week one. That leaves Golden started two games last year as an emergency safety when Will Allen went down. The hope is that the Steelers do not have to go back to the 34-year old Allen for another year, and a platoon of Davis and Golden could get them by this season.
2. Sean Davis
As mentioned, this job will be Davis’ for the taking. It still may take him a bit to get adjusted to the NFL though. This is a guy who played corner, and both safety positions throughout his college career at Maryland. Therefore he is certainly raw in his technique when it comes to what the Steelers will want him to do.
They did say they saw valued in his ability to play multiple spots though. There is talk he can get work in the slot, and also that he will shadow tight ends such as Rob Gronkowski and Tyler Eifert. Only time will tell if he can reach these expectations but the Steelers have big ones for the second round pick.
Thomas was originally drafted with the intentions that he could take on the starting spot after Troy Polamalu retired. The best he could do in his first three years was earn a spot as a special teamer.
Mike Tomlin has been very open that it is the mental aspects of the game holding Thomas back. He has admitted that at times he tries to do too much. He had failed to beat out Allen and Golden for playing time last year, and the drafting of Davis shows that the Steelers do not have that faith.
Hopefully the low expectations can spark Thomas and slow the game down for him. However, at the moment, if he wants to re-sign this off-season, it will be on a deal that a special teamer would get.
Missed the Cut
If Jordan Dangerfield is able to prove higher special team worth than Thomas there is no reason he cannot beat Thomas there. He failed to do so last year, but he definitely comes in with a chance. The Steelers also invited former Pitt safety Ray Vinopal to training camp on a futures deal. His best case scenario is to make the practice squad this year though.