Cortez Allen is entering a pivotal season where he needs to prove to the Steelers and himself that he can be a full-time starter in Pittsburgh for years to come.
William Gay has always been a divisive lightning rod in the Steel City. He’s had seasons where he was a human piece of toast getting burned nearly every time he went into coverage. But he’s also had some decent seasons and last year was one of those.
Gay is best suited to the slot cover position, but he is vulnerable against bigger wide receivers and tight ends in the mold of Rob Gronkowski or Jimmy Graham.
Those three are certainties for the roster but after that, the battling begins. With a leg up on the others, Antwon Blake and Isaiah Green were part of the team in 2013. Blake played in 14 games mostly as a special teams player but the coaches like his speed. Green has been back and forth on the practice squad and active squad but has only seen action in three games.
Clearly, Green is the most susceptible to being caught by the other corners in camp.
Also challenging for a spot are Brice McCain, Devin Smith and 5th round draft pick Shaquille Richardson. Ideally, the Steelers would love to see Richardson step up and grab a spot. He’s very athletic and can make spectacular plays yet struggles at times to read run vs pass quick enough. Defensive Backs Coach Carnell Lake recruited Richardson to UCLA before he left for Arizona.
As for McCain who signed a one-year deal in April, he started nine career games in five seasons with the Houston Texans. He has five career interceptions.
Smith has the longest shot in my opinion as he has little experience having been on several practice squads but he has never seen game action.
Unless an injury occurs or someone just doesn’t play well in camp, your corners will be Taylor, Allen, Gay, Blake and I’m going to go with Richardson who will most likely be inactive on game days.
Marc Uhlmann writes for and co-owns www.steelcityblitz.com. Follow him on Twitter @SteelDad and the website @SCBlitz. Check us out on Facebook at facebook.com/steelcityblitz and on Fancred.com. You can hear him weekly during the season on Trib-Live Radio.