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: S Sean Davis
Stock Value: Down
Most of the week of practice is now up, with just Friday to go through before the Steelers head up to Foxboro to face the New England Patriots. While he hasn’t been ruled out yet, there have been no indications that veteran safety Sean Davis will be able to participate in practice today and thus suit up on Sunday.
Davis suffered an ankle injury during the third preseason game while both he and Kameron Kelly were looking to tackle the ballcarrier. Kelly’s momentum sent the body of the ballcarrier crashing into Davis’, folding in on itself a bit, and resulting in the ankle injury that has had him sidelined for a couple of weeks now.
Kelly, the first-year safety who was an undrafted free agent last year and first joined the Steelers upon the folding of the Alliance of American Football in April, has been running with the first-team defense in his place, as he has throughout the offseason due to a series of injuries the former second-round pick has done through.
In spite of a seemingly lengthy injury history, however, Davis has only ever missed one game in his career, and that came all the way back toward the beginning of his rookie season. He suffered a shoulder injury in Week Three against the Philadelphia Eagles while he was their slot defender. That shoulder injury lingered throughout the rest of the year, but he not only played through it, he earned the starting job at strong safety in the middle of the season.
Now, however, in his fourth season, he is in a contract year, and it does him no favors to get off to a bad start sitting on the sidelines in street clothes. Presuming that he doesn’t practice, and thus almost assuredly will not play on Sunday, the team figures to get a little creative in the defensive backfield, as Mike Hilton has also gotten some reps back there. Their trio of versatile secondary players—also including Cameron Sutton—afford them options to try to accommodate having one player down, so we’ll see how that plays out in the opener.