Now that the 2019 NFL Draft is underway, 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: S Sean Davis
Stock Value: Up
This is an easy one for the day. Sean Davis returned to practice today, participating in his first of the offseason after missing the first two weeks of OTAs with a minor injury. He said that his lack of participation was out of an abundance of caution rather than anything more serious. He should get in this week of OTAs and then next week’s minicamp heading into the extended break before training camp begins.
Davis is entering his fourth season in the NFL as a former second-round draft pick, which also means that he is heading into a contract year. The veteran has said that he hopes to stay in Pittsburgh because he likes it here and they are the ones who gave him a chance—most pending free agents say this, admittedly—but that he is not focused on or worried about that right now.
Neither are the Steelers, as he said that the two sides have yet to open negotiations. At the moment, Pittsburgh is not deep at the safety position, and in particular at free safety. In his absence, first-year former college free agent Kameron Kelly was running with the first-team defense.
Davis is also entering his second season at free safety, which is significant. He had never played free safety prior to last year, at which time he even said that the was hearkening back to his experience playing center field on the baseball diamond to try to prepare for the role.
One thing is clear, which is that he should have better play around him. Terrell Edmunds should take a significant step forward this year in his second season, while the Steelers paid big money to bring in starting cornerback Steven Nelson. When you have more talent and reliability around you as a free safety, you have more freedom to do what you need to do to make plays.
And earn yourself a nice payday about 10 months from now.