Ever since the Pittsburgh Steelers released veteran Mike Mitchell back in March the general consensus of the masses has been that Sean Davis will be the new starting free safety in 2018. While that might ultimately wind up being the case, a few coaches have stopped short of saying Davis is a lock to be the one to replace Mitchell as the primary deep player in the defense.
“We haven’t found that yet,” Steelers defensive coordinator Keith Butler said Wednesday when essentially asked which of his safeties is best-suited to play the deep free position. “We’ll wait and see until we get in camp. We have our own thoughts, you might say, but I dont think that you make a decision until you see everybody in pads.”
Also on Wednesday, new Steelers defensive back coach Tom Bradley was asked to provide some clarity on the free and strong safety positions and even he couldn’t, or wouldn’t.
“Great question, because there’s no clarity to it right now,” Bradley replied. “We’re multiple tasking with different guys playing different positions, which is okay, because we’re teaching our safeties to play both both positions. And it’s okay, I don’t look at that as a detriment right now that they are characterized as this or that because in our defense, they’re going to have to be able to play both anyway.”
As for Davis, specifically, Butler knows he has the tools to play the free safety position should the need arise.
“We know S.D. can play, we know S.D.’s got a lot of range,” Butler said of the third-year Davis, a former second-round draft pick.
While Davis did indeed play some free safety in college, he didn’t do it much as most of those snaps at that particular position came during his first two years at Maryland as he played a lot of cornerback during his final two seasons.
“That’s definitely something I can do,” Davis said this week about playing the free safety position, according to the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review. “I feel like that’s a good way for me to showcase my range and speed by being back there. So I am getting comfortable being deep.”
With the Steelers 2018 mandatory minicamp coming to a close on Thursday we now have six more weeks to speculate as to which safety will ultimately receive the bulk of the training camp reps at the free position. However, you can bet that once the practices do get underway in Latrobe that our very own Alex Kozora will be reporting who that player is. In the meantime, however, we’ll just have to take Butler’s word that there’s no current clarity as to which safety will play where and that nothing is set in stone.
“So, who’s going to be the post safety, who’s going to be down in the box? We haven’t made that decision yet,” Butler said Wednesday.