As the media will never let us forget, the Pittsburgh Steelers defense is getting older. Starters in key positions are on the wrong side of 30, and with the average age of a Steelers defensive starter sitting at 30.5 years old, it might be time to look for replacements.
Ryan Clark is one of these key starters. He is a perfect complement to Troy Polamalu, completing a hard-hitting tandem at safety and providing coverage skills that allow Polamalu to roam a little more freely.
Clark is 32 and by no means slowing down, but it must be recognized that decline will eventually occur. This year draft has a good class at free safety, and with a year to sit and learn behind Clark and Polamalu, a newcomer could be set at the position potentially for the next decade. Its never too early to start preparing for tomorrow and with the NFL becoming an ever more pass-happy league, having good players at the safety position is more crucial than ever.
To be considered, the player had to be a capable run defender without losing anything in pass coverage, while having a good work ethic, good athleticism and as few red flags as possible.