Sean Davis: Versatility Is His Value

In Sean Davis, the Steelers got a physical safety with the cover skills of a cornerback. Photo from

The Pittsburgh Steelers came into the 2016 NFL Draft needing to address their secondary. In the first round, they drafted a cornerback there for the first time since selecting Chad Scott out of Maryland in 1997. With their second round pick, the Steelers addressed their need a safety, by snatching up Maryland safety Sean Davis. The Steelers selection of Davis makes him the first Maryland player drafted by Pittsburgh since….Chad Scott in 1997. With Sean Davis, the Steelers are getting themselves a safety with the cover skills of a cornerback, and a guy who is a tackling machine, who flies around with reckless abandon. With the loss of Will Allen and Shamarko Thomas’s failure to develop up to this point, Sean Davis fills a need while bringing much needed versatility to fill multiple roles. One of those roles, is being able to line up and cover the tight ends that have victimized the Steelers defense over the last few seasons. Sean Davis gives the Steelers another big, athletic, hard hitting safety, to pair with Mike Mitchell, to provide run support and to protect the deep middle of the field.

Some teams had Sean Davis as a cornerback on their draft boards, but his future is definitely at safety according to Carnell Lake.

Carnell Lake Re: Sean Davis
We selected Sean Davis in the second round. He is a defensive back from Maryland. He is a really productive player at two positions: safety and corner. He has been really productive in the tackling department. He has a good eye for playing the ball in the passing game. We really look forward to having him in the building. He is going to provide us with a lot of versatility and depth at a needed position, which is a safety for us. That’s where we plan to play him. I think he will do an outstanding job there.

In addition to his athletic ability, the Steelers love his intelligence. In addition to making defensive calls at Maryland, from the safety and cornerback positions, Davis speaks three languages, English, French, and Mandarin Chinese. Anyone who can fluently learn and speak Mandarin Chinese should have few issues with picking up and grasping the Steelers defensive scheme.

Here is Sean Davis’s draft analysis from


  • 40 YARD DASH: 4.46 SEC
  • BROAD JUMP: 126.0 INCH
  • 3 CONE DRILL: 6.64 SEC
  • 20 YARD SHUTTLE: 3.97 SEC
  • 60 YARD SHUTTLE: 11.53 SEC



Big, broad frame with absolutely shredded physique. Showed mental toughness. Bounced back from awful Bowling Green game to make numerous plays against South Florida the next week. Has size to battle against move tight ends. Leaps and challenges aggressively on 50/50 throws. Grabbed three interceptions in 2015. Around the ball and in the mix. Posted 298 tackles over three years as a starter. Comes firing downhill with purpose when it is time to get help against the run. Looks to lay the wood to receivers and make them feel it. Second in the nation with five forced fumbles. Has played safety and cornerback.


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. Missed tackle numbers are troubling with 40 over last three years. Allows too much separation and can’t click and close on throws.

Draft Projection

Rounds 2 or 3

With their second round selection of Sean Davis, the Steelers may have gotten the most versatile safety in the draft, who had  the highest potential. Davis and the Steelers are a near perfect match. With a little coaching to clean up flaws in his technique, Davis has a chance to make a significant contribution for the Steelers in 2016, that goes beyond what he can do for the special teams.



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