The Pittsburgh Steelers’ track record with college free agents has taken a tumble in recent years, without a doubt. Even after they ended up carrying four rookie college free agents on the 53-man roster or practice squad in 2018, only two of them remain, and they combined for fewer than 20 offensive and defensive snaps on the season.
The two undrafted free agents signed this year by the team are a pair of safeties, which also happens to be perhaps the position on the roster that has the least amount of depth, even a season after which they carried six players.
One of the, Dravon Askew-Henry, has local ties as an Aliquippa native. A relative of Darrelle Revis, he is hoping to make the team this year as a number five safety behind starters Sean Davis and Terell Edmunds and reserves Jordan Dangerfield and Marcus Allen.
“I’m versatile. I am gonna do whatever I got to do to make the team win”, the rookie told Chris Adamski for the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review over the course of rookie minicamp. Of course, he has to make the roster first before he can do much to help the team win. And being really good on special teams would go a long way toward achieving that goal.
He added of himself, “I’m a quick learner…Anything you throw at me, I’m going to conquer it”. With that in mind, he did record an interception during rookie minicamp. I don’t know if it was the only one recorded during the three-day event, but it is the only one I heard being mentioned.
Though that doesn’t necessarily mean a great deal—even the high volume of interceptions recorded in training camp didn’t end up translating into the regular season—the defense, and the secondary in particular, could obviously use some of that.
The safeties specifically combined for a whopping two interceptions, one each between Edmunds and Davis. Davis has five interceptions in his career, including a career-high three in 2017. The cornerback group came down with four interceptions: two by Joe Haden, and one apiece by Mike Hilton and Cameron Sutton.
“I’m always for the competition”, Askew-Henry said of the inevitable reality of his summer. “I feel like I did good (at rookie minicamp), but I still got stuff I got to improve on. I have to get into the playbook, studying, getting to know the plays, getting to know my teammates. I can keep learning. That’s one thing about me: I’m coachable, so I come in here every day ready to learn something new”.
He and the rest of the rookies will get their first taste of a full team practice with the veterans next week as OTAs get underway. Up to this point, he has only worked with other rookies and first-year players, the majority of which have no in-game regular season experience.