The Steelers had plenty of pass-defense woes last season. In the 2018 offseason safety seemed to be the chief concern. That is no longer the scenario. With Artie Burns having a woeful 2018 and Coty Sensabaugh’s contract expiring, a corner, or multiple corners, in the draft or free agency is paramount. Mike Hilton is an ERFA (Extended Rights Free Agent) and I’d be shocked to see him depart. BTSC continues to look into the 2019 free agent class with a closer review of available corners.
Ronald Darby - Philadelphia Eagles
Some pundits don’t consider Darby an elite corner, however he’s 25 and (far-and-away) the top CB1 option in free agency. Even though a tear of his ACL shut Darby down in November, the FSU standout should still contribute in 2019. In his career, Darby has six picks and would be a welcome sight in Pittsburgh.
Bryce Callahan - Chicago Bears
Callahan had two interceptions last season and is thought of as one of the finest slot corners in the league. Like Darby, Callahan was lost to injury in late 2018...but still had a nice season. With an equally fine slot like Mike Hilton looking for a new deal, Callahan won’t be on the radar in Pittsburgh.
Steven Nelson - Kansas City Chiefs
The Chiefs pass defense was rough last year, but Nelson rose up as their best outside corner. I realize that best KC DB could be the equivalent of book-smartest Kardashian, but the 25-year old had four interceptions and 15 pass defenses last year and is finally becoming a truly valuable defender.
Kareem Jackson- Houston Texans
At 31, Jackson might not have too many years as a top cover corner left. However, the nine-year veteran had two of his 16 career picks and 17 of his 88 pass defenses last season. Pairing Jackson with another veteran might not be great for the long run, but it could pay off short-term.
Pierre Desir - Indianapolis Colts
The former Brown and Charger slogged through four NFL seasons with no interceptions and eight pass defenses. Desir added 2 picks and 15 pass defenses to his resumé in a brilliant 2018 for the resurgent Colts. The 28-year old might have to prove that he isn’t a one-hit wonder, but still could be a decent option for the Steelers.
Other Notable Free Agent Cornerbacks:
Jason Verrett - Los Angeles Chargers
Jason McCourty - New England Patriots
Bradley Roby - Denver Broncos
Morris Claiborne- New York Jets
Darqueze Dennard - Cincinnati Bengals
Rashaan Melvin - Raiders