If safety Jordan Dangerfield is going to make the Pittsburgh Steelers final 53 man roster this year out of training camp, he’s going to have earn the respect of special teams coach Danny Smith. Saturday night in the preseason opener against the New York Giants, you can tell that he’s getting every opportunity to do just that.
Dangerfield, who was signed to the offseason roster way back in January, played 18 snaps on special teams against the Giants and he registered two tackles while covering kickoffs while also downing a first quarter punt by Brad Wing.
Originally signed by the Buffalo Bills last year as an undrafted free agent out of Towson, Dangerfield wasn’t given much of an opportunity to make their final 53 man roster as he only saw six special teams snaps during the first three preseason games. While he did see 21 snaps in the Bills preseason finale against the Detroit Lions, it was clear at that point that he was merely being used as an extra healthy body before ultimately being waived the very next day.
On Monday, Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin talked after practice about how he expects players on the bubble to make a move this week. Dangerfield is one of several players that certainly fits that description and he’s going to have to be even more visible on special teams against the Bills Saturday night than he was against the Giants.
Nothing gets the attention of a coach more than splash plays and Dangerfield needs to put a few of them on tape Saturday night. The numbers might still work against him in the long run, but we all saw last year how rookie undrafted free agent linebacker Terence Garvin beat the odds by eventually landing on the 53 man roster for the season opener thanks to his solid play on special teams during the preseason.
The Steelers are giving Dangerfield a chance to make a move and it’s up to him to take advantage of it this week against the team that didn’t give him a chance a year ago.