With less than a month to go until the 2014 NFL Draft, it is obvious that the Pittsburgh Steelers will be addressing the cornerback position yet again and it will be surprising if they don’t double-dip. During the Kevin Colbert era, however, the Steelers haven’t had much success when it comes to drafting that position and that really needs to change this year.
As you can see in the table below, 13 cornerbacks have been drafted by the Steelers dating back to 2000 and only five of them ever started games. Of those five, three measured in at over six feet prior to them being drafted and of those three, two, Ike Taylor and Cortez Allen, came from small schools.
|2012||7||246||Terrence Frederick||Texas A&M||5101||187||4.44||35.0||10’1″||16||0||0|
|2011||4||128||Cortez Allen||The Citadel||6012||197||4.50||37.5||10’9″||18||44||10|
|2009||3||96||Keenan Lewis||Oregon State||6007||195||4.47||33.5||10’3″||19||45||17|
|2009||5||168||Joe Burnett||Central Florida||5093||192||4.58||35.5||9’10″||22||15||0|
|2005||2||62||Bryant McFadden||Florida State||5116||193||4.44||39.5||11’3″||23||80||35|
Unless Oklahoma State cornerback Justin Gilbert falls to the Steelers in the first round this year, there is a pretty good chance Colbert and company might have to go small school shopping once again if they are looking for a player that measures in at 5’11″ or taller and runs a sub 4.55. Luckily, there are a few that fit that criteria.
Pierre Desir – Lindenwood – Desir is a name that all of you should be familiar with by now. While he certainly looks the part at 6’1″, 198 pounds, the biggest knocks on him are his long speed (4.52), tackling ability and the competition that he faced in college. If the Steelers are wanting to draft Desir, they will likely have to do so at the end of the third round or in round four, assuming he last that long. He’s raw like Allen was when he arrived in Pittsburgh and that’s not necessarily a bad thing.
#3 CB in video below
Phillip Gaines – Rice – Like Desir, Gaines is probably a name that you are already familiar with. He had an outstanding 2013 season at Rice where he was a four-year starter and two-year team captain. While he needs to work on the tackling and run support areas of his game, he only allowed 13 receptions in 40 targeted throws his direction last season. Like Desir, the Steelers might need to draft Gaines at the end of round three if still on the board. If he last until round four, it should be considered a gift.
#15 CB in video below
Walt Aikens – Liberty – Aikens is a kid that certainly measures up when it comes to looks and he has already drawn some comparisons to former Steelers cornerback Keenan Lewis. Aikens, who had a good showing at the Senior Bowl, also reportedly showed well at his Pro Day after not being invited to the scouting combine. While it is hard to judge his draft stock, the Steelers might be able to nab him in either the fifth or sixth round. He does have some character issues, however, that need to be looked at closely.
#19 LCB in video below
Travis Carrie – Ohio – Carrie might be a name that you’re not too familiar with but the Steelers certainly know something about him being as their doctors repaired his torn labrum in 2012. He is already 23, however, as medical issues resulted in him spending six years in college. He is smart, physical and fast, but still very raw. In 2013, Carrie was an All-MAC First Team punt returner and a Third Team cornerback. He also served as a team captain. Carrie figures to be a day-three prospect that could potentially go undrafted.
#18 CB in video below
Those are my four small school cornerback prospects that I believe the Steelers should consider drafting so now it is time for you to add a few more in the comments.