Isaiah Green Now Third-Team Corner Ahead Of Josh Victorian

By Matthew Marczi

Although it is but a small indication, it seems as though second-year undrafted cornerback Isaiah Green has surpassed Josh Victorian on the depth chart. Victorian, who also went undrafted a few years ago, actually has some in-game experience, including a start against the Dallas Cowboys last year when injuries necessitated a warm body at the position.

On the new depth chart released on Wednesday, Green is now listed as the third-team cornerback on the right side behind starter Ike Taylor and slot corner William Gay; Victorian is now listed as the fourth-team corner.

Of course, changes in a preseason depth chart following just one game are not sacrosanct, and are in fact subject to change on a day-to-day, or even snap-to-snap basis in practice, depending on the whims of head coach Mike Tomlin.

However, the fact that the change was made at all does serve as a manifestation of the team’s satisfaction with Green’s performances in practice and how it carried over on to the field this past Saturday.

With all of the injuries at the cornerback position, both players saw extended playing time in the preseason opener for the Pittsburgh Steelers against the New York Giants, with Green playing 41 of the team’s 70 defensive snaps and Victorian playing 45.

According to the data tracked by Pro Football Focus, Victorian was targeted six times in 29 coverage snaps, allowing three receptions for 42 yards. He recorded four tackles—one against the run—and no pass breakups.

Meanwhile, Green was targeted three times in 25 coverage snaps without allowing a reception. On one of those three targets, he recorded a pass defense, but he registered zero tackles.

What he did register on film, however, was poise, confidence, and speed.

Speed is perhaps the largest area of separation between Green and Victorian. Both are short at 5’10”, and weigh in the 180-190 pound range. Unlike Victorian, however, Green is capable of delivering a sub-4.4 40-yard dash, and he also plays with speed and quickness.

With the injuries to Cortez Allen, Curtis Brown, DeMarcus Van Dyke, and Terry Hawthorne, Green has been given a legitimate opportunity to earn a spot on the 53-man roster. Van Dyke remains out with a strained hamstring, while Brown and Hawthorne have only just resumed practices, allowing Green to gain ground in what is likely a battle for the fifth and final cornerback spot on the roster.

Due to the fact that both Robert Golden and Shamarko Thomas are adept at playing the slot from the safety position, and the likelihood of the need for an extra roster spot at the tight end position to accommodate some injured veterans, the Steelers may only keep nine defensive backs this year. Can Green, a longshot, be one of them?

About the Author

Matthew Marczi

Passionate Steelers fan with a bit of writing ability. Connoisseur of loud music. Follow me on Twitter @mmarczi.

  • Shannon Stephenson

    It wasn’t that Victorian played bad…it was that Green was good and outplayed him. Vic…time for you to step up.

  • DoctorNoah

    One can chalk it up to inexperience, but Victorian certainly didn’t make a positive impression when he saw game time last year. I know a lot of people out there are pulling for him, but I don’t see any significant reason why Green wouldn’t be able to surpass him.

    The real question mark in my mind is Demarcus van Dyke. A 3rd round pick, right? Rod Woodson saw promise in the guy. He had a few crappy penalties last year on special teams and got benched. Is he a diamond in the rough, or just another failed experiment?

  • gene mann

    I love the speed especially catch up but he also seems to have a nose for the ball and not scared to hit

  • Matthew Marczi

    Completely agree about Van Dyke. I’m still pulling for him to be able to come back strong from that hamstring injury and make the roster, because he has the highest ceiling out of all the backups, I think. Victorian and Green could both be stashed on the practice squad.

  • patrick Mayfield

    Is Shamarko Thomas adept at playing the slot? Last time I checked he was likewise a rookie but unlike Green he wasn’t on the field so much.

  • Matthew Marczi

    He did it with regularity in college, and it was one of the skills that Carnell Lake talked about that they coveted in him, which is why they traded a third-round pick to draft him. He may not have done it at the NFL level yet, but he is being groomed to do just that.

    Thomas played 27 snaps on Saturday with 16 in coverage, all of them in the slot. He was targeted twice and allowed one reception for 15 yards.

  • Brendon Glad

    Victorian can play, I think. As Stephenson said, it may be a bigger plus for Green, than a minus for JV.
    I don’t have HUGE dreams for JV…my dreams revolve around him being the next “Deshea Townsend”. Big dreams for an undrafted-FA…but I just don’t want to get it twisted with Steelers Nation.
    I’m a believer in Josh Victorian. But I still am only dangling my legs in the water. As a comparison, I dove in head-first when I saw Willie Parker play against Minnesota and then Washington in his “do-or-die-preseason”.
    On a side note, LOVED the break on the ball by Golden in his Slot-safety/corner position. He showed the same instincts last year. A little juggs-gun work and he may be a NICE player!

  • Brendon Glad

    I think Van Dyke is a “Raw prospect” like Ike Taylor was. One publication called the 4th Rd. Ike Taylor pick AND I QUOTE: “worst pick in Steelers History”.
    I happened to like it…but I don’t watch much college FB so I was mainly going off of measurements and needs. And if we remember…Ike had a VERY rough go early with Cowher…and even 3-4 years in…but IKE WANTED IT! WORKED AT HIS CRAFT! We don’t know enough about Van Dyke to know if he wants it as badly as Ike wanted it. I hope he does…but Ike never got cut…never missed camp…found a way to always get his reps…especially when they were DO or DIE reps…

    So maybe Van Dyke is unlucky, or maybe Ike wanted it more.

    Now that Ike is an excellent Steeler…I’m hoping it’s the former and not the latter with regards to Van Dyke. And I’m sure you do too.

  • StarSpangledSteeler

    Isaiah Green and Brian Arnfeld were the two biggest surprises for me (in the Giants game). I kept finding myself saying, “Who was that guy?” I thought Green outplayed Victorian overall, and looked quite a bit quicker.

    The Steelers have CBs with good size. They have CBs with good speed. They have CBs who tackle well. And even CBs who cover well. What they don’t have (aside from Cortez) is CBs who break on the ball and make plays. This is what I saw from the limited game action of Green. He finds the ball and goes after it.

    Now can he sustain that consistently? Or was he gambling and got away with it? Does he have the speed to make up ground when he gets beat? And perhaps most importantly, does he have special teams abilities? I suppose we shall see soon enough. I’m rooting for the kid.

  • Matthew Marczi

    What I will be interested to see is how the snaps are divvied up in the next preseason game. I suspect that Devin Smith and Ryan Steed might not even get to see playing time now that Curtis Brown and Terry Hawthorne are back up and moving. Ike will obviously start, but will Brown start opposite him? Or will Gay start and move to the slot in the nickel to give way to Brown on the outside? And then does Brown stay out and Green comes in, making Victorian and Hawthorne the third team?

  • steeltown

    Ive been a supporter of Van Dyke since we brought him in last season, at this point im indifferent as to who wins the spot (best man wins) and I hope he does get back out there and contributes. Also, I agree one if not both the youngsters should be stashed on the PS.. we’ve seen how quickly injury can demolish depth at a single position, I’d hate to have to bring in and activate Buddy Jackson mid-season

  • steeltown

    Very true.. they might put C.Brown outside opposite Ike to get a good luck at his progess, with Gay at nickel.. and yea I would imagine we’ll see extended looks at C.Brown, Hawthorne, Isaiah Green and Victorian through the 1st, 2nd and 3rd Qtrs for sure, very limited Smith and Steed in the 4th IMO

  • StrengthOfVictory

    These roster choices at corner will be KEY, especially when you look ahead to the Steelers schedule this season playing the Pats, Packers, Lions, Vikings, Dolphins, and even the Bengals — all teams likely to throw the ball a lot.

  • Matthew Marczi

    Despite the depth chat reflection, Brown and Victorian 2nd team cbs in practice today according to Jim Wexell. Not surprised, seemed more like a kudos to Green and a challenge to Victorian.