Steelers Training Camp Recap: Safeties

Now that the 2017 Pittsburgh Steelers training camp has concluded, we’re recapping everything that went down over these past 16 practices. We’ll break down each play, position-by-position, with final winners and losers at the end. Our last position group – safety. Tomorrow, we’ll write the final winners and losers to put a bow on camp.

Safety

Mike Mitchell: Unfortunately, his camp was cut short. An hamstring/ankle injury – it was never made entirely clear to me – suffered on the first day of padded practice during seven shots and we never saw him in a jersey again. It’s entirely possible he missed the rest of the preseason. That’s unfortunate but at least he’s a vet in a more experienced secondary. Had he missed last year, it would’ve been a much bigger problem.

Camp Grade: Incomplete

Sean Davis: Davis’ camp got off to a quiet start though it can be tough for safeties to regularly make noise. But he ended on a hot note, providing great run support, dishing out a couple of big hits, and making plays on throws in the end zone. Saved what was a milquetoast week-and-a-half. There’s still a lot he has to prove once the regular season begins but he’s off to a solid start.

Camp Grade: B

Robert Golden: Golden is still Golden. The best tackling safety on the team, maybe the best tackler period the Steelers have, whose run fits are always good and is rarely out of place. There should be no denying that. But he’s not much of a playmaker in coverage and I’m not sure if I can think of one play he made against the pass. He’s solid, not spectacular. Fine for depth, an issue when he’s pressed into a starting role.

Camp Grade: B-

Jordan Dangerfield: We aren’t counting the Atlanta Falcons in this grade but that was obviously a spectacular game for him, become the first Steeler since Anthony Smith in 2006 to record two picks in a preseason contest. Dangerfield continued to fly around against the run and be a standout special teamer. Mike Tomlin also pointed out he took on a leadership role, being more vocal on defense, and you could hear his voice stand out in practice.

Camp Grade: B

Jacob Hagen: A nice camp for Hagen, who would have to bring a chainsaw in order to carve out a roster spot initially but someone you are likely to see dress for the team around mid-season. If the team keeps four safeties on the 53 and someone goes down, Hagen will get the call-up and likely dress right away. He, similar to Davis, strung together a couple even more impressive practices, picking off one pass and breaking up several passes. Maybe he’s the new Dangerfield; the unknown who hung around and impressed enough to eventually earn his spot. He’s the Lewis Black of football – took him awhile to get noticed but when you do, you think, this guy has some talent.

Camp Grade: B+

Terrish Webb: I will say this about Webb. Watching him play at Pitt, I thought he had some really bad tape. So bad that I thought there was a chance he wouldn’t even make it to camp. But he did, didn’t miss a practice, and looked better than I thought. Good tackler in space, had to make a couple third-level tackles and filled the alley. Didn’t see much in coverage, and he still wasn’t that noteworthy,

Camp Grade: C

Malik Golden: Golden was quickly ushered in to replaced the retired Daimion Stafford. Golden tested as a plus athlete out of Penn State and it showed during camp. Definitely a better athlete than Webb with better ball skills. He’s also arguably just as good a tackler with much more range, vertically and sideline to sideline. If it wasn’t for Hagen, Golden might have had a shot at the practice squad.

Camp Grade: C+ 

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.

  • Tristana

    Robert Golden got torched. I think he need to be replaced by Hagen. I still have no clue why he is above Dangerfield on the depth chart, too.

  • Mark

    I just rewatched the ATL game and the attempted tackles by Gay, Golden, Burns, and Davis on the 3rd down dump off pass to the TE for 15 yard gain and 1st down was horrible.

  • Shane Mitchell

    Not sure why Mike Hilton is left off the list? He said in his locker room interview he rotated between slot and SS in camp and played snaps at SS against the Falcons.

  • Alex Kozora

    Because Hilton was written about with the CBs?

    The only time Hilton played SS was on some fire zones where the safety was blitzing/buzzing and they traded spots. Gay did it too. Nothing very unique about it relative to what’s been done in the past.

  • Shane Mitchell

    Yeah I assumed thats what he meant also, rotating with a trap coverage, but went back and watched the interview and he said he was lining up some at SS in camp. He didnt play at all in any base defense in camp at a safety position only slot that you saw? If they were going to use him some place other than slot it would be a safety position not outside CB.

  • Brian Miller

    I think a B for Golden is verrrryyyy generous…he may be a great tackler but he is a liability in coverage, and that was definitely exposed against Atlanta.

  • Alex Kozora

    Hilton is referring to the same thing. No “traditional” use at SS in camp. Slot only.

  • srdan

    Anthony smith reference, sweet

  • Shane Mitchell

    I can not recall ever having a DB on the team that only backed up at the slot position on our active roster.

  • Alex Kozora

    I would imagine it’s a “in case of emergency” only. If anything, if they needed to, my guess is Gay would play safety and Hilton would bump into the slot.

  • Steve Johnson

    Robert Golden is overrated. Pass Defense! They need safeties that can cover, he is better in coverage than Golden or Hagen. Play the best players!

  • SilverSteel

    I would also like to see Hagen get some significant reps in this game. Let him get his feet wet.

  • Shane Mitchell

    Not sure why Prisuta asked him about playing safety, that was odd?????

  • Beaver Falls Hosiery

    Great job Alex – this ws a good way to compare players within their position groups.

  • John A Stewart

    When he let Jay Cutler run over him I knew he wasn’t Steeler material.