Now that training camp is underway, and the roster for 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 move forward.
Player: DB Kameron Kelly
Stock Value: Up
Today’s installment is an easy call, in my opinion. While there have been a few notable up or down trends to monitor so far through the first two days of training camp, I think the biggest story in terms of growth right now would have to be for first-year defensive back Kameron Kelly.
Kelly, originally a college free agent last season and signed by the Steelers this year after playing in the Alliance of American Football, spent a bit of time in the spring, among others, running with the first-team defense while Sean Davis was out injured.
So far through training camp, that loose hierarchy has been retained, as he is running as the second-team free safety alongside second-year strong safety Marcus Allen. While means that he is playing ahead of third-year veteran Jordan Dangerfield.
Granted, his playing time with the second-string unit is largely tied to the coaching staff’s desire to get a good look at him, something that I talked about earlier in my question of the day. The Steelers don’t need to see anything more from Dangerfield at this stage that they haven’t already seen for years.
But Kelly isn’t just playing free safety. The team is also giving him run as the third-string slot cornerback behind Mike Hilton with the ones and Cameron Sutton with the twos. It should go without my elaborating upon it, but if he can display the versatility to play free safety and in the slot, that would greatly enhance his chances of making the roster.
And if that versatility isn’t enough, he has also made a couple of plays so far, including an apparently nice interception on a deep pass in yesterday’s practice that gave an indication of his ball skills. He was among the league leaders in interceptions in the AAF, and given that the Steelers only intercepted eight passes as a team last year, that’s obviously a desired quality.
It’s just two days, but Kelly’s first taste of Chuck Noll field at Saint Vincent College has been kind to him. if he can keep it up for the next month, then he certainly will be in the conversation for a roster spot as a backup safety, perhaps even the primary number two free safety.