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Mike Tomlin Reveals Why DeShon Elliott Was a Fit for Steelers



Pittsburgh Steelers FS DeShon Elliott

ORLANDO Fla. — The Pittsburgh Steelers shored up their safety position by bringing in DeShon Elliott on a two-year deal. While he might not be the final solution, he could be the suitable starter if they cannot find another upgrade this offseason.

During an interview with a select group of Pittsburgh reporters at the NFL owner’s meetings on Sunday, Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin touched on what made Elliott an attractive free agent signing.

“Again, we have familiarity with DeShon and just got a lot of respect for how he plays the game, the toughness component,” Tomlin said. “We felt like he would be a good asset in addition to our secondary. Good tackler, good communicator. There’s a lot that’s attractive about him and we’re excited to get to work with him.”

Like newly acquired linebacker Patrick Queen, Elliott is also a former Raven, playing in Baltimore from 2018-2021. During a one-on-one interview with Missi Matthews of, Elliott revealed that Queen recruited him to sign with the Steelers.

“He was like, do you wanna become a Steeler? I was like, what do you mean? He goes, I was talking to the GM, do you wanna become a Steeler? I was like freak yeah bro, hell yeah, I’ll come play with you; what are you talking about? And so the next day, made it happen,” Elliott said.

Elliott believes he was destined to be in the Black and Gold, as the first little league team that he played for as a kid was the Steelers.

“I think that I was destined to be here ’cause my first team when I was a kid playing in Dallas, I played for the Steelers,” Elliott said. “So it’s just something that my dad’s been sending me pictures, my mom sent me pictures. It’s like, ‘Look at you and your dad, because my dad used to coach me. It’s just something cool to say I did. I’m very excited to be here. I think I was meant to be in this organization.”

Elliott played more at free safety than strong safety a year ago in Miami, logging over 500 snaps at free safety but over 200 snaps at strong safety. In addition, Elliott played 97 snaps in the slot. This should allow for some continuity to be built across the safety corps, as Elliott seems likely to be paired with Minkah Fitzpatrick on the back end of the defense and can allow Fitzpatrick to work at free safety as well as strong safety.

And the team can trust Elliott to man down in the slot or box as an excellent run-down safety. He was fifth in missed tackle percentage, while Fitzpatrick was second. In other words, the Steelers have an elite safety-tackling duo. And part of that will at least, in part, help strengthen a run defense that failed to hold up on the back end too often. Teams would run outside the tackles, attack the cornerbacks, or force the safeties to be the fill defender and wrap up, but outside of Fitzpatrick, they often did not find success doing that.

Alan Saunders contributed reporting from Orlando.