Day 2 Analysis

The Pittsburgh Steelers stuck to their desire of rebuilding the secondary early in the draft by going cornerback in Round 1 with the selection of Artie Burns, than nabbing Maryland safety Sean Davis (6-1, 202) in Round 2.

At the cornerback position, the Steelers have started the process of reshaping their secondary with Burns coming in this season and it basically being a rookie season for 2015 second round pick Senquez Golson who missed all of last season.

The secondary depth chart right now includes:

*William Gay
*Ross Cockrell
Senquez Golson
Artie Burns
Doran Grant

Will they need to add another capable veteran in training camp?

Time will tell because there’s some doubts that Burns will provide much of an impact in year one, but for the first time in years the Steelers have an infusion of young high pedigree defensive backs to start developing and adding to the mix.

At the safety position, the Steelers had a big need in drafting a strong safety early who could potentially be a long-term starter.

Maryland’s Sean Davis is hard hitting defensive back in the open field. He started 14 games last season at cornerback but will begin his career in the NFL at strong safety, though, the Steelers won’t be shy to use him at corner in a “pinch”, secondary coach Carnell Lake said.

Davis had 319 tackles, 5 interceptions in his career at Maryland, making 40 starts.

The one knock on Davis from many draft pundits is he doesn’t cover well in the open field.

Lake doesn’t see that and feels Davis being able to focus solely on the safety position will help him.

“His coverage skills in my opinion are very good,” Lake said. “He has had a lot of experience not only covering slots and tight ends at safety, but he also played a year at corner where it gives him even more experience. You take a player like that is going to move inside to play safety, the game will slow down quite a bit inside. It will be a lot easier to cover for him.”

What the Steelers liked about Davis over other safeties who were also in play, Ohio State’s Vonn Bell among them, is a superior ability the Steelers feel Davis’ has in covering tight ends. [hide]

“The game has progressed to the point where you need to have a cover safety,” Lake said. “It is absolutely essential, speaking as a coach and a former player, when you have offensive that spread you out and there are a lot of offense that are doing that. They are spreading you out to create mismatches. They will put a tight end like Gronkowski out wide and try to get you to match up with either a linebacker or a safety. You have to have a guy who has some size who can run and can cover and he provides that.”

Lake said Davis was one of the highest rated safeties on his board.

Some draft publications like CBS Draft Scout had Davis rated higher (No. 60 best prospect) than first round pick Artie Burns (No. 66.).

*Steelers Safety Depth Chart

Mike Mitchell
Robert Golden
Sean Davis
Shamarko Thomas
Jordan Dangerfield

Steelers take DT Javon Hargrave in Round 3

In the third round the Steelers addressed another pressing need in selecting nose tackle Javon Hargrave (6-1, 309) of South Carolina St.

Hargrave was a dominant player in the MEAC. In 2015, he had 59 tackles, 13.5 sacks and 22 tackles for loss. In 2014 he had 16 sacks.

Runs a 4.93 forty and is an explosive interior pass rushing lineman who fits the athletic types the Steelers now seek that can translate to playing in their 4-3 schemes.

The Steelers no longer only care to take linemen whose primary job is to take on blockers and open holes for the linebackers. They want linemen who can get to the quarterback and Hargrave fits the mold.

The concerns are he’s undersized with short arms and struggles with double teams due to a lack of strength.

That said it’s not hard to see why d-line coach John Mitchell was giddy about the type of talent Hargrave has.

“This guy’s impressive,” Mitchell said. “One of the few big men I’ve seen you can leave on the field on third down.” [/hide]