The Pittsburgh Steelers will enter the 2016 NFL Draft in need of a cornerback. The same could be said in 2015 and in 2014. It has been a recurring theme, with commentators tripping over themselves to remind fans that the Steelers haven’t drafted a cornerback in the first round since taking Chad Scott in 1997.
- That’s the longest first round cornerback drought in the NFL, we’re reminded.
Is it neglect or a simple product of no viable corners remaining on the board when the Steelers turn has come to draft? That’s a question we can’t answer, but today we look at just how badly the Steelers need help at cornerback.
Steelers Depth Chart @ Cornerback Entering the 2016 NFL Draft – the Starters
In William Gay the Pittsburgh Steelers have a proven starting NFL cornerback who has shown time and time again he can make opposing offenses pay when he gets the ball in his hands to the tune of five straight pick sixes between 2013 and 2015.
- The Steelers resigned William Gay, keeping him in Pittsburgh.
It was a move the Steelers wanted to make, it was also a move the Steelers had no choice to make. Penciled in opposite William Gay is Ross Cockrell, a player that Kevin Colbert picked up after the Buffalo Bills discarded him.
The Steelers could do worse than Cockrell as a starting cornerback, who had two interceptions in the 2015 regular season, one fumble recovery, followed by another in the playoffs against the Bengals. Still, Cockrell’s body of work is quite thin.
Steelers Depth Cart @ Cornerback Entering the 2016 NFL Draft – Backups
Behind William Gay and Ross Cockrell, the Steelers depth chart is led by a pair of draftees from the 2015 NFL Draft. The first is Senquez Golson the second is Doran Grant. Both men made news for the wrong reasons in the summer of 2015. Golson because he was injured, and Grant because he was cut, causing a minor firestorm in Steelers Nation.
Doran Grant returned via the practice squad and found himself on the 53 roster late in the season, where he logged all of one snap with the Steelers defense.
- For those keeping notes at home, the Steelers also have 3 other cornerbacks on their roster.
The most notable is Isaiah Frey (no relation to Walder Frey of the Trident) who was drafted by the Chicago Bears in 2012, and has spent time on the practice squads and active rosters of both the Bears and the Buccaneers. He joined the Steelers practice squad in October 2015.
The Steelers also have Al-Hajj Shabazz and Montell Garner who is simply listed as a a defensive back.
That’s a depth chart that would fail to scare a CFL offensive coordinator, let alone an NFL offensive coordinator.
Steelers 2016 Draft Need at Cornerback
Mike Tomlin is putting a lot of faith in Senquez Golson, and that’s a cause for worry. Steelers Nation can pray and hope that Golson lives up to his billing. Assuming that will happen as risky, as the case of Kris Farris showed so long ago.
- Doran Grant obviously has some serviceable skills, and if he can work himself into a 4th or 5th corner in 2016 that will be a positive.
But that doesn’t change the fact that the Steelers need both quality and quantity at cornerback, and they must find that in the 2016 NFL Draft. Put simply the Steelers 2016 draft need at cornerback can only be considered as High. Very high.