The Pittsburgh Steelers have recently concluded their offseason schedule, complete with nine OTA practices and the three-day minicamp, and are currently off for about five weeks before they re-emerge in Latrobe for the start of training camp.
Not much is expected to happen between now and then as far as new goes regarding the team. Ideally, the players will simply be focused on getting in the best possible shape heading for the long haul that begins with training camp and concludes, hopefully, with a deep postseason run.
That means that the roster heading into camp should just about be set, so now during the dead time it’s worth taking a dip back into the positional depth charts to see where we stand following the offseason reports, continuing with the herd of safeties.
Mike Mitchell: Mitchell signed with the Steelers knowing that he wasn’t coming into the most ideal situation, and the Steelers signed Mitchell knowing they weren’t offering him the most ideal situation. So it wasn’t particularly surprising that he turned in a season somewhat less remarkable than the one that got him a big contract. But while he still has some things to clean up in his game, I expect that he will become a key player on defense this year, playing a more active role, while hopefully being fully healthy.
Shamarko Thomas: Entering the starting lineup in his third season after not playing much at all in year two, Thomas knows he has big shoes to fill, but he has been preparing for this opportunity for a long time, and he’ll be given every chance to seize the job and make it his own. There have been positive reports about him this offseason.
Will Allen: An unsurprising re-signing, Allen provides experienced, proven depth behind a pair of starters that are still facing questions about what they have to offer. He can fill in at either spot if necessary or contribute in sub-packages.
Robert Golden: It’s a bit hard to believe that Golden is entering his fourth season already. While he may be out west getting a crash course in playing safety, he definitely needs to show a tangible jump this year if he wants to play defense this year.
Ross Ventrone: Strictly a special teamer more or less during his career, Ventrone became one of the Steelers’ best in the third phase of the game, but they have a lot of depth at safety this year, which may make it more difficult to reserve a roster spot for him.
Gerod Holliman: The rookie dropped to the seventh round despite tying an NCAA record with 14 interceptions because his college tape is riddled with poor tackling technique and a lack of physicality. Only time will tell if the coaching staff—and the prospect of a pay check—can turn that around.
Jordan Dangerfield: Having been around the block a bit, Dangerfield turned some heads last offseason and early in the preseason but failed to make the roster. He briefly spent time on the practice squad, and was re-signed to a futures contract after the season.
Isaiah Lewis: Lewis was said to impress in camp last year with the Bengals, but he lost the numbers game, and will try again with Pittsburgh this year.
Alden Darby: Another player who purportedly came close to making a roster last year and is back again this year to try to get over the hump as a former undrafted free agent.
Ian Wild: Played in the CFL as a linebacker, the Steelers obviously project him as a safety. He’ll have to work on his coverage while leaning on his special teams ability to hope to crack the roster.