Time for Steelers to make CB draft priority
APRIL 1, 2014
By Scott Brown
PITTSBURGH -- The Steelers have not taken a cornerback in the first round of the NFL draft since 1997, often finding players in the middle to late rounds that they developed into serviceable to quality starters.
That changes this year for a number of reasons, not the least of which is the Steelers need more help to counter passing attacks that increasingly force teams out of their base defense and demand five or six defensive backs on the field at the same time.
The Steelers addressed safety with their most significant free-agent signing, bringing in Mike Mitchell to replace Ryan Clark at free safety. They also have high hopes for 2013 fourth-round pick Shamarko Thomas on the back end of their defense.
The Steelers showed interest in a handful of cornerbacks prior to the start of the free-agent signing period. But the only move they have made at that position is agreeing to a pay cut with Ike Taylor that will bring the 11th-year veteran back for one more season.
Taylor, who turns 34 in May, will help develop the cornerbacks the Steelers select in the draft -- yes, plural. One of those is likely to be Oklahoma State's Justin Gilbert or Michigan State's Darqueze Dennard in the first round.
Whether or not the Steelers have their choice between the two players widely considered the top cornerbacks in the draft remains to be seen.
Fourteen teams pick ahead of the Steelers and the Lions at No. 10 are among those who could go with a cornerback in the first round. One thing working in favor of the Steelers is enough teams ahead of them have such an acute need at quarterback that three of four of them could be picked early, pushing higher-rated players down in the draft.
On paper it doesn't seem like the Steelers could go wrong with either Gilbert or Dennard.
Hes not a ball hawking corner though, which isnt a quality i think a corner needs to have. His worst quality is the tendency to be grabby. He can have zero interceptions for all i care if its because no one is willing to throw towards him
Anyway, on topic... I'm REALLY leaning toward Dennard - and starting to think he might be there
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Since starting this thread, I began watching a lot of film on CB's in the Draft. To tell the truth, I dont think either is the best CB. If given the choice, I'd pick Kyle Fuller. He seems to me like he has the most upside and is more physically gifted then the other 2.
I must be wrong though, because all the experts are sticking with the other 2. Thoughts?