For those of you who read the headline to this article and rolled your eyes thinking “Here we go again with another 53-man roster prediction article” — think again.
Every outlet around the country is doing their own version of predicting who will, and won’t, make the Pittsburgh Steelers’ final roster after training camp. The preseason has officially ended, but I decided to go a bit more in-depth on the prediction side of things. Therefore, I decided to lead up to my first complete 53-man roster prediction by going position-by-position and deciding who makes the team and who doesn’t.
Today’s position: Cornerbacks
Unlike the other positions I’ve covered in this series, while the majority of the depth chart is set in stone, the cornerback position might be the deepest position on the team. After the top 3-4 players, there is plenty to debate. No one really knows how many cornerbacks the Steelers will keep, but I’ll take a stab at who will stick around and who will be looking for employment elsewhere.
This will certainly be something not decided until training camp/the preseason rolls around, but I have a feeling I know what the depth chart will look like, and how each player will fit into the team’s scheme when all is said and done, barring injury.
Artie Burns — Barring a huge step backwards, which I don’t see coming, Burns is the starter on the outside coming into camp. The 2016 first round pick has a lot to prove this year, but he should be the starter heading into Week 1.
Joe Haden — The aging veteran still has something left in the tank, and like Burns, barring an injury or setback he will be opposite Artie when the real game start in September.
Mike Hilton — Of all the cornerbacks on the Steelers’ roster, this one has been debated the least. Hilton burst onto the scene in 2017, and didn’t fade at all throughout the season. Hilton has huge expectations hanging over his head in 2018. He will be the top cornerback coming off the bench.
Depth Player(s)/Special Teamers:
Cameron Sutton — Sutton will likely be the 4th cornerback on the depth chart, at least to start the season, and can play inside, outside, safety and can even return kicks. His versatility makes him a very valuable part of the defense/team.
Brian Allen — The second year cornerback will be expected to provide depth at cornerback, and be a key member of special teams in 2018.
Deshaun Phillips — If the Steelers keep six cornerbacks, Phillips is their guy. While Sensabaugh has the experience, the team can save some money by going with Phillips, and fans shouldn’t forget the Steelers traded with the Redskins for Phillips — which speaks volumes about how they view him as a prospect.
Players to be Cut: