Now that the 2018 NFL Draft is in the books, and the roster heading into the offseason is close to finalized—though always fluid—it’s time to take stock of where the Pittsburgh Steelers stand. Specifically where Steelers players stand individually based on what we have seen happen over the course of the past few months.
A stock evaluation can take a couple of different approaches and I’ll try to make clear my reasonings. In some cases it will be based on more long-term trends, such as an accumulation of offseason activity. In other instances it will be a direct response to something that just happened. So we can see a player more than once over the course of the summer as we head toward training camp.
Player: Sean Davis
Stock Value: Up
Evaluation Type: Moderate, Long-Term
Reason: Surviving The Purge, Health, Growth
Way too many people are prepared to write off Sean Davis as he heads into his third season. Some have already done so. No doubt, the young safety still has a lot to learn, and there are elements of his game that need to be cleaned up. But he is still an ascending player with a lot of future potential mixed with present production.
Numbers do not tell the full story, but he did have three interceptions and a forced fumble in 2017, which led the defense in terms of turnover production. He also led the team with 92 tackles and had a sack in addition to eight passes defensed. Getting your hands on double-digit passes as a safety is not bad at all.
Of course he also misses far too many tackles and has had struggles in one-on-one coverage, albeit often against elite talents such as Rob Gronkowski and Travis Kelce, but there is no reason to think he is not capable of improving.
What we have to wait and see is just what his role will be this season. He has been the strong safety for most of his first two years, and also spent a lot of time covering the slot against tight ends and running backs.
This year, he could be moving to free safety, with Morgan Burnett moving to strong safety, and rookie Terrell Edmunds could potentially even get involved, taking away some of those in-the-box and slot coverage assignments.
Davis may be one of the primary beneficiaries of new Steelers defensive backs coach Tom Bradley, who preaches fundamentals and tackling. The third-year safety has already sung Bradley’s praises for the attention to detail that he puts into his coaching.
This will be a big season for him, during which he can either solidify a long-term spot in the starting lineup or see the job slip through his hands to the rookie. But for now, he remains on that ascending trajectory heading into training camp. And for the record, there has been no talk of competition for his job.