The Pittsburgh Steelers, and the rest of the NFL teams, have been pulled off the recruiting trail with concerns over the coronavirus (COVID-19), but before they were told to retreat to Pittsburgh, the Steelers had an important meeting/dinner with a dynamic player from Clemson.
At the Pro Day, the Steelers showed interest in safety/linebacker Tanner Muse. This per the NFL Network:
For those who don’t know much about Muse as a player, here is a quick rundown, per the Draft Network:
A big-bodied safety, Muse surprisingly functioned primarily as a deep safety in Brent Venables’ defensive scheme last season. It’s apparent from studying his film that he plays with a sharp understanding of coverage spacing and knows how to work into throwing windows. He’s a sound zone defender with excellent awareness which is likely why he’s often tasked with playing in single high safety looks. Muse does well to read the backfield and cover ground.
The Steelers certainly could be looking for a player with the size and skill set of Muse, especially with the potential loss of Mark Barron as the hybrid linebacker/safety the Steelers love to deploy within their sub-packages.
This type of player, with fluidity of position and responsibility, certainly is something the Steelers are attracted to in a potential draft pick. But let’s not pretend Muse does everything perfectly, take a look at what he does well, and what he needs to improve upon, also per the Draft Network:
PROS: Booming presence who can drop down into the line of scrimmage and attack runs as he keys them developing. He’s got good anticipation to flow to the ball but he also provides effective attacks of blocks to press and extend, keeping himself clean to work through traffic and find the football. I like his tackling and he does a nice job of playing through tackle challenges. When he’s not tasked with too much turf to cover, Muse offers effective execution and is disciplined on the back-end...isn’t one to get snookered by route stems and breaks flashing across his face and forcing him to drive to an area that will leave him compromised.
CONS: I’m not really sold on his range or viable upside to play as a deep prowler — I’d imagine he’s going to have to find a role as a more traditional box safety or nickel linebacker in sub-packages if he’s going to stay on the field. Even then, his established skill in man to man coverage is questionable, he’s physical and should feasibly be able to run with tight ends, but we haven’t seen a lot of it. Further compounding his lack of range is some pretty stagnant cuts or changes of direction...he’s more quick for his size vs. being quick overall. Short area agility is an area that will leave you wanting more as a coverage option.
So, what do you think of the Steelers showing interest in Muse as a prospect? Could he potentially be in the team’s sites early in the draft process? Let us know your thoughts in the comment section below, and be sure to stay tuned to BTSC for the latest news and notes as the team prepares for the start of the new league year, Free Agency and the NFL Draft.