2017 Steelers Pre-Training Camp Roster Review: Safety

The last time that we took a look back at the Pittsburgh Steelers’ roster in review, it was very shortly after the 2016 season ended. It would be safe to say that quite a bit has changed, and, in a rarity, this actually applies to literally every position on the roster, including the quarterbacks and specialists.

We are closing in on the opening of the Steelers’ several weeks of training camp at Saint Vincent College in Latrobe, however, so it would be a good time to pause and take stock of where the team stands at each position as we head into the most critical process of the offseason.

Position: Safety

Total Positional Figure: 7

Additions: 2

Deletions: 1

Players Retained:

Mike Mitchell: The veteran is 30 now and entering his fourth season in Pittsburgh. While many are eager to see him replaced, he is for the time being a cornerstone of their defense and an important leader within the entire defense, and with his peers among the defensive backs in particular.

Sean Davis: It is uncommon for a rookie defender to crack the starting lineup for the Steelers—well, it used to be, anyway. But that is what Davis and two of his draft classmates did last year. He started in the nickel to being the season and then late in the year took over at safety. Major growth is expected in his second season.

Robert Golden: The sixth-year veteran, Golden, is now entering his sixth season with the Steelers. For the time being, he should be viewed as the third safety. He ran with the starters during the spring while Davis recovered from shoulder surgery.

Jordan Dangerfield: Dangerfield had been kicking around for years before he finally made the 53-man roster last year, and I’m sure he is in no hurry to relinquish his roster spot now. To his advantage is the fact that he has proven to be a solid contributor on special teams.

Jacob Hagen: Hagen is a tall safety who has spent time on the practice squad. There are those in the organization who like him, but it’s not at all clear to me that he has a realistic shot of making the roster this season.

Players Added:

Daimion Stafford: A veteran safety who has played the third safety role, Stafford was signed late in the offseason and will be more fully acclimated into the scheme during training camp.

Terrish Webb: A rookie undrafted free agent, Webb is very raw in some key aspects of his game. If they were deeper at safety, I would say he’s on the shortlist to be cut when they need to make a move.

Players Lost:

Shamarko Thomas: Thomas spent four years in Pittsburgh, carving out a niche for himself as a gunner on special teams, but he never lived up to the expectations that were placed on him when they traded a third-rounder for him to draft him in the fourth round in 2013.

Notes and Camp Outlook: 

There is no competition to be had in the starting lineup. Mitchell and Davis are the guys there. But pretty much everything beyond that is up for grabs, and that could be particularly important this summer as the Steelers contemplate making greater use of the third safety.

About the Author

Matthew Marczi

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

  • Big White

    Would not surprise me to see William Gay get some looks as the “Third Safety”. We know he’s smart and he’s an underrated blitzer.

    9 games started 58 total tackles 42 solo

    “Steelers CB William Gay allowed the fewest yards per coverage snap among AFC North cornerbacks last season.” – PFF

  • cencalsteeler

    Thumbing through some of 2016’s games, I really paid attention to some of the glaring needs I thought where the D could use improvement. Overall, they really improved during the last stretch and I only see 3 areas that could use upgrading. 1. Tackling 2. Tighter coverage in the flat/slant areas. 3. Slot coverage and TE coverage in between the hashes, especially in the deeper area of the field. I really thought outside the hashes, the corners did a hell of a job. I have alot of hope for Sean Davis. He seems to have a keen sense of the game, he just needs time on the grass to hone his craft some. The rest of the lineup is very average for me. It reminds me of the days of Redman and Dwyer as our backs. You put a stud back there like Bell and things change dramatically as we have all seen.

  • colingrant

    I nominate Mike Mitchell as the most under appreciated current Steeler and top 3 over the last 10 years. His on-field zealousness coupled with his inaugural year, double groin pull season while figuring out how to play alongside an aging Troy P, has greatly overshadowed his toughness, leadership and overall quiet, business-like off field demeanor. By no means a pro-bowler but certainly one of the more solid safeties you can win with in the league.

  • colingrant

    The undisputed leader of the underappreciated team, holding the title for multiple years over the last 10, although I think over the last 3 or so, that has waned quite a bit. Three to six years back, unanimous.

  • Robert E Lil

    I’m well aware I am on an ‘island’ on this one.

    But Derelle Revis would be an upgrade to the secondary. Somewhere – he’d be an upgrade

  • John Pennington

    No way will Gay play safety.He couldn’t cover at his spot last season and his tackling in the open field is bad.Dont say much for the guys fighting for a spot at safety if they lose it to Gay.Lot of big plays coming with Mitchell and Gay nightmare show .

  • Michael Mosgrove

    Golden 3rd? No.

  • Matthew Marczi

    Given that he was running with the starters all offseason so far while Davis was out of team drills, what other conclusion is there to reach?