Steelers Prospect Watch: Jeremy Cash


Will the Steelers be in the hunt for a safety in the draft?

With the NFL Combine now over, the Steelers return to the South Side to reconfigure their draft board.  The team interviewed over 60 players this past weekend in Indianapolis.

One of those players was Duke safety Jeremy Cash.  This standout defender was formally interviewed by the Steelers Sunday.   Cash did not participate in drills at the combine since he is recovering from wrist surgery.

But from what I have seen of Cash, his non-performance at the combine should have no effect on his draft stock.  Originally an Ohio State Buckeye, Cash transferred following Urban Meyer’s arrive in Columbus.  After sitting out one season, he would embark on one of the greatest careers in Duke history.

Cash is not your typical safety.  Throughout much of his career, he played near the line of scrimmage almost like a nickel corner.  Playing this hybrid role allowed Cash to rack up over a 100 total tackles in each of his three seasons at Duke.   He also made 38 tackles for loss in that span.

And those weren’t your average tackles.  Cash tries to lay the wood on the ball carrier each play, bringing a violent, competitive edge to a defense.  He forced 9 fumbles in his career while recovering 5.  These great instincts to find the football not only benefit him in the run game, but in pass coverage.

This versatility allows Cash to drop into coverage and make a play on the ball. He intercepted 5 passes and batted away 14 while he was at Duke.  However, Cash did not record an interception in 2015, but that did not deter the voters in the ACC.

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The star senior was named ACC Defensive Player of the Year while being named All-ACC first team.  He was recognized nationally as a first team All-American after being named second team in 2013 and 2014. Cash was also named All-ACC first team in 2013 and second team in 2014.

He does have his flaws , especially when taking on blockers.  Too many times Cash has been fixed on the ball carrier that he did not see a blocker coming at him.  He then struggles getting off blocks due to a lack of strength.  Despite these weakness, the Steelers should not shy away from this star defender.  Those things can be fixed with a little coaching and weight room work.

Adding a safety like Cash can finally fill the hole that was left by Troy Polamalu Since his retirement, the Steelers have not been able to find a safety that can play in the box at a high level.   Will Allen is gone.   Shamarko Thomas has disappointed since being drafted out of Syracuse.

Don’t get me started about Mike Mitchell.  Though I do like the fact that he is a headhunter, Mitchell plays too recklessly in the open field.  Instead of playing the ball and trying to intercept or bat it down, he goes for the big hit on the receiver when he should have played the ball.

Next: Steelers Prospect Watch: Scooby Wright

If the Steelers are going to plug a safety in this draft, Cash should be high on their list.