The Pittsburgh Steelers are in the market for a backup safety after losing their two backups to the NFC East when the New York Giants signed Ryan Mundy and the Dallas Cowboys inked veteran Will Allen. According to Bob Labriola of Steelers Digest, the Steelers will work out safety James Sanders today. The veteran strong safety has played for the New England Patriots, Atlanta Falcons, and Arizona Cardinals (in chronological order) in his eight seasons.
Sanders recorded 19 tackles last season for the Cardinals in a minor role with the team, and the former Fresno State Bulldogs standout is nothing more than a backup at this stage of his career. He is able to contribute on special teams in addition to his duties at the safety position, so that will definitely be a plus for the Pittsburgh Steelers going into today’s visit.
The big issue with Sanders is that he is horrendous in coverage, and he is restricted to an in-the-box safety role strictly as an SS. He gets beat far too often in coverage, and that’s the reason why he is a liability as a starter. But as a backup, Sanders can bring a team solid veteran leadership and some strong run defense at the safety position.
Some fans would prefer the Steelers to draft Kenny Vaccaro (Mike Tomlin and plenty of Steelers reps attended the Texas Longhorns pro day) or even a safety in the second-round (this is a deep class at the position) in order to groom a young player at the position. That seems preferable to adding a stopgap guy, but they might have other plans at the position.
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