Pittsburgh Steelers: Making the case for Sean Davis


Mike Mitchell needs to go, but the Pittsburgh Steelers shouldn’t be considering moving their 2016 second-round draft pick.

Sean Davis has regressed in his second year. After a strong rookie season, Davis came into 2017 with high expectations. The former Maryland star is looked at as one of the biggest potentials in the NFL, but after a weak performance in his sophomore campaign, questions have arose on whether or not he’s worth the future.

He is. After two season, Davis may not be the next Troy Polumalu, but he is talented enough to be given another chance.

Davis is one of the most hard-nosed safeties in football. There isn’t a player in the league he isn’t afraid to hit. Unlike some of the backbreaking secondaries in the league, though, Davis isn’t someone a team has to worry about whiffing on a tackle because he doesn’t use his arms.

He’s also always had to be “the guy.” Since Davis and 2016 draft class teammate, Artie Burns, joined Pittsburgh’s secondary, they’ve been top dogs.

In their first season, these two were stuck with Mike Mitchell and Ross Cockrell. The statistics speak for themselves about how unproductive the Steelers defensive backfield was their rookie year.

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Then, you saw Burns shine. Adding Joe Haden, Pittsburgh finally took the pressure off a corner who’s ready to be the star, but not experienced enough. For Davis, he’s been stuck with the expectations to be a safety capable of making big plays while playing next to a player who’s been more of a liability than a leader the last two years.

Don’t get it wrong, it was clear that Davis was a hole in the pass defense in 2017. His three interceptions and five pass deflections weren’t poor numbers for a safety. Watching him, though, you saw a different story.

Time and time again, Davis was leaving assignments and missing passes in almost every game. Yes, he came in clutch a few times, and his tackling was as sure as anyone’s on the roster. But in coverage, he needed to shape up.

It isn’t time to give up on him, though. Davis had an off year, but it was only his second season. For someone who could’ve simply hit a sophomore slump considering replacing him is foolish. Because if his potential peaks, you missed out on the future of the position.

Bud Dupree has been more of a let down each season. But when you ask about his future, you still, three years in, Pittsburgh is contemplating a fifth-year option.

Davis isn’t there and he isn’t close to there. Even during a poor season, he continued to make plays and change games. At times he missed assignments and he was not a strong point to the secondary.

Only because the secondary was so strong, though. Artie Burns and Joe Haden were one of the top cornerback duos in the league in their first year together. The safeties were the clear weak spot, but not enough to truly effect the defense as a whole.

Then, you look at stats. Davis’ 92 tackles led the team in 2017. His three interceptions did as well.

Compare him to Mitchell, Davis nearly doubles his tackles and he does triple his interceptions (Mitchell had zero in 2017).

Pittsburgh needs to make a change. One of their safeties needs to go, but it’s a clear choice which one. There’s too much young, raw talent in the NFL Draft to spend another year with a weak spot.

The secondary is young, but talented enough to guide a rookie through a successful first year. Davis is ready to be “the man” at the position. He’s proven it.

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Don’t let an off year blind you, what Davis did this season was impressive. He’s a key part of the future in the Steel City. A key Pittsburgh shouldn’t be thinking about replacing for years.