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Building An All-Time Steelers’ Team, Non-Hall of Famers Edition: Safeties

One of the toughest positions to play within the NFL isn’t within the trenches on offense or protection, although these positions are moderately tough general. Instead, for me no less than, it occurs to be the protection place, having to take care of defending all that inexperienced grass round you whereas being the final line of protection.

Fortunately all through the illustrious historical past of the Pittsburgh Steelers, the protection place has been occupied by a quantity of nice gamers, from Hall of Famers Donnie Shell and Troy Polamalu, to perennial greats like Carnell Lake, Mike Wagner, Ryan Clark and now Minkah Fitzpatrick as we speak.

With simply two safeties within the Hall of Fame for the Steelers in Shell and Polamalu, there have been loads of worthy gamers obtainable for choice on my Steelers’ All-Time group utilizing non-Hall of Famers solely.

As a reminder under, I laid out precisely how I’m selecting my group positionally, in addition to the choices made up to now.

Offensively, I’ll set it up utilizing 11 personnel, that means one operating again, one tight finish, no fullback, and three large receivers, primarily as a result of I might need to see this group play in as we speak’s sport.

Defensively, I’m utilizing the normal 3-4 scheme, so no slot cornerback or something like that. Just a base 3-4. I’ll additionally choose a kicker, punter, and return specialist, giving me 25 gamers to jot down about.

Selections made to this point:

QB — Kordell Stewart
RB — Le’Veon Bell
WR — Buddy Dial
WR — Louis Lipps
WR — Santonio Holmes
TE — Heath Miller 
LT — Jon Kolb
LG — Ramon Foster
C — Ray Mansfield
RG — Gerry Mullins
RT — Tunch Ilkin

LDE — LC Greenwood
NT — Casey Hampton
RDE — Aaron Smith
LOLB — Jason Gildon
ROLB — Joey Porter
ILB — Andy Russell
ILB — James Farrior
CB — Ike Taylor
CB — JT Thomas

Before I dive into my selections at no cost security and robust security on my all-time, non-Hall of Famers group for the Steelers, I wished to briefly discuss concerning the two selections that didn’t wind up making my group.

Ironically, each shared the secondary within the Nineteen Seventies, these two being Glen Edwards and Mike Wagner.

Edwards, an undrafted free agent in 1971 out of Florida A&M, spent 1971-77 with the Steelers, and rapidly developed right into a key piece of the Steel Curtain within the secondary, making two appearances within the Super Bowl with the black and gold, making key performs in each.

In the Super Bowl IX win over the Minnesota Vikings, Edwards’ hit on Vikings’ receiver John Gilliam close to the objective line popped the ball free, leading to an interception by Mel Blount. In the win in Super Bowl X over the Dallas Cowboys, Edwards picked off Roger Staubach in the long run zone to seal the win as time expired.

Edwards was identified for his bodily play all through his profession. During his time with Pittsburgh, Edwards made two Pro Bowls (1975, 1976), made one First Team All-Pro (1976) and three Second Team All-Pros (1973, 1975, 1976) earlier than being traded to the San Diego Chargers in 1978 for a sixth-round decide. In his time with the Steelers, Edwards appeared in 89 video games (71 begins), picked off 25 passes with two pick-6s.

Edwards spent quite a bit of time within the Steelers’ secondary subsequent to Wagner, who was an eleventh spherical decide in 1971 out of Western Illinois, getting into the league the identical season as Edwards.

Wagner initially joined the Steelers as a receiver popping out of Western Illinois earlier than switching to security, resulting in a moderately outstanding profession general from 1971-80 within the black and gold. Immediately, Wagner made an impression, selecting off two passes in 1971 and 6 in 1972, earlier than then main the NFL with eight interceptions in 1973, making First Team All-Pro within the course of.

From 1974-76 Wagner recorded simply six interceptions in these three seasons, however helped the Steelers win back-to-back Super Bowls whereas heading to the Pro Bowl in 1975 and 1976, incomes Second Team All-Pro honors in 1976. Wagner performed in simply three seasons in 1977 earlier than then selecting off 10 passes from 1978 to 1980, profitable two extra Super Bowls with the Steelers earlier than retiring after the 1980 season.

For his profession, Wagner performed in 119 profession video games (116 begins), picked off 36 passes, compelled 5 fumbles, recovered 12 fumbles and added 4 sacks.

I even thought-about Darren Perry, however as an alternative went in a special course. Perry was an eighth-round decide in 1992 out of Penn State and spent  1992-98 with the Steelers, incomes a Second Team All-Pro accolade in 1994.

During his tenure within the black and gold, Perry began 110 video games underneath Bill Cowher, selecting off 32 passes throughout his time with the Steelers, reaching the Super Bowl in 1995.

Edwards, Wagner, and Perry actually had been price a variety on my group, however in the long run, I made a decision to go along with a man who needs to be within the Hall of Fame in Carnell Lake, and a man who was a key chief and stalwart on some of the perfect defenses in franchise historical past in Ryan Clark for my group.

Lake, a second-round select of UCLA in 1989, spent 1989 by means of 1998 with the Pittsburgh Steelers, seeing snaps at sturdy security and cornerback throughout his time with the Steelers, rapidly turning into one of the perfect defenders not solely on the Steelers, however within the league as effectively.

With the Steelers, Lake began all 154 video games he performed in, selecting off 16 passes, scoring three touchdowns, forcing 15 fumbles, recovering 16 and recording 734 whole tackles and 21.5 sacks.  He was actually the elite of the elite throughout his tenure, incomes one First Team All-Pro honor in 1997, and three Second Team All-Pro honors in 1994, 1995 and 1999. Heck, Lake even acquired MVP and Defensive Player of the Year votes in 1997.

He was actually a particular participant general.

Along with Lake, Clark was an underrated participant throughout his eight seasons with the Steelers, typically overshadowed by Polamalu, who teamed with Clark to kind a dynamic security duo.

Clark spent 2006-13 with the Steelers, beginning 109 of 111 video games with the black and gold after signing with the Steelers after their Super Bowl XL win over the Seattle Seahawks, leaving Washington’s franchise behind after two seasons as a starter.

During his tenure with the Steelers, clear recorded 12 interceptions, compelled three fumbles, recovered six fumbles, added 667 tackles, 11 tackles for loss and a couple of.0 sacks, holding down the back-end of formidable Steelers’ defenses that gave the Steelers an identification within the mid-late 2000s, reaching two Super Bowls underneath Mike Tomlin, profitable one.

Clark made one Pro Bowl with the Steelers in 2011, however was vastly underrated general. Without him within the secondary, Polamalu wouldn’t have been in a position to freelance as a lot as he did, permitting him to show in a Hall of Fame profession. He was a key chief off the sphere, and an absolute rock on the sphere, quietly being as regular as they arrive.

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