The Pittsburgh Steelers knew they were going to need help at the cornerback position this offseason. They acquired a free agent defensive back, and went into the 2017 NFL Draft knowing the position of slot cornerback would be a necessity.
It is now time to update the team’s depth chart at the cornerback position, predict just who will make the team and what the stable of backs will look like as the team prepares for the 2017 NFL season.
Cameron Sutton (R)
Brian Allen (R)
Terrish Webb (R)
Unlike in our running back position breakdown, where there aren’t many backs even on the roster, let alone many who actually have a chance to make the team, the Steelers seem inundated with cornerbacks.
It almost seems as if they wanted to throw as many as they can at the wall, in hopes that one will stick. But if you look closer at the depth chart you will see where the true training camp battles reside.
When looking at the ridiculously deep cornerback depth chart, it is almost impossible to not see several names and wonder where they came from? The 90-man offseason roster is filled with players who don’t really stand a chance at making the team, but are given the opportunity to prove themselves.
The guarantees at this position, in my opinion, are Artie Burns and Ross Cockrell. Other than that, including William Gay, there will be some fierce competition. At the same time, there are some names on this list who we have a pretty good inkling they won’t be on the team’s 53-man roster when the dust settles.
Therefore, if I am to predict just what happens with the Steelers at the cornerback position, it wouldn’t be simple. In a perfect world Senquez Golson steps up in a big way and proves to be the 2nd round draft pick the team selected out of Ole Miss, and actually plays a professional snap of football. However, if that happened, it would have a ripple effect on the roster.
Quite possibly the toughest question on the depth chart is William Gay. Gay had a drop off in production last year, compared to his 2015 season, and with the addition of Cameron Sutton, who thrives in the slot, Gay’s roster spot might not be as secure as many think.
I believe the team will keep 6 cornerbacks on the roster, which might seem high, but they will rely on some of these players for multiple roles. Artie Burns, Ross Cockrell, Coty Sensabaugh, William Gay, Cameron Sutton and Senquez Golson make the team. Brian Allen, who is extremely raw, will be placed on the practice squad as a “red shirt” year. The fear with this decision would be him finding the same fate as Travis Feeney and be poached by another team. It should be noted Sutton also returns punts, and therefore has tremendous special teams value.
The Steelers have done some work with their secondary, and if all of the aforementioned six players make the team’s starting roster, their secondary will have improved tremendously.
Again, a lot of this hinges on the success, or failure, of Senquez Golson being able to finally contribute more than a couple practices without getting injured. That is a giant question mark heading into the 2017 season, and call me an optimist, but I like his chances of seeing the field, if he finally stays healthy.
Who do you see making the roster, and how many cornerbacks will make the final 53-man unit?