Steelers Could Continue Safety Inspection

Even though the Pittsburgh Steelers have taken the safety position very seriously this free agency period, they none the less have continued to do their due diligence when it comes to scouting the top of the draft class at the position, bringing in Calvin Pryor for a visit yesterday.

The Steelers traded their 2014 third-round draft pick last year to draft Shamarko Thomas. This offseason, they have worked out an extension with Troy Polamalu, re-signed Will Allen, and replaced Ryan Clark with Mike Mitchell.

So then why are the Steelers still looking at Pryor? Surely they couldn’t still be considering him a candidate for drafting in the first round. Or could they be? And what if he falls to the second round, which is not impossible?

This could be more than just doing due diligence, getting their homework done. And by this I mean continuing to very seriously consider the safety position, not specifically taking a look at Pryor yesterday.

Back at the owners meetings, head coach Mike Tomlin talked extensively about the importance of sub-package football and how defenses play as often as not these days with five and six defensive backs on the field. The Steelers alone got extensive work out of quarters safeties last season, including Thomas, Allen, and even Robert Golden.

During that conversation, Tomlin talked specifically about the back end of the defense:

“I think a component of this defense is great safety play,” Tomlin said. “It’s something that I’ve been around since the early days for me as a professional. I’ve been around guys like (former Buccaneers safeties) John Lynch and Dexter Jackson.

“And rightfully so, I think that if you’re interested in playing good defense, you better have guys at the safety position who can insert themselves vs. the run and can be what they need to be in the passing game.”

The Steelers have been spoiled over the past decade by having a superstar-quality player at the safety position in Polamalu. No matter how good Mitchell or Thomas end up being, chances are they’ll never rise to the level of Polamalu, through which, in many ways, this defense has run through the years.

So it wouldn’t surprise me if the Steelers don’t just twiddle their thumbs when it comes to looking at safeties. Polamalu is on his way out the door, and they have no guarantees in front of them about the future. Other than Polamalu, only Allen has starting experience at safety on this defense.

The Seattle Seahawks have an All-Pro safety. The Denver Broncos just added T.J. Ward. Maybe the Steelers think that Mitchell can approach that level for them. But what about Thomas? He seems more ideally suited for the quarters safety role rather than as a starter. I don’t think the Steelers are off the market for a starting safety over the next couple offseasons.

About the Author

Matthew Marczi

Passionate Steelers fan with a bit of writing ability. Connoisseur of loud music. Follow me on Twitter @mmarczi.

  • steeltown

    If he fell to the 2nd Rd, 46th overall, I wouldn’t hesitate. That said, I personally wouldn’t want to use a 1st Rd selection on a Safety THIS year.

    I guess the problem arises with the spot we are selecting, maybe the top CBs and WR/TEs are gone, then you would have to strongly look at DL, OLB and reluctantly Safety

  • I am just not comfortable with that as a selection, if they want to take BPA and there is a ILB who is a potential 3 down backer they have to run to the podium.

  • steeltown

    Yea everyone is of course thinking CB or WR/TE but there are a few DL and LB prospects that are very very intriguing, we could use more talent at both of those positions

  • dkoy85

    I agree with you on not being comfortable with Pryor at 1.15. For me, it’s how they feel about Williams and Garvin- How will they progress? If they take ILB we know how they feel. If all the CB’s and WR’s are off the board I’m really hoping they go DL or Benjamin. And if that’s the case I’m really really hoping they trade back to do it.

  • dgh57

    I liked Pryor before the Mitchell signing but I think now the closest thing to a Safety we’ll be drafting now is a hybrid CB/S type of a player later in the draft. DL and CB need to be taken care of first.

  • Callentown

    No matter how many Steelers drafts I watch, the best player available concept always seems to match pretty closely with the position the team needs.

    Adding a top safety is a luxury this team does not have this year. The needs at Dline, CB, RT, ILB, OLB and WR are more than the nine picks can cover.

    I also disagree with the idea that ILB is basically covered. It’s not. Unless Sean Spence completes that miracle we heard Butler suggest necessary for him to come back.

    For a team where the LB position defines the defense, what we have opposite Timmons isn’t going to cut it, unless 8-8 is fine with everyone.

  • Big White

    This visit is all smoke and mirrors. I think what the Steelers are doing is trying to move a guy or guys into the top 15 who weren’t there a few weeks ago. The Steelers are most definitely not going to draft a guy at #1 who will sit on the bench for two years. They need help now. So, to me this is a sign that Pittsburgh would like to move down,maybe to 18-20. Pump up the interest in Pryor and hope that someone who could use a safety will move up in front of Pittsburgh(allowing their player to fall one or two more spots) or enticing another team to switch spots with Pittsburgh and pickup perhaps another late 4th or early 5th. I truly think the steelers would like to take Dennard at 18-20.

  • JohnB

    At first I saw the Pryor visit as a chance to get familiar, not really as a selection. But it made me think that maybe they will still draft a FS at some point because it takes a year to learn the system and they have Mitchell to hold down the spot while the other guy learns. The reasons ive come to this conclusion is that there really isn’t QUALITY depth at the position if Shamarko is a SS. And because of the way they made Mitchells contract. I kinda hope im wrong though cause I want to see Mitchell do well.

  • Ike Evans

    Do you guys have instagram? If so, you should definitely follow shamarko Thomas….this guy works his ass off…everyday..,,and he’s positive to the point of inspiration lol I have a hard time betting against this kid given his physical tools, work ethic and positive attitude…I have no doubt he will be a stud….with that being said…….these safeties this year are good I WAS REALLY dissapointed we picked up mike Mitchell because I wanted one of these safeties to pair with shark for the future….given where we are picking too we are in a perfect position to snag one in the first but there are guys to get excited about at that position even on the mid rounds…..if they do end up drafting a safety I wouldnt be mad….but it has to be a BPA decision

  • Ike Evans

    Antone exum…..donate johnson….those guys a fukin huge…you may be right

  • Shannon Stephenson

    I saw him on youtube…the guy is a workaholic

  • Lucus Rodriguez

    I follow him. He works EVERY SINGLE DAY. Never takes a day off. One day its weight lifting the next day its foot work etc. Whenever I need a little inspiration for a work out I go to his IG ha.

  • wdhammer

    in my opinion you can never have enough D…it’s like pitching you win championships with it ..

  • MC

    If he’s there in the 2nd, pull the trigger and our safeties are set for years..