clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

Morgan Burnett will bring a wide array of capabilities to the Steelers’ defense

New, comments

The Pittsburgh Steelers newest free-agent acquisition could be asked to perform several tasks within Keith Butler’s defense.

NFL: Detroit Lions at Green Bay Packers Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports

Some may forget that, when Sean Davis was a rookie, he didn’t start as a safety but was a cornerback in specific sub packages. Considering Davis played cornerback at the University of Maryland for a season, it seemed he was perfect to fill this role within the Pittsburgh Steelers’ defense.

But this experiment didn’t last long. After a few weeks, Davis was moved back to safety, and eventually took over alongside Mike Mitchell as the strong safety.

Fast forward to the team’s preparation for the 2018 regular season, and it’s expected Davis will be moved from strong safety to free safety. But exactly who fills out the rest of the positions among the safeties and sub-package cornerbacks is considered “To Be Determined.” But when talking about safeties who also covered the slot, newly acquired Morgan Burnett ranked 5th in the NFL among safeties who had those responsibilities in 2017.

Check out the numbers, per Pro Football Focus (PFF):

Safety is one of the few positions heading into training camp which is truly a question mark. No one, not even Keith Butler, knows who will be playing which position, in what capacity and with what frequency. With players like Terrell Edmunds, Davis, Burnett and Marcus Allen — the Steelers have multiple options.

Nonetheless, despite the questions surrounding the safety position, one thing is already certain, and that is Burnett’s versatility. Not only can Burnett play the slot, something he did often with the Packers, but he can play both safety positions and is considered one of the best in-the-box-style safeties in the league.

The verdict on Burnett with the Steelers is far from decided, but the more you study, the more you read and the more websites like PFF which put together analysis on the type of player he is, it becomes increasingly difficult to see him not being an integral part of the Steelers’ defensive secondary in 2018 and beyond.