2019 Offseason Questions: Game Edition – Who Steps Up At Safety?

The Pittsburgh Steelers are now in Latrobe at Saint Vincent College, where they have held their training camp sessions since 1966. While the vast majority of the legwork of building the 90-man roster is done, there is always some fine tinkering to do. Now it’s time to figure out who is worthy of a roster spot, and what their role will be.

The team made some bold moves this offseason and in some areas of the roster look quite a bit different than they did a year ago. That would especially be the case at wide receiver and inside linebacker, where they’re bound to have new starters.

How will those position groups sort themselves out? How will the young players advance into their expected roles? Will the new coaches be up to the task? Who is looking good in practice? Who is sitting out due to injury?

These are the sorts of questions among many others that we have been exploring on a daily basis and will continue to do so. Football has become a year-round pastime and there is always a question to be asked, though there is rarely a concrete answer, as I’ve learned in my years of doing this.

Question: Game Edition – Who will step up and state their case for a roster spot at safety?

The Steelers went into the 2018 season with six safeties on their roster. This year, it could be as few as four, which historically has not at all been uncommon, but teams are increasingly carrying a larger number of defensive backs on their rosters, so that 11 or even 12 in total is reasonably commonplace. Which makes sense as you see five and six of them at a time on the field. Sometimes even seven.

For Pittsburgh, though, they are still looking for a few good men to make their claim on a roster spot. There are only two locks at safety right now, and those would be the starters, Sean Davis and Terrell Edmunds. Davis has missed most of training camp, though, and that has provided some opportunities for the younger players to step up.

The primary beneficiary of his absence has been Kameron Kelly, who has taken the most reps at free safety with the first-team defense, but P.J. Locke, an undrafted rookie, got work there, too. Marcus Allen might be the closest thing to a lock after the starters, but he still has to make good on his spot with a good preseason.

Then there’s Jordan Dangerfield, who once again isn’t really getting the respect that perhaps he deserves. While pigeonholed as a box safety, he has made some plays in coverage in training camp as well. Rounding out the group is fellow undrafted rookie Dravon Askew-Henry, who has also worked in the slot in addition to safety.

Between two and three of the players named above figure to make the roster. At least one of Allen and Dangerfield almost assuredly will, but perhaps not both. The preseason showing, which begins tonight, will have a lot to say about it all.

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