2022 Pre-Training Camp Roster Review: Safety

The last time that we took a look back at the Pittsburgh Steelers’ roster in review, it was weeks before the 2022 NFL Draft took place. It would be safe to say that quite a bit has changed since then. The changes apply to almost every position on the roster. Some are major changes and some minor, though some have remained largely static.

We are closing in on the opening of the Steelers’ several weeks of training camp. This year, it’s back at Saint Vincent College in Latrobe. It would be a good time to pause and take stock of where the team stands at each position as we head into the most critical process of the offseason.

Position: Safety

Total Positional Figure: 7
Additions: 1
Deletions: 0

Players Retained:

Minkah Fitzpatrick: Same guy, bigger moneybags. Minkah Fitzpatrick got an awful lot richer sitting around waiting for training camp to start. The Steelers obviously expect him to return to his consistently great play as his role within the defense returns to a more stable state as well.

Terrell Edmunds: The fifth-year safety re-signed late on a cheap one-year deal after allegedly considering multi-year offers elsewhere. He insists that his hold on the starting job is secure—he’s probably right, but you never know.

Tre Norwood: The second-year defensive back showed a lot of promise for a seventh-round rookie last year, but his paths toward playing time around looking great. Presumably, at least the top three cornerbacks and perhaps Damontae Kazee are all ahead of him for snaps.

Miles Killebrew: The veteran special teams ace was re-signed to a multi-year deal after a successful first season in Pittsburgh last year, highlighted by his two blocked punts, the first of which was returned for a touchdown in week one and helped lead to a road upset of the Buffalo Bills.

Karl Joseph: The former first-round pick is still with the team after spending last season mostly on the practice squad. It doesn’t look like he’s favored to make the 53-man roster this year, either.

Donovan Stiner: A 2021 college free agent, Stiner also spent the year on the practice squad and is back for 2022. Reportedly, he did show well during spring drills, so perhaps that’s something to watch.

Players Added:

Damontae Kazee: The Steelers agreed to a one-year deal with the veteran starting free safety shortly after the 2022 NFL Draft. His stock plummeted a bit following a DUI arrest last year. He is presumably here for depth, though there are surely paths for increased playing time if he sticks out.

Players Lost: N/A

Notes and Camp Outlook:

Minkah is Minkah, and there will be no ‘hold-in’ for him this year like T.J. Watt in 2021. Watt broke the dam in terms of the front office withholding guaranteed money beyond the first year of the deal, so that’s no longer a major bugaboo with these huge deals.

The question is who will be playing next to him—not just this year but in the future. Edmunds will presumably continue to start this year, but could Kazee challenge at some point? He does have plenty of starting experience, so it’s not out of the question.

How safe is Tre Norwood’s job, or Miles Killebrew’s? As safe as the quality of competition. As we sit here today, there is currently no reason to believe that Joseph is going to pose a major threat to either of them right now. But there could be an issue if they decide that they can only afford to carry four safeties, and then, who’s the odd man out?

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