Every person has a story.
Not everyone has a platform like being a top pick for a NFL team, but on Thursday April 28th when Roger Goodell took to the podium and made the announcement the Pittsburgh Steelers selected cornerback Artie Burns from the University of Miami, fans were certainly scratching their heads.
I had done little research on Burns leading up to the draft, thinking he was at the back end of the top tier cornerback pack, but when the pick was made I, like many others, were sent scrambling for some back story on the newest addition to the black and gold.
Do some digging on your own, and what you find is a story which is both tragic and amazing.
If you haven't heard Burns' story yet, he grew up without a father who was, and still is, incarcerated for cocaine trafficking, and last October he lost his mother to a heart attack. Unfortunately, this isn't an uncommon story in the NFL, but Burns' resolve would certainly follow.
After his mother's passing, Burns -- who just turned 21-years-old -- took his two younger brothers under his care along with his own 19-month-old baby, A.J. So, Burns is in the middle of his Senior season, is now suddenly in charge of not just his own child, but also his two younger brothers. All while trying to improve his skills to the point where he would be ready for the NFL Draft.
This is where the Steelers come in, as they made him the 25th overall pick in the 2016 NFL Draft. Most sympathize with Burns' story, but don't think he is looking for sympathy. The tragic tale isn't why the Steelers selected him. Sure, it speaks of him as a human being and his character, but it has nothing to do with how he can impact the team in 2016 and beyond.
While media outlets will cling to his story, what most aren't realizing is why the Steelers truly took Burns.
Burns isn't just a football player, he is an athlete. While in college he also ran track, specializing in the 60 meter hurdles, an event he would break records in. On the football field he would bring an anger and aggression to his game which could help a Steelers secondary which ranked 30th in the NFL in 2015, and played soft on more than one occasion.
The 6-feet 193-pound defensive back plays a physical brand of football, but such a fact doesn't encompass his entire game. He had 6 interceptions in 2015, and is known as a playmaker. His CBSSports profile says the following, "He's a bit raw and undisciplined, but he makes plays. He also has all the measurables you look for in a cornerback these days, and he should step right in and provide help the Steelers need in a big way."
A playmaking cornerback in the Steelers secondary, when was the last time anyone could say that? Without doing a ton of research you might have to go back to Rod Woodson to find one. Burns' story is tremendous, but the player the Steelers drafted is one the fan base should be excited about watching. No, he wasn't among the big-name cornerbacks, but what the Steelers might have received in the draft is a young man with a solid head on his shoulders, with skills to boot.
Sounds a lot like a first round pick, if you ask me.