Double-Dipping At Cornerback Likely For Steelers

It has been a long time since the Pittsburgh Steelers have selected a cornerback in the first round of the NFL Draft. We have to go back in time, the whole way to 1997, when they selected Chad Scott out of the University of Maryland with the 24th overall pick. He had a productive run with the team, highlighted by back-to-back seasons with 5 picks each in 2000 and 2001.

“There were so many memories,” he said. “It was a childhood dream to play here. I had a couple of two interception games, probably the one against the Titans at Three Rivers Stadium. I am part of a trivia question – the last interception at Three Rivers Stadium was by me. “

As we’ve seen the last few years, the team could’ve really used a corner to pick off 5 passes, as those seasons, along with Dewayne Washington’s 5 picks in 2000, were each the most by a corner since 1997 when Scott was drafted. To have 10 picks between two corners in one season is almost unheard of, as we’ve grown accustomed to interceptions clanging off Ike Taylor’s hands of stone.

Since then, the cornerback carousel has seemingly been spitting out one disaster after another, whether it be Ricardo Colclough or Curtis Brown. The situation is so dire presently that the team’s braintrust will likely double-dip at the position, perhaps taking two within the first five picks. It would be the first time since 2011 since they took two cornerbacks in the same draft. That draft yielded them Curtis Brown in the third and Cortez Allen in the fourth. Brown is gone and Allen’s 2014 season looked like a disaster, and all of this after handing him a lucrative new deal.

A recent team who double-dipped at the position, with tremendous results is the Seattle Seahawks. Coincidentally enough, both were taken in the exact same draft where the Steelers took Brown and Allen.  Richard Sherman and Byron Maxwell in the fifth and sixth rounds, respectively, helped form half of the dynamic secondary known leaguewide as the “Legion of Boom.”

Sherman, a multi-time All-Pro, can stake his claim (as he’ll likely tell you anyways) as the top corner in the league, bar none. To be exact, 19 other corners went before him in the draft, and as crazy as it sounds, four teams, counting Pittsburgh, drafted two corners before Sherman’s name came off the board. I’m pretty sure the team would gladly give Allen, Brown and perhaps their entire starting secondary for the services of Sherman, but that’s why drafting isn’t an exact science.

Maxwell is no slouch either, and he turned his stellar play into a 6-year/$50 million deal with the Philadelphia Eagles a few weeks ago. It remains to be seen if his play was a byproduct of being surrounded by such talented players on that defense, but Chip Kelly and Philadelphia will find out soon enough if their large investment was worth it.

That same draft had some hits, like Baltimore’s Jimmy Smith, Arizona’s Patrick Peterson, and obviously members of the Legion of Boom, past and present. The jury is still out on Allen, although Mike Tomlin believes he can pick himself up and become a contributing member to his ball club.

“Players are going to have trying times over the course of their career, whether it’s competency or injury related,” Tomlin said. “Obviously 2014 was not a good season for him on multiple fronts from that standpoint, but I am excited to watch him bounce back from that.”

Even if he does bounce back, he will have some competition from a likely high draft pick or two. And here’s some food for thought, with the speculation the team may draft tight end Maxx Williams, or their visit yesterday with Clive Walford-the selection immediately following Allen’s in 2011 was none other than Julius Thomas.

  • Vinhuddle

    I hope the brain trust does double dip at CB and in the earlier part of the draft. There’s not too many Sherman’s and Maxwell’s to be found that often, that late. I wonder if Quinten Rollins will be around in the 3rd to be the 2nd one taken by the Steelers but that’s just my hope.

  • steeltown

    Double dip is almost a certainty IMO just look at the offseason roster positional numbers so far. We have atleast 8 or 9 guys on roster at every Defensive position except CB where we have only 5 currently under contract- Gay, C.Allen, Blake, Webb, Fogg

  • Nwall2

    I guess something like K. Johnson, Jalen Collins, Pj Williams in the 1st, 2nd, or 3rd and a guy like Justin Coleman in the 5th or 6th

  • Colin

    it would be great if Marcus Peters fell to the steelers in the 2nd round but that most likely wont happen teams like the bengals and rams are too willing too take chances on those types of guys.

  • Lucas Campbell

    I think Tomlin and the Steelers’ locker room is exactly the type of place that can handle a player like Peters. Tomlin is a player’s coach who is almost like one of the guys, plus he showed last year that one player is NOT bigger than the team(Blount). And is Peters gonna argue with Deebo??

  • Vinhuddle

    I’d hope he wouldn’t be foolish to try and choke Deebo.lol

  • Lucas Campbell

    lol exactly. Their coach ,Chris Petersen, is a disciplinarian type who rubs a lot of players the wrong way. Was he ever in trouble prior to the new coaching regime? And we all saw how well Greg Schiano’s tough-guy coaching methods worked in the NFL.

  • steeltown

    I think Peters is most definitely in play at #22 I would think he and K.Johnson are both on the Steelers board in Rd1 in regards to the CB position.

  • steelster

    What about taking ifo in the third round and doran grant in the forth round ?

  • Lucas Campbell

    Ifo in the 3rd they should be all over that. Without his injury he was a 1st rounder

  • puCrepeaP

    That tidbit about taking two corners before Richard Sherman makes my stomach churn

  • Lucas Campbell

    How about Julius Thomas going right after Cortez? lol. Imagine him and Heath in double-tight formations

  • Guest

    1.

  • Anthony Glenn

    1. OLB Dupree
    2. CB Rollins
    3. CB Ifo
    4. TE Walford
    5. WR Smelter
    6. Trade away to secure Ifo and move up closer in the 3rd round
    6. RB Matt Jones
    7. DE or CB whoever has better upside.
    I know some will think this is crazy but who can say we always hit when it comes to CB in the draft. 3 by my count have been the most productive of recent years and only 1 is still on the roster. Drafting another CB in the 7th won’t hurt for insurance. And back to back rounds for CB is just plan smart. Sorry Allen in my opinion is a bust hence why I said 1 is still on the roster.

  • 20Stoney

    I don’t know whether to be excited about double dipping or to think it will wind up being a waste of 2 picks. Our track record with corners isn’t exactly confidence inspiring.

  • steeltown

    Triple dip?

  • Brian Tollini

    Super Bowl rings come from the draft, and all picks count. 1st round, 7th round, they are all important.

  • steelster

    Yes. I doubt he lasts that long but he may not be able to play until towards the end of the season. He may be the poor man’s version of revis.

  • Lucas Campbell

    I like this draft but I doubt Walford will be there in the 4th

  • puCrepeaP

    The more swings you take, the better chances you’ll get a hit right?

  • Steve Johnson

    The draft is a hit N miss system. But why does it seem like the Steelers have missed more often when it comes to CB’s and DB’s? The TE from Miami in the 2nd Rd? Too early IMO.

  • Steve Johnson

    Maybe in the 3rd, I doubt he will be there in the 4th when they pick.

  • JesusChristTheGodMan .

    Yet they have hit on WRs almost everytime, while NE can’t hit on a WR to save their life and have to get other teams WRs (Edelman being the exception). Idk either some teams just struggle to evaluate a position or it seems more likely that you just have a good run of drafting a position, hopefully its the latter and we start snagging some good CBs. I also think we evaluated CBs based on our system for too long rather than on their overall ability as CB in man and zone but we at least had a couple successful guys (Keenan Lewis, William Gay, Bryant McFadden)

  • Anthony Glenn

    Def too early in the draft to pick him up. That’s reaching.

  • Anthony Glenn

    Triple dip most def. the more the better. We don’t do good when it comes to picking CB for some reason.

  • Anthony Glenn

    If everything goes right he should be there if not then I will settle for TE Jesse James.

  • Steve Johnson

    I agree, the Steelers have done an excellent job at evaluating WR’s. Maybe their lack of success has been due to their philosophy. Hopefully in 2015 that will change.

  • Steve Johnson

    LOL. Select six CB’s/DB’s, maybe they will get one right.

  • Vinhuddle

    I like your draft. I’m keeping my fingers crossed Blanchflower will develop and eliminates that need. With the 4th rd pk, get an OL and let home learn under Munchak or dbl dip at OLB.

  • Vinhuddle

    Yeah but the Broncos don’t have the luxury of Cortez.lol

  • Anthony Glenn

    I hope he also develops into a good enough TE for upcoming years but I don’t see that happening. I hope I am wrong. I address the TE position in the 4th because I don’t want us to get to the point next year where we will have to spend 2 picks in one draft for TE. And for OLB I feel that Jarvis Jones will get his act together and come around. If not we will certainly address it in free agency in 2016 because we will certainly have the money to do so.

  • Devon Day

    Peters, Johnson, or Jones in the 1st, OLB 2nd, Ifo in the 3rd. Should be the draft strategy. Get a good starter in the 1st, using those three options. Find an OLB in the second, whoever that may be (I prefer Kikaha). Nab Ito, a gem if there ever was one, in the 3rd.

  • steelster

    Rollins is being considered by some scouts to be a free safety in the nfl. Too slow to be a cb.

  • Rick M

    If they go corner in the first round, I don’t think they’ll draft another CB later. They’ll probably think they have ‘their guy’ and will rely on Gay, Blake and hopefully a much-improved Allen. But if they don’t go CB in Round 1, I think you’re spot on in suggesting they’ll take two of them. It isn’t outright desperation, but they do have to find at least one decent one this year.

  • H.K. northern cali

    one of the two have got to hit!!

  • Anthony Glenn

    I’m not sure if I trust our scouts about CB. Everytime we draft a CB he doesn’t pan out. If he’s a FS I’m sure that will be an upgrade from what we have now. Now I stated to pick Rollins in the 2nd only because I think CB Johnson and Darby won’t be there but if they are then I’m choosing them over Rollins all day.

  • Rick M

    Truer words were never spoken. Getting Antonio in Round 6 and Beachum in Round 7 proves that you can find good players in any round through good scouting. Now they just have to start emulating their offensive drafting success on defense.

  • Rick M

    They did at least hit on 1 of their 8 secondary selections since 2009, Keenan Lewis. He’s a successful starter assigned to the opposition’s top receiver. So it hasn’t been a complete shutout in terms of recognizing pro talent. But you’re right, you do have to wonder if they can get a good one. They know how important it is this year to get this right. I’m just going to believe they will.

  • Reno

    I would be ecstatic if the Steelers landed K. Johnson or Peters in the 1st and Rollins in the 3rd. I would also throw in Olomu in the 3rd. Although both could possibly go in the 2nd I’m thinking the Steelers will need an earlier pick in the 3rd to land either one. If they trade down they could possibly make it happen. Regardless I agree, hopefully they select 2 in the first 4 rounds. The kiss of death 5th round pick should not be in the cards. LOL.

  • Reno

    You could very well be right, it could shake out the way. Especially since they will be looking for depth at several other positions. Personally, I would rather see them add one in the 2nd & 3rd or 4th (than drafting just a 1st rounder) keeping in mind Gay will be on the other side of 30 and you can never have enough good CBs.

  • Rick M

    Agree with you that two would be the best mix. I guess it will depend on how the draft shakes out (i.e. who’s available at 22). If I had to wager as to how it will play out, I’d bet on Rounds 2 & 4 by a nose over Rounds 2 & 3. Yes, Gay’s age should be taken into account, as should the inevitable injury or two. Thanks by the way (we both know for what).

  • thomas hmmmm

    Yea, they say he wont return until November. At that point he might as well just redshirt his rookie year and concentrate on rehabbing. I would be all for him in the 3rd even if he doesn’t play next season.

  • thomas hmmmm

    Not everything was on Allen. Don’t consider him a bust quite yet. Remember Mitchell was terrible and he was the one who was suppose to provide help.

  • thomas hmmmm

    Makes me wonder about the coaching. Maybe Carnell just isn’t that great of a coach. 2011 is when he was hired. Before it seemed like we didnt have problems developing DB’s. Ike turned out good. Of course Troy and Clarke were both good. Keenan was good. Since Keenan left we have had trouble. So maybe its Coach Lake.

  • Everybody here makes GREAT points…but your missing the forest for the trees. Who will the Steelers take at 1-22? Only ONE player is possible if he’s on the board. Byron Jones, CB/Safety who runs a solid 4.4, is explosive athletically [12+ ft broad jump], and…MOST importantly, is named “JONES.” Duh?!!! I mean…how could Tolbert/Tomlin pass on adding another ‘Jones’ to the roster? [Meaning nothing crude, but someone in the org. has a definite affinity for ‘Joneses.’

  • Vinhuddle

    I can’t say I saw UConn play all that much but he did make a name for himself at the underwear Olympics aka the combine. He does have impressive combine numbers. Hopefully that would translate into becoming an impressive DB… as long as he’s in Pittsburgh.

  • Dalton Gifford

    For some reason I’m starting to think they may actually be interested in peters at 1.22 if he can keep his act togethor and Cortez bounces back we could have two really good corners on out team not to mention it would also help mike Mitchell out not having too worry about more than one reciever coming out free with no one covering him and with will gay as a nice nickel corner hey could have possibly the best corner tandem in pittsburgh history I wouldn’t be upset if it was peters cause we have the coaches to help him keep his act straight

  • Dalton Gifford

    Peters if not for the issues the best corner in the draft and Ifo also a first rounder if not for his knee injury would be a steal getting two first round corners in one draft if the both panned out

  • GoSteelerz

    Heck, maybe triple dip!!!! LOL

  • Anthony Glenn

    Very true but he didn’t help at all. This year is make it or break it for him in my opinion. Same thing for Mitchell.

  • Reno

    I would be happy with a 2nd and a 4th just not anything beyond that. If I were them I would take them all off the board after the 4th. Sounds foolish and simplistic so I’m saying it tongue and cheek. I just don’t want to see them put too much stock in Allen and Blake.

    You are very welcome my friend and I was happy to do it. I’m not very fond of the self righteous. You know the type of people who like to hear themselves talk or like to look at themselves in the mirror a few too many times during the day.
    Perhaps they even think they are better and smarter than us and they are going to make a point to let you know it.

    I have been following the Steelers and watching football for 43 years and I’m pretty sure you have too. While we are both no experts I think we both know a thing or two about the Steelers and football in general.

    I respect your opinions because you call it like you see it. I have always felt your opinions have been constructive and never without warrant. What people fail to see in your comments and perhaps mine as well is we give credit where credit is due. Instead they focus only on what they perceive as negative comments. They also probably don’t take into account we would take no pride in being right and that we are true diehard fans where it’s in our blood to want them too succeed. With that said it should not prohibit anyone from giving their honest opinion even if it’s against the norm or not not accepted by anyone with a homer bias. I’m a big fan of Ben especially for his charitable efforts towards my profession but I will be the first to tell if he had a bad game.

    Although we had a difference of opinion on Worilds I think we have been on the same page about 99% of the time. Not everyone is always going to agree on everything. Until next time Rick. Cheers.

  • Reno

    Could not agree more. If they were able to pull that off the rest of the draft would almost be like icing on the cake.

  • Zurich1012

    It seems that the Steelers have really missed in the scouting part when it comes to the information in drafting corners. Now it matters that we draft a corner or an entire secondary.
    At this point, the safeties we have should be in as much of a dogfight to play too because they haven’t played well and Thomas has hardly played. So no one really knows what they have.
    The big point is for the Steelers to draft the right people that fit the system. It also seems that the linebackers coming out, while being a deep and talented class, all seem to all have issues. If they are good pass rushers, they have issues setting the edge against the run. If they are good at setting the edge then their pass rushing is going to take time to develop.
    Gone are the days when the Steelers could just pluck a Joey Porter and he d be the right fit because most teams were not running the 3-4. It is going to be really hard to fix the outside linebacker situation so that it takes pressure off the secondary.

  • Zurich1012

    Yea your right! We also need taller corners that can really get more physical. Most of the guys you listed above, while all having real potential, are going to have issues against the taller receivers. And I think its going to be way more difficult to re establish dominance with the pass rush because the linebackers the Steelers need to execute are getting so hard to find.

  • Dave Lammers

    If we got gay Allen at there best Blake started to show up Webb is a possibility and 2 draft picks we could be OK but we tend to not have effective cornerbacks in first year

  • Rick M

    Thanks Reno. Well said, as usual, and the respect is clearly mutual.

  • We have little depth at the position, I think a double dip is extremely likely. I see them taking one in the early rounds and one later. I haven’t done enough homework to venture guesses as to who though. It also kills me that we are in a situation where we almost have to pick two CBs and hope they produce quickly on top of that.

    Also, I hate that Chad Scott is held up as an example of a successful pick at CB. If he hadn’t been a first rd pick his play would never have warranted him getting the starts that he did.

  • Paul Hoover

    That would be to cool if we got Duran Grant in the 3rd or 4th rd … My son played football with that guy !!

  • mokhkw

    I think that if Dupree gets past the Saints at 13 he will be available and our 1st Rd Pick.

    If not it will likely come down to Johnson, Collins & Jones. Johnson is the safer pick of the 3 but Collins & Jones may have more upside.

    I expect Waynes & Peters will both be off the board at 22.

    Unlike most other years the Steelers have plenty of options for CB in the 1st and 2nd Rds. Williams, Rollins, Darby, Carter – outside of Waynes there seems to be divided opinions of which CB is a 1st, 2nd or 3rd Rd Picks.

    Looking at the talent available at CB & OLB/DE it makes the most sense to grab Dupree at #22 if he is available because there is a lot more choices for CB in Rds 2 & 3 than there is for OLB/DE.

    I’m guessing it will go OLB-CB-CB or CB-OLB-CB.

    Thats not based on our needs per see but how the boards are shaping up atm in regards to those needs.

  • Anthony Glenn

    Agreed, if we stick to this plan with OLB, CB, CB we should be find in 2015 since we kind of have the hardest schedule in the league this year. I’m tired our secondary being the worst. We can’t ignore the position anymore and wait till the 5th to grab a CB. We have to address it back to back rounds. I really pray that Johnson or Darby is there in the 2nd Rd. By us addressing OLB that puts CB Collins who scouts are predicting us to draft in the 1st Rd fall unless the Ravens grab him. I feel we will have better options on the table in the 2nd Rd as oppose to someone who only played in 10 games. That isn’t worth a 1st Rd IMO.

  • Anthony Glenn

    Exactly they have drafted 2 CBs in the same draft before but we have to stop missing when it comes to CB. We are good at developing LB and drafting WRs but when it comes to CB we miss. I pray we don’t take a CB in the 1st Rd because I’m not sold on Collins, Jones, Johnson yet. I would prefer Waynes but I don’t see us moving down to get him. We need our picks from Rd 1-4 to have a decent shot at contending again this year. We can literally kill 2 birds with one stone if we address OLB, CB, CB in the first 3 Rds.

  • Steel PAul

    Seriously, if the team doesn’t take two CBs in the draft… I mean, I will lose serious respect after they didn’t do a thing in free agency to help a group that basically has one real player at this point, with another (Blake) who may be able to make this group.

  • Joseph Cole-world Moore

    Let’s waste a pick in a guy who can’t tackle. Eric rowe would be a better late round pick since he plays corner and safety

  • Alexander Sebastian Heath

    To say it is likely is probably inaccurate, double dipping into the secondary is very possibly the cornerback position DOES have depth, we just lack the confidence in our starting line up especially with Cortez Allen after his fallacy.

  • Alexander Sebastian Heath

    We also usually carry 5 cornerbacks on 53-men roster. If two, where do they fit? Why draft a player if they are likely to hit practice squad? Makes no sense especially when we need at least a starting-quality cornerback, not depth at this point.

  • steeltown

    One early, one mid-late Rd, Kevin Fogg is most likely a camp body, William Gay and Blake arent under contract past ’15 and we have no idea what the future holds for C.Allen or Webb.

    I’d much rather have too many than not enough.

  • Alexander Sebastian Heath

    Then can you assure me, every other hopeful fans the pattern will not continue from say, Burnett, Butler, Brown, that kid from Illinois, and Shaq Richardson?

    All were wasted spaces. Don’t get my wrong, I do like the idea of getting two cornerbacks, but until we change how we draft, I prefer that we don’t.

  • steeltown

    There are no assurances my friend. But, the chances of finding solid contributors greatly increases when you select more than one prospect at any one position.

    I just hope we shy away from one in the 5th Rd, haven’t had much success in that particular Rd

  • Axe Skot

    I expect Cortez the Killer to bounce back.

  • steelasfreek1981

    Been advocating and hoping that the Steelers double-dip at CB and OLB/Edge in this year’s draft but after seeing the Steelers sign so many camp/squad OLB’s, my expected Steelers positional draft order has changed.
    I’m guessing that they had Dupree high on their board but feel he’s out of reach now and are throwing everything at the wall now in hopes of an under the radar guy to stick. You can’t have too many guys coming in to compete at a position of need but there’s only so many reps. HoJo, Lemon, Green, Jarvis, Debo, Moats, a top 3 draft pick.
    It’s telling. They must be looking to go CB, OL and then OLB unless a guy like Diggy is available in the secon.
    We are probably all on board for them double dipping at CB but would double dipping at OLB be counter productive if there is a better TE, RT, S on the board?
    Gonna have to rethink my mock or at least keep more of an open mind come D-Day.
    Your thoughts Dave?

  • steelasfreek1981

    Wouldn’t call Rowe a late round pick. He’ll be gone before our third pick with the lack of safety talent in this year’s safety class and the over valuing at the position. 3rd would be just ehhh but Rowe in the 4th would be real value! IMHO

  • steelasfreek1981

    Glass ankles! Could’ve had Travis Kelce!!!!! Still Pisses me off

  • steelasfreek1981

    1st 4 won’t be there!

  • steelasfreek1981

    Ike handled the oppositions top reciever while he was in DaBurg

  • Joseph Cole-world Moore

    Well I’m hoping he would slide to us there bed really getting a lot of push behind him now and I want him so bad. He would be perfect for us

  • steelasfreek1981

    After further thought, a 3rd for Rowe would be solid. Guessing the bigger stud OLB’S will be gone so BPA could be a CB bit I wouldn’t be surprised to see em take a tackle or someone off the radar with their 1st. That would make a need for a guy like Orchard or Harold in the 2nd and I would be absolutely shocked if they didn’t grab a CB in the 3rd.

  • Steve Johnson

    You know, I agree with you 100%. Hopefully this year they will pay more attention to the back-end of the draft as much as the front seven.

  • steelasfreek1981

    good call on Grant!

  • Paul Hoover

    Thanks , I knew they liked Ohio state guys and thought , they might get Duran or the tight end or even Devin smith … It’s just cool it was my sons buddy that he played football with from jr high and high school and to see our favorite team get him is awesome … They still stay in touch ( my son / Duran/ Devon Smith ) from Akron,Ohio !!