I have over the course of the past several seasons turned to a series of articles around this time of year in which I looked to explore the issues and questions facing the Pittsburgh Steelers during the upcoming season and trying to identify the range of possibilities in which any given scenario can end.
I started out with a dual series called The Optimist’s/Pessimist’s Take and switched last season to the Devil’s Advocate series. In an attempt to find a more streamlined solution with a title more suited to the actual endeavor, we are introducing a simple Buy Or Sell segment exploring whether the position statement is likely to be worth investing in as an idea.
The range of topics will be wide, from the specific to the general, exploring broad long-term possibilities to the immediate future of particular players. I will make an argument for why a concept should be bought into as well as one that can be sold, and you can share your thoughts on which is the more compelling case while offering your own.
Topic Statement: Sean Davis will be out of the starting lineup by the end of the season.
The Steelers didn’t give Morgan Burnett almost $5 million per season to play in a reserve role, even if a role that still gets on the field a good amount. And they didn’t draft Terrell Edmunds to be a sub-package player for very long.
Davis worked his way into the starting lineup by the second half of his rookie season, and that was after losing valuable developmental time in the summer and then during the season by working out of the slot because of health issues for their projected slot defender, Senquez Golson, also remembered as He Who Shall Not Be Named.
Let’s add in another wrinkle: Tom Bradley isn’t the one who drafted Davis. He is the one who was in the building when they signed the sure-tackling Burnett and the physical and versatile Edmunds. I think it’s safe to assume Bradley likes what these players bring based on their traits, while Davis has not been a reliable tackler.
Edmunds may get on the field in sub-packages, but he is not ready to be a full-time starter yet. Davis came from a college career with extensive experience on the field. Edmunds is a two-year starter as an underclassman and is clearly raw in some areas of his game.
The team also likes Davis, and there are legitimate reasons. He has made plays. He tied for the team lead in interceptions last season. He’s more equipped in terms of ability and experience to play in the deep safety role as well.
We also can’t assume that Edmunds winning a starting job would mean Davis losing a starting job. It could just as easily be Burnett who slides into a sub-package role, no matter what they paid him. they’ve invested in Davis as well, even if it’s not currently financially equal.