The history speaks for itself. Under Head Coach Mike Tomlin, the Steelers have not taken a cornerback in the first two rounds of the draft opting instead to draft guys later in the selection process.
Tomlin and General Manager Kevin Colbert may not be able to rely on late round corners and free agent acquisitions any longer because of the way free agency has unfolded. Take for example a guy I really thought was a possibility for the Steelers in former Green Bay cornerback Tramon Williams.
Never in my wildest dreams did I see Williams getting $21 million over three years but that’s exactly what he picked up today in Cleveland. His signing has been indicative of the free agent trend of over-paying cornerbacks so far in the offseason.
The Steelers’ yard sale mentality has paid off in some seasons but typically those were years the team had adequate depth on the roster. That isn’t the case today as the Steelers find themselves dreadfully thin at the position and even more so now with Brice McCain off to Miami.
What we can’t rule out is a trade but the Steelers make substantial trades as often as everyone stays sober in Pittsburgh on St. Patrick’s Day. There’s been a lot of speculation that they’ll attempt to bring the disgruntled Keenan Lewis back from New Orleans.
Obviously there’s a price to get him and if it’s a fifth or lower I’m making the deal. Lewis isn’t a shutdown corner by any stretch but he’s still young and quite serviceable.
If that doesn’t happen, the Steelers will be forced to address the cornerback position in the draft and not just in the later rounds. They’ve already missed out on the top corners in at least the first two tiers of free agency and will need to find a guy in the first or second round.
If this team learned anything over the last few years it’s that you have to have better than average corners to beat good teams. This is especially true when the pass rush is as average as the Steelers’ has been.
Whether this means Trae Waynes, Kevin Johnson, Marcus Peters or Alex Carter, the Steelers have to finally address the position early whether they like it or not.