Pittsburgh Steelers cornerback Antwon Blake has played all of nine defensive snaps so far during his two seasons in the league, but defensive backs coach Carnell Lake heaped a lot of praise on the UTEP product during the 2014 NFL Draft.
“The one or two corners that we picked up last year and this year; (one) would be Antwon Blake, from Jacksonville. I had him graded fairly high going into last year’s draft,” said Lake. “Blake is very fast. He didn’t get invited to the Combine; some clocks had him sub-4.3 (in the 40-yard dash). He’s very strong on top of that, he’s quick.
“He was so tough the Jaguars tried to use him at safety even though he’s under 6-foot (5-9, 198). He turned out to be a really good special teams player for us. I’m thinking he could turn out to be a really good corner for us.”
Blake, who was originally signed by the Jacksonville Jaguars as an undrafted free agent in 2012, was a special teams warrior in 2013 for the Steelers as he was on the field for 259 special team snaps that resulted in him registering 12 tackles.
During the offseason, the Steelers signed free agent cornerback Brice McCain. However, like Blake, McCain is also undersized and probably best suited to play in the slot as either a nickel or dime back.
While Blake seems to have upside as a cornerback in the eyes of Lake, baring injury, he’s unlikely to see much, if any, playing time on defense in 2014. However, because of his special teams contributions, you can bet that coach Danny Smith will be fighting to keep him on the 53 man roster this year.