When the 2021 NFL Free Agency period began, the Pittsburgh Steelers knew they weren’t going to be able to sign all of their free agents. There was a point where the goal might have been to just sign a few of the free agents. Nonetheless, when players were able to start signing, it was Cam Sutton the Steelers targeted, not Mike Hilton.
Sutton signed a brand new deal with the team who drafted him out of the University of Tennessee, and Sutton’s versatility is something the Pittsburgh defense will certainly utilize in 2021.
But at this stage of the game, fans want to know what the Steelers have in store for Sutton? Will he be playing in Steven Nelson’s old role as the primary outside cornerback? Will he start on the outside, and move to his old sub package role(s) when needed? Sutton was asked that very question when talking to the media during the team’s second week of Phase III of Organized Team Activities (OTAs).
“With the offseason right now a lot of things are kind of up in the air,” Sutton said. “As the weeks are in itself, each week is a life in its own. Wherever the chips may fall as far as responsibility. There’s obviously times throughout the game where guys are lined up in certain positions but things happen between shifts, motions, injuries, whatever you may have.
“Guys have to be able to interchange and play different roles. Knowing your responsibility, knowing what the guys around you do, that’s what we preach. Being versatile, being able to compete in different spots, just take it s it is. I just come in here each and every day with my head down and the chips fall where they may.”
The question then becomes not if Sutton can do all of the above, but is he ready to be the Swiss Army Knife the Steelers have always claimed he can be?
“Ready more than ever,” Sutton announced. “As far as health and just a mental aspect, I feel better than I ever felt before. Coming off of a year where you had more snaps, more opportunities, that’s just a stepping stone. Those are things to continue to build off of.”
People forget Sutton saw an increased role in 2020 when Mike Hilton was out of the lineup for an extended period of time with a shoulder injury. This was a door opening for Sutton as he proved his worth to Keith Butler, Mike Tomlin and Kevin Colbert. He is ready for the 2021 season, and his knew role with the team.
“Just the overall excitement, just being back out with the guys, flying around, talkin’ ball, talkin’ that language again,” Sutton said. “Everything’s kind of just falling in its place as the offseason continues.
“But going into the year I’m coming for everything, that’s just the grit in me. That’s just the grit in this organization, in our teammates, just the hunger to bring Super Bowls back to the city of Pittsburgh.”
If the Steelers are to get back to the promised land, and winning a Lombardi trophy, Sutton will have a huge role in the process. His versatility can be an unbelievable weapon for the defense as they hope to not just fill the voids left by Nelson and Hilton in the secondary, but excelling to new heights in 2021.
Be sure to stay tuned to BTSC for the latest news and notes surrounding the Steelers as they prepare for the upcoming 2021 regular season.