How Much Should The Steelers Prioritize Safety?

Wanted to throw this question out to you all for this Tuesday morning because we’ve had some interesting – and differing – discussions about it. If you’re Kevin Colbert, how do you approach the safety position in the offseason?

Our Matthew Marczi even struggled to find an answer in his positional breakdown of the group yesterday morning.

“Truth be told, I’m not entirely sure how the Steelers view the safety position. As I was writing this, however, I couldn’t help but wonder what lies upon the horizon. Mitchell only has two years left on his contract and will be turning 30. Is he going to be their starter at 32 on a second contract in Pittsburgh? If not, would it be unreasonable to get an apprentice now?”

So we have three schools of thought.

1. The Steelers need to upgrade the position immediately.

For most, this has to do with the concerns of Mike Mitchell. Either in the short-term (he’s not good enough) or long-term (he’s getting older). Mitchell is arguably the most divisive players on this team. Some hate his skull-crushing ways, opting to play receiver rather than ball, or don’t think he’s a good enough athlete at this point of his career. Others see him as a steady force and tone setter for the Steelers.

But if you’re in the former camp, and with no other long-term starting options on the roster, it would demand drafting a safety fairly high. It could also give the Steelers an option for a dime defender, replacing Robert Golden who struggled in that role, and add a layer of versatility.

2. The Steelers don’t need to do much to upgrade safety. 

If you’re happy with Mitchell’s and Sean Davis’ progression and pleased with the depth, then the position doesn’t need to be touched. The depth seems strong with the Steelers four deep when you toss in Golden (a versatile, capable backup, even if he isn’t a starter) and Jordan Dangerfield, who played well when called upon.

That certainly doesn’t leave much wiggle room for a high-profile draft pick and not much need for a depth selection either.

3. A mid-round depth pick would be nice. 

This is for the fence-riders of the world. Maybe you’re not happy with the performance of Golden, think Dangerfield is still just a guy, or want to find a firecracker on special teams to replace Shamarko Thomas. The slam-dunk starter isn’t necessary because he may not have a home on the field right away. But it’s good idea to keep an eye for Mitchell’s eventual replacement.

If it’s me, I choose option two. Don’t see safety as a dire need. The starters are strong, the depth is strong, and you can’t say the same about other positions on this team. Mitchell is still playing at a high level. I know we can debate that endlessly and probably not see each other’s point, though I’m always willing to discuss. Golden and Dangerfield aren’t long-term starters but quality backups who should be with the team for another two years.

When the Steelers need to look at the position again, they can invest a high pick into one. As Sean Davis showed, with a simplified scheme and in today’s NFL, these guys can get on the field right away without disastrous consequences. Being able to sit a guy is nice but no longer a necessity.

A 6th or 7th round special-team focused pick is hard to argue with but beyond that, the safety position is set. To me, at least.

But maybe not to you. So let us know your thoughts in the comments below. We’ll set the question up this way. What rounds would you draft a safety?

1. Rounds 1-3
2. Rounds 4-5
3. Rounds 6-7
4. Don’t draft one

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