With the 2017 NFL Draft now over and the bulk of the heavy lifting done with regard to the roster building process now out of the way, it is easier to begin to take stock of where the Pittsburgh Steelers stand at certain positions, and what the implications might be of a variety of moves for certain players.
And take stock is what we shall do, as every move has ramifications up and down the roster, so now we will take a look at some specific players and see how the team’s moves during the course of the offseason thus far, and more specifically since the draft, have sent their stock rising, falling, or breaking even.
Player: Jordan Dangerfield
Stock Value: Down
While he has become a bit of a minor fan favorite over the past couple of offseasons, second-year safety Jordan Dangerfield is going to have a harder time making the 53-man roster this year compared to last season, even after making a couple of starts due to injury and playing well.
For one thing, the Steelers are much deeper, and much more secure, at the cornerback position. It seems already a given that the team is going to carry six cornerbacks, and it is possible that they may even try to carry seven. All of this means that it is less likely they will have room for five safeties, as they typically carry 10 defensive backs.
While the Steelers did lose a safety from last year in Shamarko Thomas, they gained another in signing Daimion Stafford, a player who not only is regarded as a quality special-teams player—the reason Dangerfield made the roster last year—but who also played under Dick LeBeau and was used in the dimebacker role that the team explored in the draft.
Meanwhile, we have reports that Robert Golden, who opened the season a year ago as the starter, is working ahead of Dangerfield after the latter seemed to secure the top backup role down the stretch, and Golden is the captain on special teams, and has two more years on his contract.
It’s easy to make puns about not getting respect, but I do think that Dangerfield is going to have to play better than he ever has before in order to make the roster again. Part of the reason they carried him last year is because they were unsure about Sean Davis as a rookie.
Remember, Davis was working as a slot cornerback at the start of the season, so it made all the more sense to have a fifth safety. But now the former second-round pick is entrenched as a starter at safety, while the cornerback position is reloaded.
All this adds up to a deep secondary this is going to be difficult to crack. There are about four or five players potentially on the fringe who could be rosterable talents. But the bottom line is that that is a good problem for the Steelers to have.