Safety is arguably the thinnest position for the Pittsburgh Steelers heading into 2019. Dravon Askew-Henry is just one of a handful of safeties vying for a backup position with the team. Former second-round pick Sean Davis and 2018 first rounder Terrell Edmunds have the starting spots locked up. Jordan Dangerfield is the most seasoned of the backups with three NFL starts on his resume. The rest of the candidates of little to no NFL experience. The Steelers do not consistently keep four or five safeties total. Can Askew-Henry be one of them or is he just another camp body?
Askew-Henry was what West Virginia was looking for when he came to the school in 2014. They needed a player who could make plays and start games and that is what the 6-0, 202-pound defensive back accomplished when healthy. Askew-Henry started all 51 games for the Mountaineers in his career that started in 2014 as a true freshman. The starts are a record at WVU.
2014 (True freshman)
Started all 13 games at free safety.
45 tackles with 36 unassisted, one tackle for loss, two interceptions, and two pass breakups.
The first collegiate game was against Alabama where he finished with six tackles.
In the Liberty Bowl against Texas A&M, Askew-Henry had eight solo tackles and a pass breakup.
ESPN.com True Freshman All-American
13 game starter at free safety.
Finished the season with 59 tackles, 47 of them unassisted, one tackle for loss, one interception and four pass breakups.
Recorded a team-high and career-high seven tackles vs. Arizona State in the Cactus Bowl.
Before the season started, Askew-Henry tore his ACL in practice and missed the entire season while redshirting.
2017 (Redshirt Junior)
Started 13 games; eight were at free safety and final five games at bandit safety.
57 tackles, 42 of which were solo, 2.5 tackles for loss, one interception and four pass breakups.
Had a season-high six tackles at TCU, which included the 100th solo tackle of his WVU career.
Big 12 Conference Honorable Mention
2018 (Redshirt senior)
Started all 12 games at bandit safety.
54 total tackles with 37 solo, five tackles for loss, and two interceptions.
In the Camping World Bowl against Syracuse, tallied seven tackles, including five unassisted tackles and assisted on a tackle for loss.
All-Big 12 Honorable Mention
Askew-Henry played in a conference that does not churn out many standout defensive backs. The conference has only had five defensive backs drafted in the past three seasons. None in 2019. Hailing from Aliquippa, Pa., Askew-Henry will look to latch on with the Steelers in his home state. Veteran special teamer Jordan Dangerfield has bounced around the Steelers practice squad and active roster since 2014, it does not assure him of a roster spot. 2018 fifth-round draft pick, Marcus Allen made the 53 man roster last season but only played 18 defensive snaps and 12 special teams snaps. His roster spot is precarious at best. Undrafted rookie free agent P. J. Locke III is the last safety on the Steelers roster.
Steelers fans will hold their collective breath hoping neither starter goes down with injury because of the thin depth. If such an injury were to happen or if the above safeties fail, will the team make a move to bring in another player or move another player full time to the safety position? (Cameron Sutton?) The backup safety position is probably the most wide-open competition on the team. Who will win out and how many will the Steelers carry in 2019?