Our Pittsburgh Steelers Training Camp Previews wind down with a look at the safety position. Like other positions on the defense, the top two here are easy to select but after that, the depth is definitely in question.
Other Position Previews: Click Here.
By The Numbers
2019 Opponent Passing Yards: 3,113 (3rd)
2019 Opponent Passing Yards Per Attempt: 6.7 (T-6th)
2019 Pass Rush: 54 sacks (1st) (*3rd year in a row leading the league)
2019 Opponent Rushing Yards: 1,753 (14th)
2018 Opponent Rushing Yards Per Carry: 3.8 (3rd)
2019 Rushing yards Allowed per Game: 109.6 (14th)
Minkah Fitzpatrick (3 seasons)
The former All-America from Alabama made his way to the Steelers via trade early in the 2019 season. His presence made an IMMEDIATE impact as the Pittsburgh Defense improved drastically against the pass and in turnover creation. He is still on his rookie contract which makes him even more valuable to the Steelers for the time being. His ability to cover, communicate and tackle were sorely needed on Keith Butler’s unit.
Terrell Edmunds (3 seasons)
The former first rounder has been durable if nothing else but he enters a year that is critical for him in terms of his future in the Steel City. His speed and aggressiveness have never been a question. The biggest things he needs to do his prove he can tackle consistently and create turnovers. If he can become the ‘Robin’ to Fitzpatrick’s ‘Batman’ then the sky is limit for Edmunds.
Jordan Dangerfield (4 seasons)
We have always seen Dangerfield as a box safety. This means he’s a guy that is best up in the box to play the run. His ability to cover, whether in man to man or in zone is not his strong suit. Should he be required to play any length of time as a deep safety the Steelers are in trouble. Where Dangerfield makes an impact though is on special teams where he is always counted on for communication and being consistent.
Marcus Allen (2 seasons)
We still don’t know what to make of Allen after a few years in Pittsburgh. He doesn’t possess the NFL-type coverage skills that are needed and he isn’t a good enough tackler to slide down in the box on a routine basis. His tenure in Pittsburgh will rest solely on how other players perform around him because the Steelers already know what he can do.
Antoine Brooks, Jr
The Steelers’ sixth round selection out of Maryland is going to be a very interesting subject to study this season. He’s a fast, aggressive player who struggles in man-to-man coverage. With serious depth questions at linebacker, Brooks could fit perfectly into ‘dime’ backer role where he can play downhill or be asked to cover in zone where he’s serviceable. I think he immediately jumps ahead of Allen.
Also Arriving in 2020
John Battle, Curtis Riley
Go ahead and pencil in Fitzpatrick and Edmunds as your starters. Dangerfield has too much value on special teams to be sent packing especially in the current Training Camp environment where there are no preseason games. Brooks will either be on the active roster or could be one of those ‘protected’ players on the practice squad. Allen I don’t hold out a lot of hope for. Riley started all 16 games for the New York Giants in 2018 and recorded four interceptions. Last year he was in Oakland where he played in all 16 games but started just three. He’s a former cornerback that could push for some time considering his experience. Battle is much younger and has experience in just about every role in the secondary. He faces uphill odds however with such a strange preseason.
Roster: Fitzpatrick, Edmunds, Dangerfield, Brooks, Riley