Steelers Lake Sings Praises Of Blake

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.

  • Steve

    Let us see what Blake can do on the field during the regular season.

  • JohnB

    if all goes well, theres going to be some serious speed to this team.

  • steeltown

    I’ve always liked the Blake acquisition. He reminds me of Shark Thomas to a degree, short in stature but fast and physical. Being that he is such a beast on special teams he is the perfect bottom depth chart player.

  • SteelersDepot

    Let’s hope that’s limited to special teams doing.

  • Madi

    Really? I’m going to hope he excels at CB position and earns a starting job.

  • Madi

    Good. I like him a lot on ST. I hope he actually turns into a real defensive player.

  • Steve

    Thanks Dave for keeping us posted. This is my site for Steelers News. The skys the limit for players. With last years injuries, players are only one play away from starting.

  • Bill Sechrengost

    I just don’t see this guy getting a lot of playing time at DB. He is only 5′ 9 1/4″, which is pretty short for CB. I do hope he makes the 53-man roster to help on special teams.

  • dgh57

    If he’s a upgrade to Curtis Brown I’ll take him! Which means if he can at least play in the nickel and dime defenses. Hopefully we can work up from there but I have my doubts!

  • Matthew Suloman

    Always optimism in steeler nation. If we would’ve drafted Xavier Rhodes in lieu of Jarvis last year – this article wouldn’t need to be written. Funny how a wrong positional pick AND PLAYER keeps the steelers playing a game of ‘catch up’ every year during draft time.

  • Matthew Suloman

    And not letting Sanders walk to NE last year, along with the Shamarko trade – cost us two valuable selections. I just don’t understand where their thought processes are. Baffling

  • SumnerYoung

    Ben wanted them to keep Sanders. If they would’ve let Sanders go to the Pats, then it is likely a rookie named Wheaton would’ve started the season as the #2, and he would’ve broken his fingers, and missed games, forcing more unproven players into playing time (Moye, Justin Brown). Cotchery was there, but they weren’t sold on him as a #2. Also, Heath was returning after a serious knee injury, and nobody was quite sure how he was going to play. Therefore, you keep Sanders so you have an experienced player with speed to throw to. A franchise QB should have a say in the receivers he throws the ball to, and Ben probably believed they had a shot at the playoffs last year (which somehow they did after the horrible start). I think letting Sanders go to the Pats last year would’ve been a big “F.U.” to their QB. I don’t think you want to piss off your best player before the season starts. That’s not optimism; that’s realism.

  • 20Stoney

    Agree about Sanders, and said it at the time. Apparently they thought they were a playoff team. That’s the only way it makes any sense to me.

  • dgh57

    As we all witnessed this past draft we don’t draft CBs in the first round so even if we didn’t draft J. Jones it wouldn’t of been a CB such as Rhodes. It’s also to early to determine J. Jones abilities at OLB at this time.

  • ApexSteel

    It would be great if he could come out and play well because he has great measurables for someone who’s only 5’9 (4.3 40, 39 inch vertical, and almost 10 inch hands), but I doubt we’ll get that much production out of him.

  • joed32

    If we would have drafted Dan Marino or Tom Brady?

  • Krankor

    I agree with 20Stoney. They thought they were a playoff team. And when you think you’re a playoff team, there’s another factor that comes into play: it was the *Patriots*. If the Patriots thought Sanders would help them, and you’re thinking you’re a playoff team in the AFC, the *last* thing in the world you want to do is help the Patriots. If it had been, say, the Rams, or the Vikings…

  • unfurious

    Even if all goes poorly, there will be serious speed. It will just be running in the wrong direction. Seriously though, I’m excited to see this come together.

  • unfurious

    While I like true height, he runs a 4.3 with a 40″ vert. That will help if he can use it.

  • Matthew Suloman

    Good point

  • Matthew Suloman


  • Matthew Suloman

    Yeah it’s a crapshoot. Basically gambling

  • 20Stoney

    Nothing wrong with preparing and striving, but I think it’s part of a good personnel person to be able to make a realistic appraisal of where you are. Sometimes a team is full of holes and a high pick is more valuable than a year of a mediocre player.

  • sean mcmartin

    with all the good coaches on the Steelers staff, I think they will at least be able to judge who is good enough to help this team win and who is not. If Brice is able to help them win games. It will be a great pick-up


    they would of taken Justin Gilbert in heartbeat

  • dgh57

    They would of taken Shazier in a heartbeat and that’s exactly what they did. I just have a feeling that was their target all along. They said they had confidence in Blake and McCain and what they had at CB and so they thought it best to strengthen the supporting cast in Tuitt, Shazier, and Mitchell through FA.