The breakdown of the potential 2014 Pittsburgh Steelers defense may be a challenge, as every position has seen both addition and subtractions in an attempt to get younger and faster. One position that will definitely have a different look is safety, where the team parted ways with one veteran and made an early free agency splash to land his replacement.Mike Mitchell in place next to Troy Polamalu, the unit definitely added some athleticism and speed to the back end. The 6-1, 207-pound free safety is coming off a solid season with the Panthers and at 26 had his best season in the NFL.
The biggest question will be how well Mitchell will fit next to Polamalu, as the two have only worked together during minicamp. Polamlu had another solid season and could thrive with a physical presence beside him. This will definitely be a position to watch in training camp, as the defense must have those two players in sync with eachother to be successful.
Behind them, the Steelers will have Shamarko Thomas entering his second season in the league. Thomas may be undersized, but he has elite speed and plays the game with an edge. More importantly, he has the skills to potentially take reps at both safety positions and should log some playing time in 2014. Veteran Will Allen and Robert Golden would appear to be set as the fourth and fifth safety to make the roster. Allen is versatile and should be a solid mentor for both Thomas and Mitchell. A former cornerback, Golden has a solid skill set and compliments Thomas in a depth role.
The Steelers will keep five safeties for depth and special teams purposes.
Over the next few weeks, Steelers101 will break down every position, highlight training camp battles and eventually have the complete 53-man roster as we see it today.
Tags: Football, Mike Mitchell, NFL, Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh Steelers, Robert Golden, Shamarko Thomas, Troy Polamalu, Will Allen