It’s been quite a while since we’ve heard Pittsburgh Steelers defensive coordinator Keith Butler speak publicly, but he’s now finally broken his silence for the first time since the 2016 NFL Draft took place.
In an interview this past week with Missi Matthews of steelers.com, Butler, who is now entering his second season as the team’s defensive coordinator, was asked to talk some about the team’s first two draft picks this year, cornerback Artie Burns and safety Sean Davis.
“Artie has got what we call good length,” said Butler of the Miami product who led the ACC last season with six interceptions. “Not necessarily that he’s 6-4, or anything like that, but he is six-foot tall. He’s got a wingspan of a guy who is 6-3, 6-4, so he’s got long arms and he can intercept the ball and anticipates the ball well.
“He does a great job, I think, of what we call bump and run. He can play off a little bit, he needs to work on that a little bit, a lot of times in colleges nowadays, they don’t have the time to spend on working on technique that you’re going to need to play football in the National Football League, so those things we’re going to have to work on with him.”
As for Davis, who played his college football at Maryland, Butler wasn’t quite as descriptive when it comes to things he needs to work on at the professional level.
“Sean, I think he’s going to be a good player for us,” said Butler. “Again, he played corner this year, but we had seen game film on him playing safety and we kind of project him as a safety for us right now and we feel like he’s going to be a big help for us. He was very productive in college.”
While his overall opinion of the team’s first two draft picks this year really doesn’t matter in the grand scheme of things, Steelers wide receiver Markus Wheaton was asked Thursday evening on SiriusXM NFL Radio to evaluate what he’s seen so far out of both Burns and Davis since the two arrived in Pittsburgh.
“Obviously we haven’t done much being in OTAs and not doing anything in pads, or anything like that, but the speed is there,” said Wheaton. “I feel like they have the right mentality coming in, they’re doing a lot of extra work together. Actually, both of those guys, when practice is over those guys are still out there doing some things on the field whether its ladders, or some gassers, or some footwork drills. So I think right now the sky’s the limit for those guys. I’m excited to see how things go when we get pads on, when we actually play football. But as of now in June, I think they both look great.”
While one obviously wouldn’t expect Wheaton to blast his new teammates when asked about them both during an interview, it does sound like the Steelers wide receiver has at least been impressed with the level off effort that both Burns and Davis have put in so far during the team’s first two weeks of OTA practices.
Wheaton will certainly get to learn more about Burns and Davis once the team puts the pads on at the start of training camp in Latrobe and perhaps he’ll give us an update on the progress the two have made later on in the summer.