We are on part 51 of our 90-part series — assuming the roster does not change before we are complete — which will break down each player of the Steelers current 90-man roster in alphabetical order. This series will encompass many aspects of each players game and their current role with the team. At the end, I’ll give some projected stats as well as their chances to make the 53-man roster.
Let’s take a look at a 2019 third-round pick:
Height: 6’ 2”
Weight: 192 lbs
College: Michigan State
Draft: 3rd Round, 83rd overall in 2019
10 Games Played
Expires in 2022
$905,545 salary cap number (0.5% of total cap)
$230,545 Dead money
$675,000 Savings if cut
Likelihood of making the roster
Likely. I hesitate to give Layne a lock strictly because of how much he played in 2019 and the shear amount of depth at the corner position. That being said I do expect a large and expanded role for the sophomore corner. Of course starters Joe Haden and Steven Nelson are incumbents at each starting spot, but Cameron Sutton and Mike Hilton also have their names listed above Layne heading into 2020. There will be roughly two more spots up for grabs at corner, however, Layne has a lengthy distance between his name and the number 6 cornerback.
I fully believe if either Haden or Nelson go down with an injury, Cam Sutton will kick out and cover the spot with Layne picking up the reps left from Sutton. Furthermore, as a veteran, Layne will be looked upon to make a bigger impact on special teams. I expect more from Justin Layne in 2020 especially because of his high draft status in 2019, and how little he has been used. The Steelers will want to know what they got in the Michigan State alum.
He’s quickly been forgotten about as a third-round pick just a year ago. Hopefully Layne isn't just another corner that the Steelers whiffed on.
16 Games Played
1 Pass Defensed
If Justin Layne is picking up starts then it probably means that the secondary is ravaged by injury. For once the Steelers have the depth at corner, and if it came down to it, I have no problem giving Layne a start over picking up someone on the free agent market. It will be interesting how much playing time Layne gets because of how high he was drafted just a year ago. Typically third-round picks make (fairly) immediate impacts, however Layne is in an interesting spot based on the pecking order of this secondary. The 2021 season looks to be the year Layne truly breaks out and in 2022 he could be replacing either Joe Haden or Steven Nelson as a starter at the position.
Antoine Brooks Jr.
Ulysees Gilbert III