The offseason is inevitably a period of projection and speculation, which makes it the ideal time to ponder the hypotheticals that the Pittsburgh Steelers will face over the course of the next year, whether it is addressing free agency, the draft, performance on the field, or some more ephemeral topic.
That is what I will look to address in our Buy or Sell series. In each installment, I will introduce a topic statement and weigh some of the arguments for either buying it (meaning that you agree with it or expect it to be true) or selling it (meaning you disagree with it or expect it to be false).
The range of topics will be intentionally wide, from the general to the specific, from the immediate to that in the far future. And as we all tend to have an opinion on just about everything, I invite you to share your own each morning on the topic statement of the day.
Topic Statement: The Steelers should stop forcing Kameron Kelly onto the field and allow Cameron Sutton to be the every-situation dime defender.
Explanation: For some time now, the Steelers have had a strong preference in their dime package to have a safety as their sixth defender. Many other teams prefer a fourth cornerback, though the third safety is not uncommon. This year, they have been using both looks with Cameron Sutton and Kameron Kelly.
If this is taken only as a performance-based question, then the answer is easy in favor of Sutton, especially as he comes off of his best game of his young career, in which he recorded three passes defensed, including a huge interception that sealed a victory.
Sutton isn’t the biggest defensive back, and there will be times where his slight frame will be a detriment when he is in there as a dime defender if offenses choose to run against him, for example, but his tackling has also improved, and that is to be considered.
Plus, the Steelers have talked about his versatility since he was drafted. They believe he can play just about anywhere in the secondary, so he can do whatever they would ask their dime defender to do. He did a nice job covering Bengals tight end C.J. Uzomah last year.
Kelly is still a young player who is growing, and will get better as he plays more. It’s not like Sutton was great during his rookie season. He even got benched last year after being given a chance to start for an injured Joe Haden.
The other thing that has to be talked about with Kelly is that he’s not just a safety. He’s played in the slot and even at cornerback. He even played some wide receiver in the AAF. He has the athleticism to do different things that would be asked of him in that dime role, which is why he continues to get looks, and why he should continue to do so.