The Pittsburgh Steelers only have two safeties on their 90-man roster right now who are under contract beyond the 2019 season, those being their two draft picks at the position last year, first-rounder Terrell Edmunds and fifth-rounder Marcus Allen. Rounding out the group is starter Sean Davis and third-year veteran Jordan Dangerfield, who has been with the organization since 2014.
This also happens to be a pretty deep draft class at safety. Don’t be surprised if they address the position in a significant way this weekend with their 10 selections in the 2019 NFL Draft. And potentially early as well.
That really depends on how they view Davis as a long-term prospect and whether or not they believe they will be able to afford him, especially after he hired Drew Rosenhaus—who just helped Antonio Brown facilitate his exit from Pittsburgh—to represent him.
If the Steelers need to, or plan to, replace Davis, then one potential candidate would be the one coming out of the same school as him, Maryland’s Darnell Savage, which we talked about here recently. The team not only represented at his Pro Day, he was also brought in for a pre-draft visit.
It’s true that the Steelers have their two starting positions secure for the 2019 season in Edmunds and Davis, but it was also true that the team believed their starting safeties for 2018 were secure in Davis and Morgan Burnett, and they still drafted Edmunds in the first round anyway.
The reason for that, in part, was because Burnett was not seen as a long-term starter, but the same, potentially, could be said of Davis this year. The thinking with Burnett was that he could start for a year or two and then transition into the dime safety.
Now they don’t have Burnett and still need a dime safety, potentially a player to start in that role and develop into a starter—perhaps somebody like Savage, who can play in sub-packages this year and replace Davis as a starter in 2020.
Of course they won’t necessarily have to look in the first and second rounds to draft a safety, but it would be surprising if they don’t take at least one, given that they only have four true safeties on the roster right now, and they went into the 2018 season with six.
Safety is also a position from which they can get special teams players, and they have lost a couple of notable ones from last season, including but not limited to Darrius Heyward-Bey. Nat Berhe also played on special teams before he was injured, replacing Robert Golden last year.