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Devil’s Advocate: Need For Rookie Safety Contributor

You may recall for the past several offseasons that I ran an article series called The Optimist’s/Pessimist’s Take. I used it to explore different issues and topics the Pittsburgh Steelers were facing and took a positive or negative approach, examining each side in a separate article. This is essentially the same idea behind that, only condensed into one article for every topic.

In this version of the idea, I’ll be playing the Devil’s Advocate for both sides of the issue, looking at the best-case and worst-case scenarios in trying to find the range of likely outcomes of what is likely to happen for the Steelers relating to whatever topic the article is covering.

When it comes to the process of trying to construct a championship roster, the reality is that there are a ton of moving parts, and several ways to acquire said parts. There are a lot of things that can go right or wrong in not always predictable ways, so I think it’s helpful to try to look at issues by seeking out the boundaries of the likely positive or negative results.

Topic: Do the Steelers need an additional safety as a rookie that will have the ability to contribute in 2017?

By the looks of things, the Pittsburgh Steelers are getting pretty interested in this year’s safety class, just a year removed from using a second-round pick on Sean Davis, a player who opened the season as their starting slot defender and finished the year as their strong safety.

Yesterday, two of the five visitors to the UPMC Rooney Sports Complex were a pair of intriguing safety prospects, namely Budda Baker and Josh Jones, both of whom are sure to be gone within the first two days of the draft, likely within the first two rounds. Baker could be done in the first.

While Pittsburgh’s top target based on position is likely outside linebacker, overall, they have been widely associated with the cornerback crop as well. But they are also looking at safety options, particularly, seemingly, those who could function as slot defenders.

And even if they end up drafting a safety who is not as well-suited to playing in the slot, they do believe that Davis can do that, so a sub-package could include Davis shifting to cover the slot with a rookie safety moving to the back end.

Given the loss of Lawrence Timmons and the seeming transition to the slower Vince Williams, the quarter package is much more likely to be prominent during the 2016 season, which means having three safeties on the field. But whether or not you have to draft that third safety depends on what you think about what is already on hand.

The Steelers do have two other safeties on the roster who started games last season in reserve roles. Robert Golden and Jordan Dangerfield have both put down quality tape. The latter is capable of playing in the box and the team has already used Golden in the quarter role before. Just because he got demoted from the starting lineup last year doesn’t mean he should be forgotten about.

Many seem to be pushing through the idea that the Steelers are in need of another safety, but perhaps that safety is already on the roster.

Which side do you lean closer toward?

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