Last year three S players went before pick 49, with Darnell Savage, Johnathan Abrams, and Marquise Blair all hearing their names called early. Savage looked like a savage throughout his rookie year. Abrams only played one game before going to IR for the year while Blair saw time as a part-time player in his rookie year.
2018 again saw three players at the position go before pick 49, and all of them in the first round. Better yet, two of the three are current Steelers, as Terrell Edmunds and Minkah Fitzpatrick joined Derwin James as top draft picks in the draft. While many fans are down on Edmunds, he is at least a steady starter (even if his splash plays are lacking). Fitzpatrick and James have become two of the best players at their position in the NFL.
2017 doubled down and added six S types before pick 49. Those players taken were Jamal Adams, Malik Hooker, Jabrill Peppers, Budda Baker, Marcus Maye, and Marcus Williams. Adams, Hooker, and Williams have become playmakers at the position while Peppers, Baker, and Maye have become quality starting options. Looking back, this class was extremely strong at the position.
Crunching the numbers, the average number of S positions taken before pick 49 is 4. This means that a player like Ashtyn Davis would be the realistic target at 49, while a best-case scenario says the Steelers will have Jeremy Chinn to select while the worst-case says K’Von Wallace will be the top option.
I was hoping to see Antoine Winfield somewhere, but it seems even more unlikely he makes it to pick 49. That said, Davis is an athletic and versatile chess piece while Chinn is a small school sleeper who has amazing size and could even play some MLB depending on the system. No matter what, the Steelers have to address the lack of depth at S at some point in this draft.
The Steelers will add at least one DB in the draft (likely an S), but don’t be surprised if the Steelers double-dip and add two. After a long period of DB being weak, additions through free agency and the draft has turned it into a position of strength. Expect the Steelers to add youthful talent to keep this group a strength.