A.J. Green, Julio Jones, Vincent Jackson, Marques Colston, Andre Johnson, and possibly Josh Gordon are just a few of the wide receivers the Steelers defense will be facing this year. Kind of a scary thought once you take a look at the Steelers cornerbacks. Here are the nine corners currently on the roster. Ike Taylor, William Gay, Cortez Allen, Shaquille Richardson, Antwon Blake, Brian McCain, Isaiah Green, Deion Belue, and Devin Smith. I don’t know about you but thinking about the second list of names attempting to cover the first list is terrifying.
The Steelers waited until the fifth round to draft Shaquille Richardson out of Arizona. That could be seen as a vote of confidence from the front office, that they trust the corners on the roster. Personally, I think it was a bad decision to not add more talent to that position. Last season the Steelers only had ten interceptions. Only three of those picks were made by a corner, two by Cortez Allen. Ike Taylor is 34 years old now and is not a number one lockdown corner anymore. Based on who else is on the roster though, he might be. William Gay is 29 and an alright number two or three corner. He is not a number one. It seems like this is the third straight year that we have been expecting more from Cortez, so we shall see how he plays this year. But I don’t expect him to shut down the likes of A.J. Green on a consistent basis.
Assuming those are the top three guys and Shaq makes the roster, the Steelers are left with Antwon Blake, Brian McCain, Isaiah Green, Deion Belue, and Devin Smith. You’d have to assume three of those guys are going to get cut. I hope Antwon Blake makes the roster, for no other reason than he appears to have all the confidence in the world. The third year undrafted corner out of UTEP wants to become an All-Pro one day. Having too much confidence as a corner might be the best thing for young corner, just look at Richard Sherman. However, with that being said about Blake, I’m not expecting him to be a stud this year.
Therefore, I am getting close to panic mode about the upcoming season. After writing this all I can think of is Johnny Manziel throwing the ball to whoever, probably not Josh Gordon, all over the place against the Steelers on opening day at Heinz Field for a victory. Sending ESPN into a Tim Tebow-esque frenzy that Johnny Football is the future of quarterbacking in the NFL. Meanwhile the Steelers are 0-1 headed to Baltimore for a Thursday Night game. Nightmare situation.
The cornerback position is by far the Steelers weakest position group on defense. As far as solutions go, it might be up to the coaching to help the corners. Dick LeBeau should use the speedy linebackers to help in pass coverage and hopefully Mike Mitchell fills in seamlessly for Ryan Clark at safety. The Steelers are also going to need Carnell Lake to coach these guys up and get the most out of their potential or else it could be a long year watching the Steelers defense struggle to get off the field.
What do you think Steelers Nation? Am I panicking way too early? Or are my fears warranted?