The offseason is inevitably a period of projection and speculation, which makes it the ideal time to ponder the hypotheticals that the Pittsburgh Steelers will face over the course of the next year, whether it is addressing free agency, the draft, performance on the field, or some more ephemeral topic.
That is what I will look to address in our Buy or Sell series. In each installment, I will introduce a topic statement and weigh some of the arguments for either buying it (meaning that you agree with it or expect it to be true) or selling it (meaning you disagree with it or expect it to be false).
The range of topics will be intentionally wide, from the general to the specific, from the immediate to that in the far future. And as we all tend to have an opinion on just about everything, I invite you to share your own each morning on the topic statement of the day.
Topic Statement: Safety Sean Davis will product three-plus turnovers in 2019.
Explanation: Davis recorded three interceptions during his second season and produced a forced fumble as well. That had people hoping he could be a playmaker the defense needed, but he only has two total turnovers in his other two seasons, including one last year in his first as the free safety.
The caveat with Davis up to this point in his career is the simple fact that he has always been moved around a bit, which makes it harder to settle into one role. The most consistency he had was heading into that second season, as he began starting at strong safety in the second half of his rookie year.
Not only was he in his first season of working at free safety in 2018—something he had never done before—he was also working with a rookie throughout the season in Terrell Edmunds, and that comes with added responsibilities.
2019 should prove to be a much more stable one for Davis as he and Edmunds head into their second season as a pair working together. Provided that he’s able to finally settle into his spot, and his role, he has the athletic and schematic capabilities to make those plays, as he showed in 2017.
Outside of Ryan Shazier, the only players who have recorded three or more interceptions in a season since Troy Polamalu quite a while ago were Davis, Artie Burns, and Mike Mitchell. Mitchell is gone, Burns is fending for a job, and Davis hasn’t exactly been a ballhawk throughout his career.
Up to this point, the three-interception season is the anomaly, and he has to prove otherwise. To do that, he has to show a lot of growth into his free safety role. There were clear growing pains in 2018 moving to the more rangy position, so he will have to curb that to be able to put himself in more opportunistic situations.
And the pass he intercepted last season? A bad one by Taysom Hill.