The last time that we took a look back at the Pittsburgh Steelers’ roster in review, it was weeks before the 2018 NFL Draft took place. It would be safe to say that quite a bit has changed since then, and the changes apply to almost every position on the roster, some major changes, some minor.
We are closing in on the opening of the Steelers’ several weeks of training camp at Saint Vincent College in Latrobe, however, so it would be a good time to pause and take stock of where the team stands at each position as we head into the most critical process of the offseason.
Total Positional Figure: 7
Sean Davis: The lone player remaining at the safety position from last year’s 53-man roster, Davis is entering a critical season in which he must establish himself as a complete player. He can accumulate statistics, but he leaves too many plays on the field as well. He could be due for a position switch.
Morgan Burnett: Replacing Mike Mitchell in the starting lineup is Burnett, an eight-year veteran, whom most believe is better suited to strong safety. He may well end up there. Regarded as a strong tackler and communicator, the defense is hoping to benefit from these qualities.
Nat Berhe: Another free agent addition, Berhe was signed to play special teams, replacing Robert Golden in that sense, but he does have some defensive experience as well.
Jordan Dangerfield: Dangerfield likely would have made the roster for the second year in a row had he not suffered an injury at the end of the preseason. The Steelers went out and traded for J.J. Wilcox after his injury—Malik Golden was also injured in the same game—and he ended up being re-signed to the practice squad once healthy again.
Malik Golden: A college free agent last year out of Penn State, Golden had some good reps in the preseason last year, including the interception on which he injured himself. He was waived injured at that time, but the Steelers brought him back after the season ended.
Terrell Edmunds: The Steelers’ first-round draft pick, Edmunds is a player they believe can be versatile thanks to his athleticism. He should get onto the field early in sub-packages, whether that is as a dimebacker, or as a safety, moving one of the other safeties into that dime role.
Marcus Allen: A popular player here, but not one actually guaranteed to make the team, though he probably ought to be favored. The Steelers valued him higher than the fifth-round pick they were able to use to select him, so that is a good sign for him.
J.J. Wilcox: Last year’s late addition via trade, Wilcox was immediately thrown into the top reserve roll and even rotated with Mitchell early while the veteran was coming back from injury, but he eventually lost that job back to Robert Golden, and then was a healthy scratch by the end of the year. The team released him and his $3 million-plus salary after they drafted two safeties.
Notes and Camp Outlook:
There is still a lot to sort out here. The starters are likely set with Davis and Burnett, but they must decide who will play free safety between them. They must also determine Edmunds’ readiness to contribute. Beyond that, there are four other safeties, all of whom that they like, to determine the final two spots at the position. It’s hard to imagine them carrying fewer than five this year, given the talent pool.