Training camp is the time of year when virtual unknown players on the Pittsburgh Steelers roster try to earn respect from not only the coaching staff, but their teammates as well. During Monday’s first padded practice of the 2014 season, one former undrafted player probably earned some respect from both groups.
Safety Jordan Dangerfield, who was originally signed by the Buffalo Bills following the 2013 NFL Draft as an undrafted free agent out of Towson, took full advantage of the team finally being able to hit Monday as he not only rocked tight end Michael Palmer following a reception, he also reportedly slipped blocks twice during the live sessions to tackle runners behind the line of scrimmage.
Contact is something that Dangerfield is not afraid of as the former two-time All-Colonial Athletic Association first team selection led Towson in tackles as a junior with 93 and was third on the team as a senior with 69. During his college career, that included him playing one year at Hofstra, Dangerfield totaled 281 total tackles with 165 of them being solos.
After the Bills signed Dangerfield, current BLESTO scout Pete Harris gave a brief scouting report on the 5’11”, 200 pound safety.
“He’s an aggressive, explosive hitter at safety,” said Harris of Dangerfield in 2013. “He’s got decent speed, but he’s a physical presence. If you come over the middle he’ll hit you. He was more productive in the box even though he played both safety spots. He had a good game against LSU.”
In that game against LSU, Dangerfield forced one fumble and recovered another and both led to Towson scores. According to Scott Branson of The Times-Picayune , the then-senior also may have prevented another touchdown when he tripped up LSU running back Michael Ford down the sideline when it looked as if he was going to score.
If Dangerfield is going to make the Steelers final 53 man roster this year out of training camp, he more than likely will have to beat out third-year player Robert Golden for a fifth safety spot. Golden, however, does have experience on his side and not only can he line up in the slot as an extra nickel cornerback should the need ever arise, he’s also a solid special teams player to boot as he was the Steelers upback last season on the punt team.
This early in training cap, Dangerfield can’t worry about numbers as counting roster spots will only drive a bubble player crazy. All he can do at this point is try to continue to earn respect during practices with his physical play like he did Monday.