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Steelers coach Mike Tomlin 'sees what Antwon Blake' is doing

The third-year cornerback/special teams gunner was the team's third cornerback when Ike Taylor was absent last week. Since Taylor's return, he moved to fourth but Blake has aspirations of reaching No. 1.

Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sport

Steel City Insider publisher Jim Wexell wrote about Steelers cornerback Antwon Blake looking over at head coach Mike Tomlin during practice.

"I see what you're doing, 41," Wexell quoted Tomlin, who was speaking to Blake. While not many have seen 41 (Blake) within the Steelers defense - he was the gunner on the punt team last season - he's aiming to change that.

His main asset in that mission is his speed. Blake told Wexell he ran a 4.18 40-yard dash while at Texas El Paso in 2012, fitting in with the Steelers' speed reformation in 2014. Standing at 5-foot-9, he'll have to maximize that level of speed if he wants to make an impact.

The challenge he faces is with free agent acquisition Brice McCain, another shorter speed demon who spent the previous five seasons with the Houston Texans. The Steelers went against the grain in not selecting a cornerback with one of their first four picks, waiting until their first fifth-round pick to select Arizona's Shaquille Richardson.

BTSC's Dale Grdnic wrote Tuesday Ike Taylor saw good things in the rookie.

"The first thing (about Richardson) is that he's got the attitude, and that's what you need to have as a corner," Taylor told Grdnic. "So, he's definitely got the attitude that you need to play corner."

Richardson doesn't have that speed, though, or at least he doesn't have the 40 time. Blake doesn't see himself as just a guy who can run, and the team's decision to acquire him last year off waivers when Jacksonville released him, and have him lining up as the team's third cornerback in Taylor's absence speaks to it.

Perhaps Steelers defensive coordinator Dick LeBeau was right in saying the team has a solid cornerback prospect already on the team. He was excited about Blake's potential, and with a wide open cornerback landscape in the future of this team, he'll have ample opportunity to back up his coach's words.