Mandatory Credit: Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports

Steelers Might Want to Double-Dip at Cornerback in 2014 NFL Draft


 

Zero, ladies and gentlemen of Steeler Nation.

Zero is the number of combined starts Curtis Brown, Antwon Blake and Isaiah Green have under the belts at the professional level.

Although Pittsburgh’s top three cornerbacks on their depth chart possess much more experience than the aforementioned backups, the franchise is by no means set at that positional unit.

Ike Taylor allowed more passing yards than any cornerback in the NFL last season, Cortez Allen had an up-and-down 2013 campaign and William Gay has been a better sub-package cornerback over the course of his career. What could potentially make matters even more stressful for Pittsburgh’s brass is the fact that Taylor and Allen are only signed through the 2014 season while Gay is only under contract through 2015 campaign.

Make no mistake, I have and will continue to be a strong advocate of Pittsburgh using early round selections on a wide receiver and a tight end, something must be done during the upcoming offseason about the lack of experienced depth at the cornerback position.

If the Steelers’ brass are unable to collect some cornerbacks on the free agent market, it might behoove them to double-dip at the position during the 2014 NFL Draft. Although the franchise has not selected a cornerback in the first round of an NFL Draft in over a decade and a half (Chad Scott, 1997), that trend could very well change this May if Justin Gilbert of Oklahoma State or Darqueze Dennard of Michigan State are around when Pittsburgh goes on the clock at number 15 overall.

Even if the team waits until the following day to address their cornerback needs, there should be plenty of talented players available. Bradley Roby of Ohio State, Louichez Purifoy of Florida, Kyle Fuller of Virginia Tech, Aaron Colvin of Oklahoma and E.J. Gaines of Missouri could all
be on the radars of Pittsburgh’s brass, and they could all add some much needed depth to the team’s depleted secondary.

On the draft’s final day, Pittsburgh could even take shots on some smaller school prospects like Pierre Desir of Lindenwood or Marcus Williams of North Dakota State. Antoine Exum or Virginia Tech, who spent the 2013 campaign recovering from a knee injury, might even be worth a mid-late round gamble due to his size and versatility as a potential safety.

 

Final Thoughts

If the Steelers are going to compete with the AFC’s best teams, they need to add more competent depth at the cornerback position. In a pass-first league, adequate and competent depth in the secondary is paramount on the defensive side of the ball.

Pittsburgh lacks experienced depth behind their top three players at that positional unit, and upgrades will need to be found through the upcoming draft. Whether the scouting department, coaching staff and front office select the prospects early or late in the process is definitely up for debate.

What cannot be disputed is the fact that the Steelers’ brass must find some solutions to their cornerback depth problems sooner as opposed to later.

 

 

 

 

Stats & Contract Info. Provided By: ESPN.comSteelers.comSpotrac and Pro Football Reference

 

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Tags: 2014 NFL Draft Cornerbacks Pittsburgh Steelers

  • Thumper833

    Agreed i would be completely fine with multiple DBs taken,
    Although…I think we will see a shift back to more running league wide in a year or two. I would like to see CJ Mosley per your other article or a top shelf d lineman or an OT with the first pick or two.
    I know you also think we should go WR or TE but I think they should wait till next year. 2015 it all comes together

    • Dom DiTolla

      With John Mitchell as the DL Coach, I have faith that he can continue to develop mid-late round talent like he has for the last two decades. Plus, big steps could be taken by Arnfelt & N. Williams next fall.

      OT as a need is frivolous when one considers other needs on the roster. Furthermore, Beachum stepped up as an adequate LT last fall while making Adams & Gilbert duel for the starting RT job could be good for both players.

      Steelers shouldn’t wait to fill their TE needs. Miller will be a UFA in 2015, Spaeth as well and Palmer will be one this spring. There is no depth and no exit strategy if Miller leaves. This team will be screwed if they don’t try to add some explosiveness and versatility at that position on offense as soon as possible.