The Pittsburgh Steelers will likely be in the market to add a cornerback or two to their roster during the 2014 NFL Draft. With only three players on their current depth chart who possess any extensive experience at the position, it makes sense that members of the team’s brass are zeroing in on players who can bolster the depth and potentially start down the road.
Luckily for the Steelers, their general manager Kevin Colbert seems to be in good spirits about the 2014 draft class and the potentially deep pool of cornerbacks which Pittsburgh should be able to choose from after he went to the East-West Shrine Game.
According to Mike Prisuta of Steelers.com, Colbert had the following to say about what he saw during his recent trip to St. Petersburg, FL:
I came away encouraged that this year’s East-West roster is better than we’ve had in previous years, [...] The quarterback group was an interesting group. The defensive backs group was an interesting group. It seems like there’s better talent than they’ve had in previous years.
Although many have linked the Steelers to early-round prospects like Darqueze Dennard of Michigan State, Justin Gilbert of Oklahoma State, Kyle Fuller of Virginia Tech, Bradley Roby of Ohio State and Louchiez Purifoy of Florida, the fact that this year’s draft class is stocked with mid-late round talent could be an enormous positive for a franchise like the Steelers that has not selected a cornerback in the first round of a draft since 1997.
Pierre Desir of Division II Lindenwood is a physically imposing yet raw cornerback who could very well be an Ike Taylor-type of project. Marcus Williams of North Dakota State as well as Phillip Gaines of Rice might even peak the Steelers’ interest on day three of the draft too despite questions about their speed and weight (Gaines) or quality of competition (Williams).
Even though they might be smaller-framed than the cornerbacks the Steelers usually target, the physical and tough E.J. Gaines of Missouri, Nevin Lawson of Utah State and Rashaad Reynolds of Oregon State could intrigue the Steelers to add as sub-package options in their secondary too.
I for one am encouraged to see Colbert so encouraged about the potential depth at the cornerback position in this year’s draft class. On the defensive side of the ball, I would argue that cornerback represents the biggest need for this team. In fact, William Gay is the only cornerback on the roster who is currently signed beyond the 2014 regular season.
As nice as it would be to see guys like Curtis Brown, Antwon Blake and Isaiah Green step up this fall, the Steelers would be wise to hedge their bets in the 2014 NFL Draft by adding more depth at the cornerback position. Although many will be clamoring for the franchise to swing for the fences in rounds one through three, I will be interested to see whether or not Pittsburgh’s brass will try to find an under-the-radar prospect or two on days two and three.
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