Heading into training camp, it’s worth taking a look at a few IDP position battles that have yet to be resolved. There is potential production available on the waiver wire depending on who wins each role. And knowing who’s competing in each battle will give you a leg-up when injuries inevitably occur.
Pittsburgh Steelers Safeties
Last season, Mike Mitchell started at FS, while 2nd Round Sophomore Sean Davis started at SS. Pittsburgh let Mitchell walk in Free Agency, so, they entered the season with a hole at FS. To fill that hole, they added three SSs. Morgan Burnett was brought in from Green Bay. The Steelers drafted Terrell Edmunds in the 1st Round and Marcus Allen in the 5th Round.
There have been reports that both Davis and Burnett will try out at FS to replace Mitchell. This will limit their tackle upside moving them away from the line of scrimmage. Expecting Burnett to play 16 games is a fool’s errand. Burnett has only done that twice in eight seasons and not since 2012. With both Davis and Burnett supposedly playing deep, that means Edmunds should be playing close to the line of scrimmage, perhaps even as a sub package LB. The interesting thing is Pittsburgh didn’t really play any Big Nickel last season, so how many snaps will Edmunds be playing?
Five 1st Round safeties have been drafted since 2015 (zero in 2015, two in 2016, and three in 2017). Of these safeties, Jamal Adams was the only one to play 16 games as a rookie, so to simplify things, these are primarily projections. If all five had played 16 games, they would’ve played an average of 975 snaps their rookie season. So Edmunds should see the field plenty his rookie season.
P.S. I think I just figured out my next fun article idea…
As a 5th Rounder, Allen is likely ticketed for a special teams role this season. But continue to keep an eye on him. Pittsburgh Steelers fan and Draft aficionado, Jon Ledyard, think Allen could end up at ILB. The ILB corps could certainly use a little help. Without Ryan Shazier, Pittsburgh is looking at a trio of Vince Williams, Tyler Matakevich, and the recently added Jon Bostic. Somewhat surprisingly, Matakevich has been running with the 1st team defense over Bostic according to ESPN.com. Williams didn’t top 90% of snaps in any game last year so none of the three may play 100% of snaps.