The journey toward Super Bowl LII ended far too prematurely for the Pittsburgh Steelers, sending them into offseason mode before we were ready for it. But we are in it now, and are ready to move on, through the Combine, through free agency, through the draft, into OTAs, and beyond.
We have asked and answered a lot of questions over the years and will continue to do so, and at the moment, there seem to be a ton of questions that need answering. A surprise early exit in the postseason will do that to you though, especially when it happens in the way it did.
You can rest assured that we have the questions, and we will be monitoring developments all throughout the offseason process, all the way down to Latrobe. Pending free agents, possible veteran roster cuts, contract extensions, pre-draft visits, pro days, all of it will have its place when the time arises.
Question: Which young defensive starter realistically should be the most concerned about his job?
The days of the old and slow Steelers are gone, replaced by a new era in which players are often quickly rushed onto the field, even in their rookie season. The defense in particularly is filled with starters who are three- or four-year veterans, or even younger.
While they have gotten onto the field quickly, however, that does not necessarily mean that they have developed into Pro Bowlers, let alone ‘franchise’ guys who don’t have to earn their keep every year. There is a lot of anger at the moment about the state of the defense in particular, with some wanting to see change, not just in the coaching staff, but in the starting lineup.
So of these young starters, taking a realistic approach, rather than personal hopes and wishes, which of them should be most concerned about losing their starting position in 2018, either replaced by a younger player on the roster, a free agent signing, or a draft pick?
A lot of attention is on Sean Davis right now, the two-year veteran safety. Most believe that safety is a high priority in the draft. And while he had a streak of a few good games around midseason, he certainly did not progress as he was expected to in year two. But with Mike Mitchell’s status also a bit in limbo, it’s hard to move him right now.
Artie Burns has been up and down since his first professional game, and I don’t know that that ever changes. They can still target a cornerback high. Could Cameron Sutton and Brian Allen compete for a job?
How about Bud Dupree? While he has been more productive than Jarvis Jones, many are quite disappointed in his work through three seasons. It’s crucial for him to have a more productive season in year four.
Is there another young starter on the team not mentioned above that you think is more likely to be in jeopardy of losing his job? Feel free to add his name below and explain why.