Steelers Pre-Camp Depth Chart Update – Cornerback

With minicamp in the rearview mirror and training camp on the horizon, the Pittsburgh Steelers should already have all of the main components of their offseason roster in place, with all draft picks signed and no more free agents projected to be added until further evaluation.

It’s possible that a need should arise for further additions, either due to poor performance or injuries, once we reach training camp.

But for the time being, we should take a look at the depth chart that the front office has put together since the end of the 2013 season and see how well it stacks up in terms of quality and depth.

Due to the cumbersome lengths that offseason rosters can reach, we will be projecting a number or range of roster spots per position and focusing on that number of players per position, with other potential notables receiving mention below.

Position: Cornerback

Projected Roster Spots: 5-6

Ike Taylor: Is this it for Taylor, in his 12th season? While he says he doesn’t want to play anywhere else, I have to imagine that he might still want to play after this year. Whether or not the Steelers give him another opportunity in 2015 will very much depend on how he bounces back this year.

Cortez Allen: Allen had a bit of an aborted beginning to his career as a starter last year. He was basically demoted to playing the slot for most of the season. But he bounced back late in the year, and even recorded a pick six. He battled some injuries last season, but he appears to be healthy heading into this year. Hopefully that will make all the difference.

William Gay: Gay has a bit of a history of rising to the occasion after being counted out, starting in his second year in 2008, when he stepped in due to injury and helped the defense march on to a Super Bowl without missing a beat. He had to fill in as starter last year while Allen struggled to find his bearings, but he is at his best when he is allowed to stay in the slot.

Antwon Blake: Blake, the 5’9” speedster whom the Steelers picked up with final cut downs last season, didn’t get to play much last year due to his unfamiliarity with the system. But he’s been practicing as the number four corner (and in the slot while Taylor was absent) all offseason so far, which would lead one to believe that he’s in the driver’s seat for that role. He has reportedly had a good offseason overall so far, but he’ll have competition in training camp.

Brice McCain: The Steelers signed McCain to add a slot corner with experience, but there are no guarantees that he makes the roster. He’s apparently been playing behind Blake so far. His roster spot may come down to special teams.

Shaquille Richardson: The rookie fifth-rounder does possess one trait that gives him an advantage over the rest of his competition, and that would be his height. At six foot, he has three inches over most of his competition. We’ve heard nothing negative about his progress so far, unlike the last fifth-round rookie cornerback.

Others: The fact that both Shamarko Thomas and Robert Golden can play the slot hinders the opportunities for advancement for the rest of the cornerbacks, which could result in the team carrying only five. If the unit as a whole performs well enough on special teams, however, it’s not out of the question that they even carry seven.

Isaiah Green, another short burner, saw some special teams duty last season. Devin Smith has spent some time now in the system as well. The two could at least battle for a spot on the practice squad, where both saw time a year ago.

About the Author

Matthew Marczi
Passionate Steelers fan with a bit of writing ability. Connoisseur of loud music. Follow me on Twitter @mmarczi.
  • Eric MacLaurin

    I think we are going to see a lot of special teams only players replaced by legit prospects or at least guys that can play a significant number of snaps in addition to special teams.

    I miss the days when you could argue that a back up should be starting.

  • Steel PAul

    Yeesh! IF-ey.

    If Cortez gets hurt..? Neither Blake or McCain give me much confidence as the 3.

  • Matt Manzo

    Still amazed we didn’t get 2 cbs in the draft. Hopefully guys progress and injuries stay away!

  • Andrew Grigsby

    Just pray nobody gets hurt or they will be in big trouble. I like the Shazier pick but tough to leave those other CB on the board in round 1. Hope Colbert knows what he is doing.

  • sean mcmartin

    Jarvis jones is no bigger than last year, Tuitt is not getting 1st team reps. Worthlis is Injured again. Cam lost his starting job in SD, Dont see how adding one rookie middle LB is going to improve the pass rush and hide the secondary’s weakness . Just because Taylor took a pay cut does not mean he will play better.They have no shut down CB and added no proven players..

  • Alex Kozora

    Well shoot, let’s just cancel the season then.

  • ApexSteel

    They didn’t want Jarvis to gain weight and you can get stronger without gaining weight. Who cares if Tuitt didn’t get first team reps in football in shorts? Woirlds injury wasn’t serious, but they kept him out because (this might be news to you) football in shorts doesn’t matter. Cam Thomas still played A LOT. Adding the rookie linebacker who CAN pass rush and is fast enough to pass cover will help the pass rush and allow the safety that was playing LB to move back to safety. Not to mention the younger faster safety that was signed will also help the secondary. I agree with you that it would be nice to have a shut down corner and more proven players, but be a realist about the situation not a pessimist.

    To summarize if you didn’t read all of it. Your analysis is trash.

  • Scot Hickerson

    Are they listing Shamarko Thomas as a #7 corner.

  • Donny Simmons

    Shark is a Strong Safety who can cover the slot.

  • Joeybaggadonuts

    And another thing, Ike may not be able to cover another teams #1 exclusively but he can still play if he stays in the parameters of the defense. Polamalu playing safety with Mitchell should help as well.

  • steeltown

    McCain might be the odd man out, unless we’re keeping 11 total DBs