Steelers hidden gem #3: Damontae Kazee
The Steelers secondary is going to be a weird group this season. There was a lot of turnover in this group, from the losses of longstanding starters like Terrell Edmunds and Cameron Sutton to new names in Patrick Peterson, Keanu Neal, and the recently added Desmond King, there are a lot of new names to figure out in this group.
A not-brand-new name is returning safety Damontae Kazee, as he played when healthy for the team last season. He was used in third safety packages most of the time and became a versatile defensive back for this team. While Neal will take on the role of box safety, I expect to see Kazee be used more often.
The thing is, with ballhawks like Peterson and Minkah Fitzpatrick in the secondary, Kazee could be given some additional targets. Kazee isn’t a slouch when allowed to make plays though. He is a known interception machine, so the increase in targets could lead to Kazee posting another strong season.
It has been a while since the team has had a pair of safeties that can take the ball away. While Edmunds was a fine defender and developed into a good starter overall, one of his biggest weaknesses was his lack of turnovers. That isn’t the case with Kazee, as he can force turnovers. Add in his willingness to play aggressively despite his smaller size, and I think you have a great fit for this team.
Don’t be surprised if Kazee is a constant issue for offenses and posts a season close to his best year (that being 2018). While I won’t write in seven interceptions for Kazee as he did that season, don’t be surprised to see him amongst the team lead for picks and be a gem for this defense.