The Steelers should be a few days into Training Camp at this point. Alas, the pandemic had other plans. While we wait for camps and real football to return, let’s move closer and closer to the end of the Ranking the Rooms: AFC North series here at Steelers Depot, this time taking a look at the safeties room.
Last year the division had a few big names but lacked overall depth. With the addition of one rookie and a trade for a former first rounder, the AFC North has injected some big-time players at safety.
Let’s get started.
1. Pittsburgh Steelers
The acquisition of Minkah Fitzpatrick was an absolute godsend for the Pittsburgh Steelers. Fitzpatrick came in and turned into a shutdown centerfield safety, evolving into an All-Pro safety while helping the Steelers’ defense take a massive leap forward.
While Fitzpatrick became a star, Terrell Edmunds battled through ups and downs for another season, showing flashes at times yet still going through a long slump of not forcing a single turnover.
Edmunds is solid in the box, but he needs to make more plays.
Depth is a concern for the Steelers, especially behind Fitzpatrick, but I still feel good about Jordan Dangerfield and Marcus Allen, and really like the addition of Antoine Brooks Jr. through the draft.
Make no mistake though: Fitzpatrick is the headliner and carries this group.
2. Cincinnati Bengals
While it still hurts to see Jessie Bates in a Bengals uniform, there’s no denying just how great of a safety he is at this point in his career. He’s a true centerfield-type safety that covers the entire field and has a knack for making plays on the football.
I do like Shawn Williams quite a bit as a box safety. He’s a solid fit next to Bates, but he’s getting up there in age and might get beat out by Vonn Bell, whom the Bengals signed in free agency.
Bell could become a real weapon in the box for Cincinnati.
Depth is okay for the Bengals, with Brandon Wilson and Trayvon Henderson providing athleticism and special teams abilities.
3. Baltimore Ravens
Earl Thomas isn’t the player he once was, but he’s still in the top 10-12 of safeties in the NFL when healthy.
Thomas fell off a bit down the stretch last season and will have to carry a larger load this year as the Ravens cut Tony Jefferson and now turn to Chuck Clark full time as the starter.
I do like the depth here with Geno Stone and DeShon Elliott, but aside from Thomas, there’s not a high-ceiling talent in this group. They’re solid though.
4. Cleveland Browns
No group underwent a bigger change at safety in the division than the Browns. Gone are Demarious Randall and Morgan Burnett, in are Karl Joseph and rookie Grant Delpit.
Delpit was a steal in the second round, but he does have some tackling issues that need ironed out. Plus, he’s more of a box guy anyways, while Joseph is as well. It’s not a good pairing on paper.
Depth is a concern too, with veteran Andrew Sendejo the lone backup with noteworthy experience on the roster.
Sheldrick Redwine and Jovante Moffatt are interesting depth pieces to keep an eye on.