2023 NFL Draft

Study: What The Steelers Look For In Drafting Safeties (2023)

Continuing with our 2023 Pittsburgh Steelers “what they look for” studies as we finish up our homework ahead of the 2023 NFL Draft. Today, we’re checking out the safety class and the names that historically fit the best for the Steelers among this year’s group.

As I have been doing, I’m updating data based on the safeties drafted in the Mike Tomlin era, using benchmark criteria, and applying that to 2023. Like the other groups, I’ll include the updated way I’m examining the data this year by including Pro Day information.

“There’s one other change too. In past years, I focused largely on Combine workout numbers, only using Pro Days for objective testing, things like vertical and broad jump in which two scouts wouldn’t have two different numbers like they could with a 40 time or three-cone. But given the rise in players simply opting out of Combine testing, especially the cones (short shuttle and three-cone), I am including those numbers in our criteria. I’m still only looking at prospects invited to the Combine but if they didn’t test at Indy, I will consider their Pro Day figures. It isn’t ideal, there’s more gray area here, but it’s the smart thing to do.”

With that said, here are all the safeties selected in the Tomlin era.


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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

No safeties were drafted in 2022 so our criteria remains the same. It is as follows:

Height: 5’11+ (6 of 8)
Weight: 205+ (7 of 8)
Bench: 15+ (6 of 7)
40 Time: 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)

Of safeties invited to the Combine, three of them checked every single box. They are:

Name/School Height Weight Bench 40 Time Vert Broad SS 3 Cone
Chamarri Conner/Virginia Tech 6000 209 20 4.51 40.5 10’5″ 4.30 6.91
Kaevon Merriweather/Iowa 6000 205 17 4.62 35.5 9’10” 4.24 7.14
Daniel Scott/Cal 6007 208 22 4.45 39.5 10’8″ 4.17 6.75

Scott was one of Pittsburgh’s pre-draft visitors which makes his inclusion here extra interesting to note. He’s an older prospect and a bit of a late bloomer whose tape isn’t quite as strong as those measurables but they’re intriguing in an otherwise weak class.

Pittsburgh sent Sheldon White, a high-ranking front office member, to the Hokies’ Pro Day, while Mike Tomlin and Omar Khan attended Iowa’s Pro Day. It aligns well and remember, our criteria didn’t change at all so I’m not fitting the numbers to match players.

Here are the players who are one box away.

One Box Away

Anthony Johnson/Iowa State: Bench (12)
Gervarrius Owens/Houston: Weight (193)

Again, pretty interesting given the team’s interest in Johnson, a safety/slot prospect. Owens, who had 74 tackles and two forced fumbles last season, misses pretty heavily on weight.

If you’re wondering, Brian Branch missed in several categories including weight, bench (DNP), and short shuttle. Teammate Jordan Battle missed in vert, broad, and three-cone, while Pitt’s Brandon Hill missed in height and weight. Antonio Johnson missed in many categories including weight, bench, vert, broad, and three-cone.

Previous ‘Look For’ Studies 

Offensive Tackle
Inside Linebacker

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