NFL Draft

Study: What The Steelers Look For Drafting Safeties (2022)

Rapidly moving along with our Pittsburgh Steelers’ “what they look for” 2022 draft studies. And for the first time ever, we’re adding a new position to this list. We’ll be looking at the history of safeties drafted under Mike Tomlin to see the names they’ve taken and what minimum thresholds we can create from it. The team has finally drafted enough players to give us a decent enough sample size, though it’s still a smaller list than I’d like.

First, we’ll list out the names and workout numbers of all the safeties drafted since 2007. We’ll then create our criteria and see which players fit best from this year’s class.

Here are the eight safeties taken since ’07. I am including last year’s pick Tre Norwood as a safety. Marcus Allen, though now a linebacker, was drafted and initially played as a safety, and will be treated as such.

2021: Tre Norwood

Height: 5115
Weight: 192
Bench: 12
40: 4.58
Vert: 33.5″
Broad: 10’3″
Short Shuttle: 4.45
Three-Cone: 7.65

2020: Antoine Brooks Jr.

Height: 5105
Weight: 220
Bench: 18
40: 4.64
Vert: 34.5″
Broad: N/A
Short Shuttle: N/A
Three-Cone: N/A

2018: Terrell Edmunds

Height: 6004
Weight: 217
Bench: N/A
40: 4.47
Vert: 41.5″
Broad: 11’2″
Short Shuttle: N/A
Three-Cone: N/A

2018: Marcus Allen

Height: 6021
Weight: 215
Bench: 15
40: 4.63
Vert: 37″
Broad: 10’7″
Short Shuttle: 4.32
Three-Cone: 7.13

2016: Sean Davis

Height: 6010
Weight: 206
Bench: 21
40: 4.46
Vert: 37.5″
Broad: 10’6″
Short Shuttle: 3.97
Three-Cone: 6.64

2015: Gerod Holliman

Height: 5116
Weight: 218
Bench: 17
40: 4.62
Vert: 27″
Broad: 9’1″
Short Shuttle: 4.37
Three-Cone: 7.03

2013: Shamarko Thomas

Height: 5087
Weight: 213
Bench: 28
40: 4.42
Vert: 40.5″
Broad: 11’1″
Short Shuttle: 4.26
Three-Cone: 6.84

2008: Ryan Mundy

Height: 6010
Weight: 215
Bench: 21
40: 4.55
Vert: 36″
Broad: 10’10”
Short Shuttle: 4.33
Three-Cone: 6.81

Our safety criteria is as follows:

Height: 5’11+ (6 of 8)
Weight: 205+ (7 of 8)
Bench: 15+ (6 of 7)
40: 4.65 or better (8 of 8)
Vert: 33″+ (7 of 8)
Broad: 10’3″+ (6 of 7)
Short Shuttle: Sub 4.4 (5 of 6)
Three Cone: Sub 7.15 (5 of 6)

I know we talk about the “SPARQY” safety so much on here but the Steelers’ picks don’t always reflect that. It is important to note the team’s Day 1-2 picks (Davis, Edmunds) tend to be much more athletic than the guys drafted later on (Norwood, Brooks, Allen). But it’s difficult to break these up into sub-categories, especially with just eight overall in our group.

So what 2022 safeties check all these boxes? Believe it or not, just one of them.

Name/School Height Weight 40 Time Vertical Broad Jump Short Shuttle Three Cone Bench
Nick Cross/Maryland 6001 215 4.34 37 10’10” 4.21 6.85 21


Despite what felt like pretty attainable thresholds for a safety, only one dude checked every box. That’s Cross, an ultra-athletic, Day 2 type of safety with similar measurables to Sean Davis, though Cross’ 40 time was significantly better. He certainly should be on the Steelers’ radar and seems like a great fit.

Only five other safeties missed in just one category.

One Box Away

Tycen Anderson/Toledo: Bench (12)
Dane Belton/Iowa: Bench (DNP)
Jaquan Brisker/Penn State: Weight (199)
Kolby Harvell-Peel/S Oklahoma State: Broad (9’11”)
Kyle Hamilton/Notre Dame: Bench (DNP)

Anderson has been high on my list for awhile now as an athletic, high-character, and versatile MAC defender. Sure sounds like a Steeler. Brisker is a popular Day 2 pick in mock drafts, including my own, and he did seem to play at a heavier weight than his Combine measurement. Hamilton likely would’ve checked every box had he actually participated in the bench but otherwise fits well. If he falls to #20, look out…

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