7 Steelers who need to start against the Browns in Week 17

Justin Layne Pittsburgh Steelers (Photo by Michael Hickey/Getty Images)
Justin Layne Pittsburgh Steelers (Photo by Michael Hickey/Getty Images) /
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Maryland defensive back Antoine Brooks Jr (DB37) Mandatory Credit: Trevor Ruszkowski-USA TODAY Sports /

Antoine Brooks Jr.

McFarland’s former college teammate Antoine Brooks Jr. is also in line for a workload increase. The big safety has only seen significant snaps during week ten of this season, but both of the Steelers starting safeties could use being rested. Given his size, he could also move down and play closer to the line of scrimmage like a linebacker. Marcus Allen proved this conversion could be successful, and Brooks has a similar build and play style.

That said, the Steelers said they viewed Brooks as a safety first, and this week should be his chance to prove it. Terrell Edmunds could use the week off, and Brooks would make the most sense to slide into his spot. Given his lack of coverage skills, this could lead to some blown plays, but the rookie would do well with getting some more playing time this week.

Even if the Steelers don’t feel comfortable with Brooks starting, he should at the least be the third safety to Sean Davis and Jordan Dangerfield on the defense. This means a good amount of snaps in subpackage, and again, it could allow him to play like a hybrid linebacker. The possibilities are endless with him, and the Steelers would be wise to use him this week in order to see where his future-fit may be.