NFL fans were glued to their televisions, radios or computer devices to follow who their favorite team would select in the first round, Pittsburgh Steelers fans were hoping for one of two positions; wide receiver or cornerback.
The time came for the Steelers to select at the 15th overall pick and a player fans had coveted, Darqueze Dennard, was still on the board. By now, you know the Steelers didn't just pass up a cornerback in the first round, but also the next three rounds. It wasn't until Shaquille Richardson was drafted in the 5th round that the Steelers felt they wanted to address a mythical need in the secondary.
Fans were dumbfounded.
Twitter was ablaze with fans wondering what in the world the organization was thinking not taking Dennard, but everything you saw and heard from the Steelers' defensive coaches said that the secondary that people feel is a liability for the defense, isn't a liability after all.
Steelers OTAs: Football in Shorts
Steelers OTAs 2014
Carnell Lake and Dick LeBeau both echoed comments about how they like the cornerbacks they currently have on the roster and there wasn't a need for them to select a cornerback high in the draft. Those cornerbacks they are referring to would be - Ike Taylor, Cortez Allen, William Gay and newly acquired Brice McCain.
Throw Richardson into that group and you are most likely looking at the cornerbacks on the 2014 Steelers' roster.
So, with not much changed in terms of starting cornerbacks, why would the secondary not be a liability? Several reasons, but one of the most important is that Ike Taylor isn't being deployed on the opponent's best receiver. When LeBeau finally had Taylor sticking to the opposition's second or sometimes third best receiver, players like AJ Green didn't have a field day against the secondary.
An improved pass rush will go a long ways toward improving that secondary, and after last season you have to think the front seven should be able to get to the passer better than they did in 2013.
Steelers Draft: Rounds 5-7
Everything about the Steelers 5-7 round picks
The Steelers finally selected a cornerback(!) in Shaquille Richardson, then followed it up with offensive lineman Wesley Johnson, linebacker Jordan Zumwalt, defensive tackle Daniel McCullers, and tight end Rob Blanchflower. All of our articles and updates on them are here.
Steelers Day 3 Draft Picks
Pressure on the quarterback will not only help create turnovers, but won't allow the receivers to have extended routes and will ultimately lead to improved pass defense.
Last, but certainly not least, the Steelers' pass defense was 9th in the NFL last season only giving up 222.1 yards a game last season. That isn't that bad to begin with, and when you return the same cornerbacks and improve your front seven that stat will only improve in 2014.
The Steelers believe in this group of cornerbacks, and there is no reason why fans shouldn't believe in this group either.