Scouting Report: Steelers Safety Depth Runs Thin, But Could Be Used to Fill a Void
We're onto the secondary as the Steelers begin camp testing. The safety position is thin, but new roles for young veterans can help shape this depth chart.
Safeties on the Roster
Antoine Brooks Jr.
Is a scouting report necessary for someone who might be the best safety in the NFL? Fitzpatrick is only 23-years-old, has two years left on his rookie contract, and was named the 35th best player on the NFL Top 100.
The only worry that surrounds him is offenses scheming against him. From Weeks 11-17, teams avoided Fitzpatrick at all costs, putting a hit on his stat lines by the end of the year.
So this season, the goal should be to move him around. Year two in Pittsburgh, and getting to work a whole training camp with his coaches, should bring out more of those Troy Polamalu qualities a dominant safety can obtain.
This summer, camp should focus on adjusting the defense to place Fitzpatrick in several positions.
This is the year everyone is expecting that next leap to be made by Edmunds. His third training camp should bring out better coverage skills, and hopefully, help him become a better ball hawk in the back of the defense.
Too many times in 2019, Edmunds watched balls fall through his hands, some into the receiver's hands. 2020 can't allow that to happen anymore, which is where his focus should be.
This is the season to make or break a player like Edmunds. Sean Davis didn't show enough to stay for a second contract, and if the Steelers need to spend money on other aspects of the team, Edmunds is currently at the bottom of the list.
He'll have to take a step forward to make a better impact on this defense.
Jordan Dangerfield and Marcus Allen
The two competing for the backup job will be Dangerfield and Allen. Heading into camp, the two are on different sides of their career and have played different roles up to this point.
For Dangerfield, he's 29-years-old and has spent the last three seasons working as a special teams ace with players like Rosie Nix and Tyler Matakevich.
Now that both are gone, Dangerfield is the most veteran special teamer on the roster and could use that to his advantage when earning a place on the team.
Allen, on the other hand, hasn't made a name for himself in Pittsburgh. Since being drafted in the fifth-round of the 2018 draft, he's spent most of his time fighting for an active roster spot on Sundays.
This season might be different, though. Allen contains many of the skills the Steelers have tried to use to fill the hybrid linebacker role in the last two years. Now that Mark Barron is gone and there's no true third inside backer on the roster, Allen could see himself competing for that role.
It makes sense for a player who is a reliable tackler but lacks some of the coverage skills to be a safety. If he can be a presence underneath, and show he's better at covering from the linebacker role than safety, he's got a shot at being part of this defense's gameplan in 2020.
John Battle and Tyree Kinnel
Battle and Kinnel will be competing for a practice squad spot this summer, and that competition looks to be interesting as teams prepare for camp.
Both Battle and Kinnel have little to no NFL experience and have taken two different paths to Steelers camp. Battle was signed at the end of last season to fill the practice squad role, and Kinnel spent last season playing in the XFL.
It won't be special teams ability or anyone looking for the next Kameron Kelly that lands either a spot on the roster. Battle and Kinnel need to show they can compete in the secondary and be reliable for the active roster to feed off during practice.
This starts at camp.