As the hours wind down, training camp is almost here Steeler Nation! Due to our excitement, we at Steelers N Stuff have been breaking down each position on the team. We continue with our coverage on the cornerbacks.
State of the Cornerback position: The cornerbacks will not look much different than what you seen in 2013. Returning the Steelers have 34 year old and 12 year veteran, Ike Taylor. Taylor has stood the test of time for the last decade against the team’s top receivers and has rarely let an opponent have a good day. Also, the Steelers will keep Cortez Allen and William Gay in the mix. Allen will be in charge of guarding the opponent’s second best wide receiver (unless he improves dramatically), while Gay will be in charge of the slot.
Eight men make up this position. Behind the top three, the Steelers drafted Shaquille Richardson in the fifth round. The Steelers also have on the roster – Anton Blake, Isaiah Green, Brice McCain, and Devin Smith.
A look at the cornerbacks…
Ike Taylor: Taylor has been like Mr. Reliable for the Steelers defense over the last decade but like them all, eventually loses a step. Towards the end of the 2013 season, Taylor seemed to have lost a step against some of the top receivers in the game like Josh Gordon. Taylor is still plenty serviceable for this defense and after taking a pay cut to stay on the team, Taylor will continue playing defense in Pittsburgh.
Cortez Allen: As the season grew longer, Cortez Allen seemed to have gotten better in 2013. A pick-six to help win a close game against the Packers last season opened a lot of eyes. Now in Allen’s fourth season, he really needs to show he can be a quality starter.
William Gay: Gay has been more than serviceable for what the Steelers have asked out of him over the years. Gay finished the 2013 season with 63 tackles, two forced fumbles and one interception. Now 29 years old, Gay continues to stay a good role player for the black and gold.
Antwon Blake: The Steelers seemed to have found a solid special team player in Blake. In 14 games, Blake made 11 special team tackles after being claimed off waivers from the Jaguars. Can Blake turn into a role player on the defense? He is now entering his third season and is only 23 years old.
Shaquille Richardson: Starting 37-out-of-49 games at the University of Arizona, the Steelers may have found a gem with Richardson. He recorded 30 pass break ups and 10 interceptions in his college career. Unlike the rest of the cornerbacks, Richardson stands at 6’0” and 194 pounds. A bigger-bodied cornerback that are tougher to find.
Isaiah Green: So far, Green has just been a special teams project in the NFL. Green has been placed on the active roster and practice squad a couple times. Green was active for three games in 2013 and played on special teams.
Brice McCain: The Steelers came to terms on a one-year deal back in April to get the veteran McCain on the roster. McCain is entering his sixth NFL season and made four starts in 2013. McCain recorded seven pass break ups and one interception.
Devin Smith: Smith has bounced around the league early in his career. Spending time with the Cowboys and Dolphins before coming to Pittsburgh. Smith was an interesting prospect when coming out of Wisconsin but went undrafted in 2013 and must prove he can make an NFL roster now.
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