The Pittsburgh Steelers will host the Tampa Bay Buccaneers Sunday at Heinz Field, and one of the matchups to watch will be the Steelers' cornerbacks against the super-sized recievers of the Buccaneers. One matchup looms larger than most, and that is Steelers' cornerback Cortez Allen lining up against Buccaneers' rookie wide receiver Mike Evans.
Evans was on the Steelers' radar throughout his final season at Texas A&M, but his size, speed and skill set quickly had the rookie being selected by the Buccaneers, well before Pittsburgh in the 15th position of the 2014 NFL Draft.
Now the Steelers will face the 6-foot-5 wide receiver that leads the Buccaneers in receiving through three games with 13 receptions for 138 yards. Evans hasn't caught a lot of passes, but he's averaging over 10 yards per reception, which makes his big-play ability a threat to the Steelers' secondary.
In Week 3, the Steelers struggled in coverage against another tall rookie receiver, Kelvin Benjamin. Benjamin was able to use his size to box-out the Steelers cornerbacks to the tune of 8 receptions for 115 yards and a touchdown, averaging 14.4 yards per reception.
Evans has the capabilities and size to take over this game, and it'll be up to Steelers cornerback Cortez Allen to make sure that doesn't happen. Since signing a hefty contract extension before the season began, Allen hasn't seemed comfortable on the field.
Although Allen's play improved against the Panthers in Week 3, he led the team in tackles, with seven, which meant the Panthers targeted his side of the field early and often.
By taking away anything available on his side of the field, Allen will limit the options for inexperienced quarterback Mike Glennon and increase the Steelers' chances of bettering their record to 3-1 and undefeated at Heinz Field.