The One Big Problem The Steelers’ Defense Hasn’t Solved

There’s no question the Pittsburgh Steelers made attempts to upgrade their defense this offseason. Two defensive players, Cam Sutton and T.J. Watt, selected with the team’s first three picks. Ridding themselves of Jarvis Jones, who only held the pass rush back. And going with more youthful legs in Vince Williams, who should perform at a similar level as Lawrence Timmons.

Tack on the progression Stephon Tuitt, Javon Hargrave, Artie Burns, Sean Davis, and Bud Dupree will see and there’s reason for optimism.

Except one thing. And it’s a big one.

Without adding a safety to the mix, the Steelers’ defense still doesn’t have an answer for the new-age tight ends. They tried to fix it. The safeties they looked at in the pre-draft process were all rated highly: Josh Jones, Marcus Maye, Jabrill Peppers, Obi Melinfonwu. The organization wasn’t looking for just depth or an eventual replacement for Mike Mitchell. It was to bring someone in for their dime packages day one.

When that didn’t work out – perhaps the closest they got was Jones being scooped off the board one pick ahead in the second round – they moved on. It was the right move, a worthwhile gamble, that didn’t pay off.

But it’s still a problem. One without a solution.

As we’ve written several times, the Steelers have tried to run dime packges the past two years with Robert Golden manning that spot. But Golden isn’t the right guy for it, unable to match up with top-tier athletic tight ends like Rob Gronkowski. Gronkowski’s the obvious name to talk about but far from the only one.

In their own division, they’ll be matching up against Tyler Eifert and now David Njoku, drafted by the Browns, twice a year. They’ve handled Eifert well-enough but he’s still a headache. Njoku is 246 pounds running 4.64 and jumped 37.5 inches at the Combine.

Who handles him?

It can’t always be Mitchell and Davis. Especially on third and long if the Steelers want to run a two high shell, something they often did, and play 2 Man. Or when offenses go empty and isolate matchups, exposing your weakest ones. That’s been the blueprint of the New England Patriots and the Steelers seldom have an answer. Force a starting safety on a tight end every time and you limit yourself schematically.

These issues don’t happen just within the division either. The entire schedule is littered with that type of threat. Kyle Rudolph in Week 2. Travis Kelce – again – four weeks later. Eric Ebron in Week 8. Martellus Bennett in late November and Gronkowski pays the Steelers another visit in what’s likely to be a pivotal Week 15 throwdown. Gronk and Kelce are two players the team could easily see in the playoffs just as they did in 2016.

That’s not to say all those guys are as good as Gronk. Ebron, for example, isn’t. But the principle, and the matchup, remains the same. Height/weight/speed tight ends who pose a threat on every down. And if Golden is the answer to that again, the defense is worse off for it.

At least last year, they toyed with the idea of using Justin Gilbert to moderate success against the Chiefs. I’m not certain they even have a guy like that on the roster this time around. Coty Sensabaugh? Brian Allen is too raw to handle that.

It was the perfect year to bring in that type of player. It’s why signing Timmons to decent money and Dont’a Hightower to elite coin didn’t make sense. Do that and you obligate yourself to playing him on every down, making the dime safety a tough position to use. With Timmons gone and Hightower thankfully passed over, Vince Williams was the perfect two-down linebacker. Cheap, strong against the run, physical as anyone. It made schematic and financial sense to bring in the top-tier dime safety.

This position is an ever-popular one in the league and a hole many teams have filled. Pittsburgh, unfortunately, is still on the outside looking in. To steal the line from George Carlin.

It’s a big club. And you ain’t in it.

I get it. They tried, they clearly wanted to, but it didn’t happen. It’s unfortunate.

And it’s going to hold this defense back in 2017.

About the Author

Alex Kozora

Full-time blogger from mom’s basement. Marrying tape and statistics. Chidi Iwuoma is my favorite Steeler of all-time.

  • Steel Realist PAul

    If that’s the ONLY issue this defense will face in 2017, I’m okay with that. But I don’t think that’s the case. I think the defensive backfield is going to struggle in different ways. They just don’t have enough at the CB position. Also see ILB as the spot they could have used for covering TEs.

  • george

    And I guess there are no more FA safeties on the market that would be an upgrade to Golden?

  • Slab

    Here’s hoping that by Week 15 and the playoffs Brian Allen is ready to fill that niche role.

  • blackandgoldBullion

    Alex, I have beeen thinking along the same lines for years. This league has become so highly specialized in the way they use different guys in different situations. Scatbacks and small, quick WRs, along with big move TEs and bigger WRs. I honestly think you need a variety of defenders. Here’s an example.

    AJ Green is a stud, but does not have sudden change of direction like AB, so he will kill you if you let him get up to speed and with his height. Cockrell is not a stud CB but can do a great job nearly shutting him down, because he has the right charactertics. But if he has to guard a guy with sudden moves, he will allow separation.

    Burns seems to be in the middle as well. A Gay type guy in his prime or Golson (If he can ever get on the field) would be good against the smaller, faster types.

    Now back to the dilemma of covering the big boy TEs. Gilbert had good success and could have been used as a 3rd or 4th CB only in the 6 or 7 games that he would be required. The rest of the time he’s on the bench. Could Shazier be used to cover the big TE? Possibly. Is there a safety that could handle the job? I doubt it, unless he covers him underneath and another safety is keying on him going deep. Quite the predicament.

    My conclusion? You need different types to cover different receivers, and once you figure it out you could play more man coverage slowing them from getting quickly into their routes. The extra half second would allow the pass rush to disrupt the QB much more often. Therefore they are virtually one good player away from being a much, much better D……. a potentially hampionship D if the O finally lives up to their potential.

  • blackandgoldBullion

    Shazier is faster than any TE. Can he change direction fast enough to shut them down? Perhaps he could limit them.

  • Dubb Betts

    All we can do now is hope and pray Senquez plays like he did in college. He was able to cover bigger te’s in college. I know it’s a big difference and the injuries, it’s a long shot. I’m just saying he could be the guy.

  • Jason

    That’s a big stretch but I’ll hold out hope as well.

  • cencalsteeler

    You hit the nail on the head with this article, Alex. Nice write up!

  • Brenton deed

    Can’t disagree

  • Brenton deed

    Get Deebo to glare at gronk at the line of scrimmage and say “I’m going soon but I need one more scalp. Try and catch a pass … I dare you!”

  • Boots

    We have a different definition of try. You say they tried and it didn’t work out, I say they prepared to try and then did nothing. Yours will sound much better after another TE is three steps ahead of our defender running down the seam for an easy TD, though!

  • John Phillips

    Put Tomlin in there.
    Maybe it’ll keep him off TV making more stupid remarks about the Pats.

  • Steelers12

    why we didn’t pull the trigger on Obi Melinfonwu has been on my mind

  • Hagen Rinde

    very nice but scary analysis. Me myself hoped for Obi wan…. dindn’t happen unfortunately… Would Troy be that man back in the days? Serious question.. bad english, sorry…

  • falconsaftey43

    Why can’t Shazier and Davis handle those duties? Why do we need a third safety to do it? It’s not like the offense is going to say, oh by the way, we’re throwing to the TE on this play, so make sure to pull Williams off the field and put your dime safety out there.

  • Matt

    He’s never been that good in coverage. Speed helps, but there’s more to pass coverage than just speed.

  • WreckIess

    Because he wasn’t worth a first rounder. Sure he tested well, but a lot of people seem to forget that he’s raw as hell.

  • tcirish53@gmail.com

    Did they REALLY try?
    Obi was there for the taking in rd1. So was Josh Jones and others mentioned.
    So why didn’t they take one of those guys at 30?

  • tcirish53@gmail.com

    Great point. My guess is no since this appears to be a unique skill set.

  • Matt

    I agree with your point about ILB being a spot where they could get a guy to cover TE’s. But the only ILB that was out in this draft that I think could consistently match up well against opposing TE’s in pass coverage would have been Jarrad Davis. He was off the board well before the Steelers picked.

    I haven’t seen as much of Cunningham and Foster’s pass coverage. Possible they were options too. But Foster has a shoulder problem and because of that, I think the Steelers were right not to use a 1st round pick on him.

    Cunningham was a possibility in round 1. But I’m not going to second guess the choice of Watt over Cunningham in Rd 1. I was pretty optimistic that he or one of the big safety types would be on the board for the Steelers when they picked in round 2. I’m pretty sure if that was the case, the Steelers would have at least thought long and hard about grabbing them before picking JuJu.

  • WreckIess

    Because we needed a pass rusher and done of those guys were better than Watt. A hybrid safety wasn’t the top priority. It was probably third under an OLB and a nickel corner.

  • tcirish53@gmail.com

    Personally I feel that even if you DO NOT have that kind of player capable of staying with a Gronk, you can still combat it by being more aggressive at the LOS.
    Playing zone (if that’s what you call our DBs lining up ten plus yards from the guy you are ‘covering’!) may work for most games but Brady has proven time and again that it DOESN’T work against him.
    Put our DBs up in the faces of Gronk and that little s**t Edelman, don’t let them have ten yards to get up to speed or into their patterns.
    The only bad thing that can happen is the get burned.

    And, of course, that’s ALREADY happening!!!

    So what do you have to lose at this point?

  • Michael Mosgrove

    to be fair tomlin has never been on tv making remarks about the pats. one was an attendee to his invocation at william and mary, the other was ab.

  • tcirish53@gmail.com

    Exactly. If they were soooooo hot for this kind of player, they could have been had at 30. Both Obi and Josh Jones were there for the taking.

  • tcirish53@gmail.com

    I have asked this several times now, particularly as it pertains to Shazier!

  • Jaybird

    We can’t beat NE for many more reasons than Gronkowski. They killed us without him last year. Too many blown coverages- two Steelers covering three patriots, lack of discipline- Mitchell getting burned on a flea flicker, and overall inexperience combined with a lack of talent.
    I think the defense will be better in that Burns and Davis will improve over last year, and Dupree and Watt will improve the pass rush along with Hargrave. I’m just not sure we have enough talent in the secondary still. I think Mitchell is a liability and the slot is a huge question mark. Hopefully Golson / Sutton can help there ( fingers crossed) .
    I also think this offense will finally help the defense this year and score some frigging points and take the pressure off the D. The Cowboys defense stunk last year but the O scored a lot , gave them some decent leads and held the ball , and made the defenses job a whole lot easier.

  • Jaybird

    Shazier did pretty good against that Washington TE -Reed.

  • Hagen Rinde

    I’m perfectly fine with OLB in the first and Watt was my first guy. I really think they would have taken Olb no matter what… or nearly…

  • WreckIess

    It’s an issue, but what are you gonna? It’s hard to make Shazier an option since he’s the weak side LB and having him come over from that position to try to guard a strong side TE would be an awful idea for a bunch of reasons. So unless they want to move Shazier to Buck (which is another awful idea) they either have to trust Golden or Dangerfield in that role.

  • SfSteeler

    which puts the positive PFF stats on Cockrell and Artie into full context…between the numbers, any average QB can eat us up…

  • Hagen Rinde

    btw, who do the other teams have? Unfortunately it costs me a fortune to follow other teams (europe)
    Is this really just steelers related?

  • tcirish53@gmail.com

    Yup exactly my point – I think they PASSED on those guys in favor of a pass rusher (Watt).
    They obviously would have liked to have BOTH but they prioritized pass rusher over coverage.

  • Hagen Rinde

    the obviuos “move shazier to safety” no go 🙂

  • blackandgoldBullion

    Agreed. 100%.

  • falconsaftey43

    But why is it an awful idea. You’re basically taking V.Williams off the field and replacing him with Golden as the buck. I don’t see why it wouldn’t be better to let Shazier slide over to cover the TE and have Williams stay on the field. Honest question, there may be some obvious reason that doesn’t work, but I can’t think of one.

  • RickM

    I trust your analysis and just hope the existing guys can perform well enough that we don’t get burned too often.

  • budabar

    Maybe B Allen will be the answer height length and speed to cover them

  • Jason McDonald

    I feel Trey Boston would be an upgrade over Golden. We brought him in for a visit but did not sign him. That may have been due to him affecting our potential comp pick for losing Timmons if signed before today, or maybe I am being optimistic. Do not think he would start for us but would be an upgrade on sub packages

  • falconsaftey43

    Not to go off on an Obi tangent, I don’t get the “raw” characterization. Guy started 4 years, tackled very well, seemed to take good angles to the ball vs. run and pass, and generally contested throws. What did you see as his very “raw” abilities? Only thing I really noticed was he could be a little slow to react at times, but I wasn’t convinced it wasn’t him being patient, as he usually showed up on time because of his elite athletic ability.

  • Justin B

    Hope is never a good strategy, but i guess it is all we have.

  • Xclewsive

    Neutralizing “new age” TEs is schematic more than individual. If there is a chance at stopping those players it’s on Shazier in tandem with SS/FS

  • H.K. northern cali

    Pass rush?

  • Marcel Chris Chauvet

    And Tom Brady checks to the run on 3rd and 8. Or, they pick up the 1st and quickly go no huddle because they recognize that the middle of your defense is now comprised of the run stuffing duo of Shazier and Golden. Either you get gashed for a big run or you burn a timeout to substitute.
    The problem isn’t that it couldn’t work. It’s that, against the better quarterbacks, you’ll get exposed.

  • steelburg

    Hindsight is 20/20. It’s easy to say we should have taken one of those guys now that we know that they didn’t make it to our second round pick. Both guys landed at the end of the second round. So the team had the appropriate grade on both of them and we just narrowly missed them. The team needed a OLB, S, and CB in the first three rounds we only got 2 of the 3 they will find away to get the job done with the guys they have.

  • LucasY59

    Cardinals (Riddick) and Ratbirds (Bowser) got guys that should develop into good coverage LBs, but both are going to transition from playing outside so wont be great right away but both have the athleticism to be really good

  • LucasY59

    not really any that would be good against TEs (those guys have value so they are already with teams instead of on the street looking for a job)

  • LucasY59

    I think he could end up being the best option

  • JohnB

    I really don’t see how a 3rd string safety or “hybrid” player is the difference. I think the idea of a hybrid player is a silly gimmick. You think a hybrid player is going to stump Tom Brady?! what other teams have this hybrid player? and why arnt they winning the superbowls? we had the best “hybrid” player in Troy, but a player of that caliber comes once in a blue moon. I’m not going to get mad at them for not drafting a safety high cause we have two capable young men in the backfield now which means limited snaps the first two years. Drafting high for a situational player is dumb to me. In my opinion we need to scheme better for the TEs.

  • Steve Johnson

    They clearly wanted to? Maybe they did; they picked at #30, they could have had Jones then. So what if it was a reach, you trying to tell me they haven’t done it before? Did they try and move up? We don’t know, but I’m going to assume they didn’t because as Colbert likes to say “it’s not the Steeler way.” Are you kidding me? Why keep all eight picks to just release two or three of them anyway? This was the draft to fix the secondary and Colbert didnt. I’m not complaining about Watt or Schuster-Smith, or Sutton and Brian Davis. But that team was close, waisting a 4th Rd pick on a QB? SMH!

  • Steve Johnson

    Not unless a high price Veteran becomes a Cap Casualty. But this nothing new, the Steelers have never valued the DB position under Kevin Colbert.

  • Steve Johnson

    Great Optimism, I’m pulling for Sutton and Allen.

  • Alex Kozora

    5’8 on 6’5+? No thanks.

  • Alex Kozora

    What’s the difference? They looked into the position. No one fell to them. Peppers was gone, Jones was gone. Melifonwu/Maye clearly not guys the league valued for pick 30.

  • Alex Kozora

    Well I already explained Davis above. And Shazier, I dunno, they haven’t asked him to do it very much. With him blitzing or taking a back, he doesn’t always get to match up on the TE.

  • Steve Johnson

    No. Last year leading up to the AFCCG, Tomlin was asked to comment on Pittsburgh’s inability to defend Tom Brady in the past. That arrogant (Bleep) had the audacity to tell the reporter this “well, they’ve never faced me in the playoffs.” Are you kidding me Mike?

  • Alex Kozora

    Daniel Sorensen in KC is my favorite example. Tartt in SF does it. Chung in NE plays in the box a ton. Bruton did it when he was in Denver. Then you have guys like Bucannon and Barron who really are every down LBs but that safety mold/athleticism. List goes on and on.

  • Alex Kozora

    It’s not a gimmick. Getting a top athlete as an answer is not a gimmick.

    No one says you get a Lombardi *just* for having one. That’s silly.

  • cencalsteeler

    When running a 2 high shell with a 2 TE set, those safties have to to spy those TE’s and play more aggressive, anticipating that ball to be in the 15 yard range just beyond lb coverage. They’re playing too consevative, back peddling too far, which is creating those windows. Even if you get beat, a good safety can recover and has a fighting chance to high point and tip/break up the pass. As it sits now, they play so deep that teams just nickle and dime the crap out of us all the way down the field.
    When in man, Mitchell may be our best option with TE coverage. His best assett, imo, is within 15-20 yards from the los.
    Jam the receiver/TE., Play tighter coverage in zone and incorporate man to man coverage, but I can’t stress enough our weakness is playing loose zone coverage. It has to tighten up or we’ll see more of the same in 18.

  • Steeldog22

    Brian you have to learn one thing this year and that’s how to play in the dime. Try and simplify.

  • JohnB

    A top athlete coming to be a third string safety isnt a gimmick, the “hybrid” talk is. You want to bring a guy in whos job is mostly to cover TEs? I know you don’t get a Lombardi for just having one. But who was the Patriots hybrid player? who was the falcons? packers? Its not a must have as its seems to be made out to be. We need to do a better job of covering TEs but I don’t think one “hybrid” player is going to change that.

  • StolenUpVotes

    Probably because we drafted our next impact pass rusher

  • StrengthOfVictory

    Tomlin has often emphasized the importance of reducing a star player’s impact, rather than trying to take him out of a game altogether (which is often a fool’s errand). He doesn’t care what the stat sheet says about a player’s number of completions or yards, so long as that player isn’t actually beating the Steelers when/where it counts. (For instance, I dare any team to try scheming to take Brown out of a game this season like Miami did. Bryant, Bell, Green, and JuJu will eat them alive for doing so.)

    On the whole, the Steelers have had success with this “reduce, don’t remove” approach—except when it comes to New England. Credit BB for identifying who the Steelers are paying special attention to and getting someone else the ball. Or in the case of Gronk, he just breaks all the traditional TE rules, making him tricky to handle.

    My hope is that, if the Steelers do incorporate more man coverage (successfully), one safety can hover to Gronk’s side of the field, giving help down the seam and over the top. I recall back in 2011, Troy got VERY physical with Gronk. He plays the tough guy, but I don’t think he likes taking hits.

  • Steeldog22

    Watt was simply the highest rated player with a consideration to need. Once Tre White came off the board, Watt was going to be picked (and he only fell to us because Dallas took Taco and Green Bay traded out).

  • Steelers12

    Thank you, i know pass rushing was on the agenda but there were plenty of options later

  • Steelers12

    Just like Watt

  • Alex Kozora

    You’re too focused on the semantics. Call it what you want but yeah, give me the safety on 3rd and 7 over Vince Williams. Do you disagree with that? Would you rather have VW on the field?

  • Alex Kozora

    I believe they viewed Watt as a 1st round and Jones/Maye/Melifonwu as 2nd rounders. That made the decision easy.

  • Alex Kozora

    Eh, but the safety can’t just key in on the tight end either. Two high shell, probably not going to be responsible for the TE down the seam. They have to hit their landmarks and protect vertically too.

  • JohnB

    No I get that. But a top pick for a situational player? that’s a tough sell for me.

  • falconsaftey43

    Exactly, match up players on defense don’t work IMO. You have to be able to do everything, or else good offenses/coaches will attach what you’re poor at. Now you can get away with more on 3rd and long, but you need to get there to begin with.

  • falconsaftey43

    Well why not put Golden back as the deep safety to free up Davis to play over the TE? It would seem to be a better option than asking Golden to try to follow the TE around. IDK, just seems like if you have two athletes in Davis and Shazier that should be able to execute the task, you should be able to figure out the scheme where you can have one of them doing it, at least most of the time.

  • falconsaftey43

    Do you know who else they normally have on the field with those guys? For instance, if Bucannon is usually paired with Minter, as the ILBs, I don’t see how that’s any different than pairing Shazier and Williams. Same with Sorensen and like David Johnson.

  • Cwallace

    Absolutely as simple as that and preferably up the middle when playing the Brady bunch.

  • falconsaftey43

    Well, I think the idea is they’d be situational year 1, and next year they’d replace Mitchel.

  • Ni mo

    If Tomlin run the Tampa 2 right with 4 linemen instead of 2 maybe they can beat NE

  • falconsaftey43

    Well Dupree would be a 4-3 lineman, as would Watt likely. Would it make you feel better if they were in 3 point stance vs 2? Not saying they’ve had a good pass rush, but this is not why.

  • RickM

    In the end, I don’t think they viewed it as a big enough priority. They could easily have gotten it done had they wanted to based on all the trades that occurred in Rounds 1 and 2. They must feel comfortable enough with what they have.

  • WreckIess

    Because while it helps keep two bigger bodies on the field and allows Shaz to work on the TE in coverage it also exposes the guy who struggles to get off of blocks to get off of blocks and forces VW would isn’t the most rangy to be rangy. What you might potentially gain in the pass game is going to hurt in the run game. I’d rather take the for sure upgrade in the pass game with the hit vs the run as opposed to a maybe when you move Shazier over.

  • Alex Kozora

    You could do that but I hate idea of moving Davis around again. He struggled when asked to play in those different roles, including slot, where he’d kinda be doing in this scenario. I want him to grow into one position.

  • Alex Kozora

    That’s why I said Bucannon is an every down LB. Doesn’t really count as much. But Sorensen, no, he isn’t their every down guy. Comes in for those sub-packages. I imagine Peppers may do the same over in Cleveland.

  • Alex Kozora

    This. You break the pick down into short-term and long-term plans.

    And if it’s a guy who can help me in the biggest areas? Third down, 2 minute offense, red zone? Yeah, I’ll gladly burn a pick on that. Better than getting chewed up by Kelce and Gronk again and again.

  • falconsaftey43

    They’ll have to move him around at some point, or else he’s not going to cut it as the starter. I get that he struggled last year, but he was a rookie. I’d hope he can expand his role a little more this year. I have no idea how they’ll actually handle these situations this year, but at least on paper this would seem to be the best option to me.

  • Marcel Chris Chauvet

    Man under 2 deep won’t work against the athletic tight ends you’re referring to. 2 man calls for the guys covering to play trail technique. The seam will be wide open. And how are you gonna defend Grokowski from trail technique without a safety in the middle of the field? You’d have to be 6’8″.

    You have to defend these guys from a single high look.

  • Brian Miller

    Agreed….plenty of good decisions he made during the season, and they had him with quite a bit of responsibilities. UCON tape was especially good.

  • cencalsteeler

    Nothing you say is untrue and by all means that is most likely how it’s drawn up. But, you have to consider instincts, too. He could recognize formations and tendencies, keep his head on a swivel with the wr’s and read the QB. You don’t necessarily have to hit landmarks if your wideouts are running curls or crossing patterns.

  • WreckIess

    Raw is probably the wrong word. The word I’m looking for is unrefined. His combine was great, but people looking at him like he’s this can’t miss, for sure day one, home run hit or a pick who already has it all together are wrong. As a FS, he’s good he has the speed to play sideline to sideline his ball skills are good enough, but a hybrid safety type everything that’s not filling an alley and making a tackle needs work for him. He’s a big guy so turning and running is an issue as is sticking in coverage and shedding blocks in the run game.

    Obviously those issues are fixable, but that makes for a guy who’s a day one prospect at FS, but not so much in the box.

  • Taylor Williams

    Lol we got burned on their flea flicker so many times, dating back to 2007.
    The only way we beat the pats is to press cover the receivers and sack Brady. We did exactly that in 2011.

  • LucasY59

    yep it seems like its either Davis or Allen (maybe Shazier) all in certain situations, but anyone else just wont be able to do much to stop the big athletic TEs

  • LucasY59

    he doesnt have to move to Safety, he would just cover the TE in certain schemes which is what they normally have the ILBs do in certain situations

  • LucasY59

    Cinci uses Iloka as a normal Safety, but he is good in coverage against TEs, Chancellor in Seattle as well, but he is more of a in the box guy than a coverage guy

  • WreckIess

    Difference being that an OLB was the bigger need and a part time safety was a bit of a want.

  • Steelers12

    I respect your opinion but when Gronk and other TEs light us up again remember this

  • Justin Barlow

    What is wrong with dropping Mitchell or Davis down to the box on 3rd down and having Gay play deep safety??

  • TroymanianDevil

    We need this type of player on the team. You can argue where he should be drafted if you want. I’d spend a 1st rounder on a player that will get good playing time, and is a key to winning a Super Bowl.

  • Mark G Hunter

    My thing is if the Steelers are gonna try to create pressure by only rushing 4. You already have Watts and Dupree ,(he’s doing the work to improve his pass rushing moves) who i think are gonna be more than capable in both pass rush and TE coverage. I mean at any giving time one or both can rush or drop in coverage. And chip or double the TE with a safety. However it’s gonna depend on how Butler schemes and disguises his coverages. Also I see Watt possibly developing into a Jack Ham type of player. Good at rushing and pass coverage. We can all hope that’s the case. If so problem solved. Well some what… Cause he’s yet to play a down in the NFL, it’s obviously just speculation on my behalf. Promising thought though…..

  • Jason

    Yeah nothing like poking the bear.

  • WreckIess

    I would be saying that even if we had Melifonwu and I’d be saying something to the effect of “Wow it sure would be nice to have some consistent pressure.” had we not drafted Watt.

  • TrappenWeisseGuy ;

    I’m crossing my fingers that Allen’s only real Achilles heel is his tackling technique. I can live with the occasional poor tackle from him if he can run with the big dogs and at least be in position to attempt to make the tackle or break up the pass. We know that Golden,Gay and company can’t.

  • Romans5:8

    I still think signing Hightower would have been a good move.

  • Boots

    The difference is effort. Try implies they made an effort to affect the outcome, and they didn’t. They sat back and “let the draft come to us” which is hoping not trying.

  • TroymanianDevil

    Hey I’m finally getting around to this, sorry about forgetting. We had bragging rights on line of whether or not Tyus Bowser would go top 50. And you won, with him going at 47. Yet another reason to hate the Ravens. I feel like had they not taken him, I would’ve been in the clear, ( maybe Washington at 49). Either way congrats. And let’s hope that with him now on the Ravens, I was right in thinking he wasn’t that good haha

  • Alex Kozora

    haha, by the skin of my teeth. I was getting nervous!

  • Alex Kozora

    Well Gay is going to have to start playing safety for starters. And I don’t think he has the athleticism you want out there in that much space.

  • Gilgalad

    Alex-
    What do you feel is the reason the Steelers traditionally do not often trade to move up the draft order to get a talent they may want? In this case, a hybrid safety type player.

  • capehouse

    I really think it was a big mistake to pass up on the Safety talent in round 1. I would’ve thought, the way the Steelers have tried and failed the last two years trying to run the Dime defense, that they would’ve put a higher priority on finding a Dime player, but instead they went after OLB once again. Only time will tell if it really was a mistake.

  • VaDave

    Alex, we have been in disagreement over this, but the best solution is a better interior pass rush. We have safeties, and we have linebackers. What we don’t have are safeties and linebackers that can cover TEs for 4 seconds plus. Depending on the OLBs to provide QB pressure leaves the passing lanes wide open. and a clean pocket for the QB to step into to but additional time. Until we resolve this, look forward for TE’s running free. BTW, Kelsey was pretty much a non-factor in the Playoff game. What did we do different?

  • SilverSteel

    Raw – Just like our guy Allen, who I think is going to be a sleeper gem and we got him in the 5th. I am also high on 7th pick. Allen looks super ripped and athletic. Put him on Bryant in TC who is big and fast and let him learn to cover big TEs. Or JJSS for that matter – he’s damn near a TE. Someone out of Golson, Allen and Sutton has to be able to cover TEs…

  • capehouse

    You gonna just ignore Budda Baker cause he’s 5-10?

  • capehouse

    Isn’t unrefined and raw basically the same thing?

  • capehouse

    ^ Your *opinion. Not fact.

  • Riverstko

    Instead of drafting a QB they should’ve got a safety, then draft a QB in the 1st round next year. Now they have to go QB or Safety or MLB or TE or CB, hopefully some fans don’t want another OLB

  • capehouse

    Exactly. They should’ve addressed the secondary before pick 94 in the draft.

  • SilverSteel

    Man I love the upside of Allen, He looks like a prototype CB or Athletic Safety for that matter. Can’t wait for camp to start! He will be on the 53.

  • 2winz

    I agree, you only get so many picks and it’s impossible to address every position. We have plenty of positions we needed to fill, and the people saying we should have traded up don’t get that. if we had drafted a safety or any other position.. people would complain “wth why didn’t we draft an olb, watt was on the board, and all the good ones were gone after that.. bla bla bla..” you just can’t win with some people.

  • capehouse

    Silly gimmick? LOL almost every team does it. That’s a trend.

  • capehouse

    Where’s your Justin Bieber profile pic?

  • Steel City Slim

    I’m wondering if Brian Allen is a consideration to be moved to safety with his size?

  • SilverSteel

    Maybe, but Sutton is growing on me quickly.

  • Jaybird

    It sucks picking so low. if we too knew one in the first we don’t get TJ. If anything I think we could have used our 4th round pick to move up in the second. And get a better corner or safety , but I’m not sure they would have been beet talents than JUJU.

  • SilverSteel

    Agreed..we will get creative.

  • Mike Rowan

    Why not Shazier?

  • steelmann58

    I think they will try Allen at CB until he proves he can’t handle the spot… I hope the steelers still keep an eye out for someone who might help in the back end

  • steelmann58

    I think Gay is going to be highting for a spot and hope golson is healthy enough

  • WreckIess

    Well for one, if it was too priority they would’ve taken one with most of them still there at 30. Two, no s*** that’s why I used the word “probably”.

  • WreckIess

    No.

  • WreckIess

    I think he can be a good player, but I can’t see him becoming that guy this year. He has a lot of ground to make up. I’m rooting for him though.

  • WreckIess

    Nope. Draft season really brings the worst out of all of us. I was the same way last year when we took Artie over Noah Spence.

  • Roger G

    English sounds fine to me, bro

  • TroymanianDevil

    There you go bro

  • TroymanianDevil

    I thought I had it after 45 honestly. Didn’t think any team 45-50 would draft EDGE but there the Ravens were, being all stupid and stuff

  • Ed Smith

    Alex, love ya man but how did they try??? There were safeties available ahead of their pick in Rd 2 but CHOSE to sit. Move up 5 spots and take Obi. Yes lose out on JuJu and although he brings something new and exciting to the offense, this weakness in the D is a bigger issue than the added value JuJu brings on the other side. Another one ahead just 1 spot in Rd 3. Again, FO sits on their hands, watch the type of Safety needed disappear and say it just didn’t work out? We have no viable option for this deficiency. We have options at WR. Yes, chance lose out on Conner waiting until 4th (assuming have to give comp 3rd to move up in 2nd) but again there were serviceable options in Rd 4 at RB. We better score a LOT of points…

  • Justin Barlow

    Why is it so wrong to expect a position switch? Gay can start playing safety then like many other fading corners that extended their career with the position switch. Gay is at his best when the play is in front of him anyway. He basically played safety anyway with all of the cover 3 we played over the years, and he is a smart veteran player that knows this defense very well. What’s the big deal?

    If he is too slow to even play safety why is he on the roster? I think that the signing and drafting of 3 CBs tells us all we need to know on Gay’s future. He is going to move to safety or he is turning in his playbook.

  • Rocksolid20

    Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha , here we go with the Golson hope . When will
    we ever learn ?!

  • 2winz

    yeah, I was like that for shazier, i was so shocked when we picked him! But ever since that, I wont question the front office. Not that they wont make mistakes, but they are as good as anybody when it comes to drafting considering where they pick every year. I did not question them last year, i know that much. they addressed the position everybody knew they would address in the 1st, it just was not a name anyone expected. When they picked Artie, I just remembered when they picked Bell, how everyone wanted lacy.. even Merill Hoge was like this wouldnt be my pick. So I just look at it like dont expect any names, just expect the positions. If you look at it like “they addressed olb, cb, backup rb, wr, even LS” its not too bad as opposed to aw man they didnt draft so and so

  • capehouse

    Oh no you didn’t! lol take it down!

  • capehouse

    It’s funny cause some dink on twitter with a ton of followers, @TheSteelCrew, said after we selected Cam Sutton that he was raw, and I tried to tell him he’s anything but that. Someone else that commented said what’s my definition of raw, and I said unrefined, because they’re the same thing.

  • capehouse

    My bad. Should have clarified that more. “None of those guys are better than Watt” = opinion.

  • WreckIess

    So raw and unrefined are the same thing because you say they’re the same thing? That’s what that story was supposed to convey?

  • WreckIess

    Well yeah, once again, no s***.

  • tcirish53@gmail.com

    But that’s my point.
    If they had getting a $LB/S as the top priority they would have taken Obi at 30. They didn’t, so what does that tell you?
    It tells me that it was NOT their top priority, OLB was….

  • tcirish53@gmail.com

    Exactly. And they should have. But my point is that had they REALLY wanted the S they had the chance but they passed.

  • tcirish53@gmail.com

    Correct. I am not saying they SHOULD have taken Obi.
    I am saying they had a chance to and didn’t.
    That, to me, says that S was a secondary priority to OLB.

  • steelburg

    I thought that was obvious. Was is it not?

  • tcirish53@gmail.com

    Surprisingly, not to all. I mean, I thought so.
    But a lot of folks were on the ‘take the new age S’ train at 30!!

  • capehouse

    Mine and the dictionary’s, yeah.

  • TroymanianDevil

    Haha seriously?!!??! Now you wanna back down. Too late.
    1. I always pay my debts and 2. It aint that bad, probably won’t comment that much anyways since we’re in a lull until training camp.

  • Matt

    I agree. I think folks are focusing waaaaaay to much on where Sutton went in the draft, as opposed to the quality of his play when healthy. Richard Sherman didn’t go in the first 3 rounds of the draft. Neither did Butler. A 1st or 2d round pick isn’t essential. The quality of the player is.

  • Dubb Betts

    He had the Game-Winning Pick Against O.J Howard

  • Dubb Betts

    He picked off first round pick o.j Howard to seal an ole Miss win over Alabama in 2014. 5’8 on 6’6

  • TroymanianDevil

    Well it’s been a month so I can finally change my pic back from Justin Beiber. I know you were not in on the actual bet but our discussion led to the bet so I thought I’d try to guilt you a little 🙂

  • TroymanianDevil

    Alright man, so it’s a few days past a month actually. I kind of forgot about when the month expired actually. But it was definitely harder than I thought it’d be, although that’s b/c I thought it wouldn’t be hard haha. Anyways congrats again. I’ll be plotting my revenge tho so watch out