Steelers 2014 NFL Draft Needs: Safety

The conventional wisdom in the NFL is that safety is of grown importance in the age of the prolific passer, yet going into the 2014 NFL Draft, safety is one of the Pittsburgh Steelers lesser needs.

That might seem odd given the departure of Ryan Clark and aging of Troy Polamalu. But Kevin Colbert and Mike Tomlin have not sat around idly in the face of these changes. They made a big splash on the first day of NFL Free agency, by bringing in Michael Mitchell from the Carolina Panthers.

They also made moves to both lower Troy Polamalu’s cap value and open the door for him to play another year or two, if he still has the ability and desire. And unlike this time a year ago, the depth chart behind the two starters isn’t so bare.

steelers safety shamarko Thomas off season workout
Steelers Safety Shamarko Thomas, 2014 Off season

The Steelers thought so much of Shamarko Thomas that they traded their 2014 third round pick to move up to get him in 2013. Thomas saw action early in the season until injuries slowed him, but that experience will serve both Thomas and the team well.

Also unlike 2013, the Steelers were able to bring back Will Allen, who provided valuable veteran depth after his return following a 4 game stint in Dallas.

The Steelers also have Robert Golden, an undrafted rookie free agent from 2012. There were whispers that Golden might cost Clark a spot in 2013. That didn’t happen of course, but if Golden still has some unrealized upside, he could provide valuable depth.

Can the Steelers safely ignore safety in the 2014 NFL Draft? No, not quite, if for no other reason that an injury to Troy Polamalu could suddenly thin their depth chart to uncomfortable levels. But when all things are taken together, the Steelers need at safety is only Low-Moderate.

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