Training camp is now upon us, in case you have failed to take notice. The Pittsburgh Steelers reported to Latrobe on July 28, and began practicing the following day in preparation for their first preseason game on August 12, and eventually, for the 2016 regular season in April.
Every NFL season is like an investigation of sorts, with the offseason and preseason serving as the fact-finding portion, gathering the questions that are most prudent to ask in order to understand the story of the team in the current season. And it is in training camp that we really begin to start finding the answers to those questions.
You can rest assured that we have the questions, and we will be monitoring the developments in training camp and the preseason looking for the answers as we look to evaluate the makeup of the Steelers as they head into a regular season in which they are among the favorites to win the Super Bowl.
Question: What role will rookie safety Sean Davis serve this year?
A lot has been made about the Steelers’ drafting of safety Sean Davis in the second round of the 2016 NFL Draft, and there are some, including prominent beat writers, who believe he has the best shot among the rookie draft class to crack the starting lineup.
I tend not to agree with that, because I believe that Robert Golden has everything that the Steelers are looking for in a safety and is more than capable of holding down a starting position for the 2016 season, though obviously the goal in drafting Davis is eventually for him to start.
He doesn’t have to start immediately, however, to have an immediate impact, but it remains to be seen just what sort of role he will have when it comes to the everyday defense, if any. A defensive back with experience both at safety and at cornerback, the team has worked him in the slot, but Senquez Golson appears to be the favorite to open the season as the team’s slot cornerback.
The defense opened things up later in the year by mixing in a lot more dime, or quarter, defensive looks, and should they continue to expand upon that trend in 2016, then that obviously provides a prime role for Davis to get on the field in select situations that force the offense to pass.
The athletic defensive back can also potentially serve as a blitzer, and he has seen some work in that capacity so far in training camp. In fact, he has seemed to do a bit of everything so far, working up front, in the back end, in the slot, and coming after the quarterback.
What this all ends up meaning in September, however, remains to be seen. The coaching staff has to determine where best he is able to help the team this year, and where they most need the help. That is, of course, aside from the special teams role that he is sure to have.