Panthers Sign Brandon Boykin, Steelers Cornerback Depth Now “Officially” Thin

No one in Steelers Nation knows if Steelers secondary will improve or backslide in 2016, but one fact is certain: It will look far different. The face of the Steelers defensive backfield continues to change as the Carolina Panthers sign Brandony Boykin, whom the Steelers acquired via trade during training camp.

Brandon Boykin was the subject of one of the Steelers strangest stories in 2015.

The Steelers gave up a conditional 5th round pick to get Boykin and when he arrived at St. Vincents, many commentators thought he might be push for the starting job. Instead, Boykin remained on the bench, unable to move past Antwon Blake and Ross Cockrell.

Boykin did begin splitting time with Antwon Blake late in the Steelers 2015 season, and generally did well. The reasons for his failure to play were never publicly discussed, but indications are that he had difficulty picking up Keith Butler’s defense.

Regardless, Brandon Boykin generally did play well for the Steelers when his number was called, having intercepted a ball in the Steelers rout over the Colts, and registering a sack in the team’s late season loss to Baltimore. Boykin didn’t make any “splash plays” in the playoffs, but did record six tackles.

Steelers Cornerback Depth Decidedly Thin

Kevin Colbert and Mike Tomlin took the Pittsburgh Steelers into free agency with a plan, and that plan was clearly not to overpay anyone beyond what they determined was their worth. Former starting cornerback Antwon Blake is now a Tennessee Titan and Boykin is now a Carolina Panther.

As of now, the Steelers prospective 2016 depth chart at cornerback would have William Gay and Ross Cockrell as starters, with Senquez Golson as the number one backup. Doran Grant could also be in the mix, although the team is rumored to be considering moving him to safety.

Cortez Allen remains with the team, although Mike Tomlin has publically stated that he has doubts about Allen’s ability to contribute and does not even know his health status.

  • While Kevin Colbert vote of non-confidence in Allen was not as strong as Tomlin’s, Allen will have to prove he deserves a roster spot in training camp.

In contrast, at the NFL owners meeting Mike Tomlin spoke glowingly of Senquez Golson and the NFL Owners meetings, the Steelers 2015 2nd round pick whose season was lost to injury, and Steel Curtain Rising will expanding on this further. Stay tuned Steelers Nation.

Free agency go your head spinning? Check out our Steelers 2016 free agent tracker and/or click here to read all articles on our Steelers 2016 Free Agent Focus section. 


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