Believe it or not, the Pittsburgh Steelers report to training camp on July 25th, and we are digging up the '32 Scenarios in 32 Days' segment to help us all pass the time. Once a day we will be drafting a potential 2015 season scenario, telling you why it will happen, why it won't and giving you important keys for the scenario to take place.
Scenario: Safety Gerod Holliman makes the team's 53-man roster in 2015.
Why it will happen: The Steelers haven't had a safety with the ball hawking skills of Holliman in a long time. Troy Polamalu could certainly play the ball, but Holliman's skill set is more similar to Ed Reed's than Polamalu's. Like Reed, Holliman isn't known for his physicality, but is known for his ability to take the ball away. On a team which is desperate for defensive play makers, Holliman could find himself making the team's 53-man roster as a reserve behind Mike Mitchell.
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The Steelers depth at safety also would lend itself to Holliman making the team. Outside of Mitchell and Shamarko Thomas, the only real safety on the roster is Will Allen. Holliman very well could be the No. 4 safety on the team, and will get every opportunity to prove himself worthy of a roster spot throughout the preseason.
Holliman's main criticism of not being able to tackling could be a direct link to an injured shoulder and not wanting to re-injure the shoulder by getting into the mix when his skill set could still be used in the back half of the secondary. If Holliman was given a clean bill of health, there is no saying he won't be a more willing tackler in the black and gold than he was at Louisville.
Why it won't happen: The Steelers play a brand of football which requires all 11 defensive players to be able to tackle. Holliman might have been injured at Louisville, but it didn't look good when he left school to enter the NFL. In fact, some experts attribute his shoulder and lack of tackling for the reason he wasn't a mid-round draft pick but slid all the way to the seventh round.
Holliman could snag a roster spot as the No. 4 safety on the team, but if he does that and is strictly a reserve player, he would be forced to play special teams. Again, tackling would again be an issue in this aspect of his game as well.
The Steelers will have to work on Holliman's tackling, and Holliman is going to have to prove those critics when he left college were wrong in regards to his lack of physicality. If he can't do that through training camp and the preseason, there is no need to worry about Holliman making the team, because it won't happen.
Keys: Beyond the knowledge of the play book, the skill set and the speed of the NFL, the key to Holliman making the team is based on his ability to play NFL football. With such a tag comes the ability to run, catch and hit at the safety position. We know Holliman can run and catch, but the hitting is a huge red flag for a defender at the pro level. The preseason might not be more important for any draft pick more so than Holliman as he will have to prove he is willing and able to get his nose dirty and make tackles when it matters the most. If he can do that on special teams and in the standard 11 on 11 defense, then he very well could have a spot on the team's final 53-man roster.