Last season, the Steelers started off with Cortez Allen, William Gay, and Ike Taylor as the top three CBs. They finished with William Gay, Brice McCain, and Antwon Blake.
Tragedy struck when Ike broke his forearm early in the season and Cortez failed to live up to his potential. It became clear that the depth behind them was imperative as the season wore on. McCain and Blake stepped up admirably to fill in the spots.
But that was last year. What about this year?
This time around, the depth isn’t as assuring. McCain is gone. Ike Taylor is likely gone as well. Allen is still a mess. Gay is the only solid player in the secondary.
But who’s behind them? Currently on the roster, only Cortez Allen and William Gay have plenty of NFL caliber experience. Blake and Webb combined are extremely limited in that regard.
If the Steelers don’t do something to add players to the secondary soon, the lack of depth could be a fatal mistake.
As we have seen, games take their toll.
It’s important to have fresh bodies who can come in at a moments notice.
The Steelers seem determined at adding young depth. The front office has stated that they’re pretty much done signing outside free agents, so the draft is the only place to go for depth now. I’ve said before that I would go OLB over CB in the first round of the draft, but if the guy they want isn’t there, I’d be glad to go with Kevin Johnson instead.
Johnson has the fluid hips, size, and demeanor that would allow him to be a success in Pittsburgh.
The Steelers had dinner with the talented CB’s parents as well. So there seems to be mutual interest in both parties.
Ultimately, it’s up to the team to pull the trigger on him.
It may be on the team’s best interest to double dip at the cornerback position. A good place to start would be using an early mid-round pick on a talented cornerback whose stock has fallen due to injury or poor combine/pro days.
Players like Ifo Ekpre-Olomu or Eric Rowe would provide good depth and talent. They wouldn’t need to start immediately, likely taking their time to heal completely and to develop.
The Steelers are in a bit of a pickle if they don’t address this situation urgently enough. Whichever way the chess pieces fall, it will certainly be a nail biter in the next upcoming weeks.
Info courtesy of Steelers.com