Armchair GM

Armchair GM: The Case for Moving Sean Davis to Free Safety

March 12, 2018
8 minutes read
Armchair GM: The Case for Moving Sean Davis to Free Safety

Gerry Dulac of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reported the Steelers are thinking about starting Sean Davis at Free Safety. At first I was like, ‘What the heck?’ Then I thought about it.

If this is a move they are making it’s probably Tomlin and Butler who are advocating it. GM Kevin Colbert is not a big proponent of moving players around. He wouldn’t let it happen with Willie Colon who was Guard all his college career and was forced by the Steelers to be a very mediocre OT. When asked about moving Willie back to OG he said words to the effect that moving a player created uncertainty at two positions because now you had to find some to fill the position they were moving from. Yes, that is true but isn’t it better to get a player’s best game instead of forcing them to do something they are struggling with? Bottom line the Steelers let Colon go and he went to the Jets and they played him at Guard where he had a few very good years before chronic knee problems forced him out of the game. In Sean Davis’ case he is strong player who is under performing in one area of his game. This move would minimize that weakness.

Reasons Davis Should Move to Free Safety.

  1. Davis sucks in man coverage. He sucked in college. He sucks as a pro. – I really wonder if Tomlin and Butler ever looked at Davis’ college film. If they had they would never have thought Davis could handle the slot. Butler would never have had to ‘scale back’ Davis’ duties in rookie year and give up on the idea entirely in his sophomore season.

Here is what had to say about Davis under his ‘weaknesses’ heading while he was in college:

“At times, was disastrous in man coverage. Dinged for 614 yards receiving against him. Slow, upright backpedal and clunky when turning to run. Seemed to be too big and lacking in foot quickness needed to play cornerback. Flagged for four pass interferences, a late hit and a personal foul this year. Charged with ten touchdowns allowed over last two seasons… Allows too much separation (in coverage) and can’t click and close on throws.”

Davis getting abused in college by a mediocre QB.

Davis’ utter futility attempting to cover Gronkowski in the Steelers’ loss to the Patriots showed how bad he really is. The NFL is a copycat league and the cat is out of the bag. Nobody wants replays of this next season. Helping over top with double teams would allow Davis to keep his eyes toward the QB which might allow him to make big plays.

Davis getting abused in the pros by Gronk.


  1. He’s smart and disciplined. – Davis speaks three languages and is one of the hardest workers at the practice facility and in the film room. He has the ability to understand the FS’s duties and the discipline to perform them. These are two things the recently released Mike Mitchell struggled with. Free Safety is the last line of defense. It’s not a glamour job for those who like to get out of position to get a big hit so they can strut around after and then get burned over the top on the next play. It’s not a position for those who make decisions that result in what Tomlin likes to call ‘neck up problems’.
  2. Davis was the play caller for the Secondary when he was in college. – This more than anything sells me on the idea Davis can pull this off. Even though Davis never played Free Safety in college he did call all the plays for Maryland’s secondary. He is used to analyzing what the offense is doing and quarterbacking pass defenders. This is one of the most important duties the Free Safety does.
  3. He can cover a lot of ground. – Davis has 4.46 speed. Center field is large area and you’re all alone. It’s great to have someone who has the range to cover it in a hurry.
  4. He could be a very intimidating presence. Davis hits like a freight train. Davis being able to deliver hard blows all over the field rather than being stuck in the box all game would give receivers and TEs something to think about.



  1. It would free up a draft pick, get rid of the need to make a free agent move and free up MONEY. – Instead of getting rid of both Mitchell and Davis we only have to get rid of Mitchell. Maybe the Steelers can use a high round draft pick on something other than defense. And he’s already on the payroll.
  2. Every other part of his game is solid other than his coverage. – Davis had 70 tackles and 5 pass deflections in his rookie year. He followed that up with 90 tackles and 8 def. in his next year. Davis is very good open field tackler and has been great in run support. His only real weakness has been his pass coverage.
  3. Davis might flourish at the position and become an Pro Bowler. – This move plays to all Davis’ strengths while minimizing his one weakness.

Bottom line; this move might be a godsend for Davis. He is the worst cover guy on the Steelers but every other part of his game is solid. Also he’s smart and disciplined (the things Mike Mitchell is NOT). Even though he played SS in college he was the play caller for the secondary. With his eyes toward the QB and only being asked to help on double teams he might turn into an All Pro at the position. He’s got the speed to cover a lot of area. If the Steelers were smart they’d make former Free Safety, now NFL Live analyst, Ryan Clark, a training camp coaching intern. Ryan is a text book example of how to play the position. Troy wouldn’t have been able to be Troy without Ryan taking up the slack and allowing Troy to free lance. Ryan could be a great mentor for Sean in making this move.

I’m excited about this idea. Are you?

Go Steelers!!!

Jeffrey Burton

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One Comment

  1. mm Mr. McBlitzface

    I’m all for this move. I hope the Steelers do it.