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Steelers 2021 Training Camp Battles: The battle between James Pierre and Justin Layne

With the 2021 NFL Draft a thing of the past, we look ahead to some training camp battles facing the Steelers this season.

NFL: NOV 22 Steelers at Jaguars Photo by David Rosenblum/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

The Pittsburgh Steelers are still in the early stages of the 2021 offseason, but with the 2021 NFL Draft over the attention now turns to the regular season. There are steps along the way, mandatory minicamp, Organized Team Activities (OTAs) and training camp, but the position battles which will take shape throughout the offseason are worth discussion.

Sure, things could change between now and the start of training camp. Injuries, acquisitions and players emerging can alter the outcome of these battles, but there will be several key battles taking place. In this series, myself and Dave Schofield will be giving our analysis and prediction for each training camp battle which will unfold at some point this offseason.

Today we take a look at a position/battle for the Steelers’ defense. This battle, which involves two cornerbacks, has already been discussed, in a way, earlier during this series. When we broke down the training camp battle for the cornerbacks, there was a lot to decipher. Would Cam Sutton play on the outside only, or would he flex to his former role in sub packages?

With that still being a large unknown, this debate will be structured just around the depth chart. Which cornerback will be the CB3 behind Joe Haden and Sutton? Justin Layne or James Pierre?

Who wins the battle? Dave and I give our predictions below, but be sure to let us know what you think in the poll below, and be sure to explain your vote in the comment section!

Jeff Hartman

Analysis: This is a camp battle which has been on my mind a lot recently. Pierre doesn’t have a ton of experience, and certainly doesn’t have the pedigree of Layne; however, it was obvious Pierre leap-frogged Layne on the depth chart last season in the final four games. This means there will be a legitimate camp battle between these two players in Training Camp to see who comes out on top, and who finds themselves as CB4 on the depth chart.

Prediction: In my opinion, Layne will have every opportunity to win the primary backup job, but that doesn’t mean he will win the job. In fact, I think Layne will be the CB4 on the depth chart, and Pierre will continue his ascension up the depth chart and take over the Cam Sutton role in 2020 as the CB3. Layne will still be a valuable member, and asset, to the defense and special teams, but Pierre is such a promising prospect I don’t see him taking a back seat to Layne.

Dave Schofield

Analysis: I think Jeff has a point about Layne being given the opportunity, but I believe he has an uphill battle. I think the Steelers know what they have in both Pierre and Layne and they both act more as an insurance policy if there’s an injury. The only question is, who slides in to take over the starting role if an injury occurs while the other becomes the third option.

Prediction: I don’t know why I’m so high on James Pierre, but Shannon White loves the guy so he’s got to be pretty decent. Not only am I predicting Pierre to win the job at CB3, I think he will push to possibly even win the job of CB2. This is not about Justin Layne not being good enough, but about James Pierre being that good.


Who wins this Steelers Training Camp Battle?

This poll is closed

  • 86%
    James Pierre
    (539 votes)
  • 13%
    Justin Layne
    (81 votes)
620 votes total Vote Now

Other Training Camp Battle Breakdowns: