There was hope, albeit a thin one, that Justin Gilbert would serve as the answer to the Pittsburgh Steelers’ depth on the outside at corner. Now, the cornerback group is held together like the engine of your very first car. Some duct tape, zip ties, and a whole lot of hope.
The depth in the slot was thin enough. Senquez Golson perhaps the only option, assuming Sean Davis stays put, forcing the Steelers to rely on a guy who hasn’t played a single snap, preseason or otherwise, in two seasons. At this point, it’s hard to trust him.
Things are just as unpredictable on the outside. Starters are there and hey, that’s better than decent depth and no starters. But it’s still an uncomfortable place to be in a league where you need, minimum, four capable, guys. Right now, Pittsburgh has three and one of them is an aging William Gay. Beyond that, there’s the return of Al-Hajj Shabazz, and uh, pretty much nothing.
Keith Butler is better off throwing Mel Blount’s cowboy hat to try and cover receivers.
The Gilbert trade shouldn’t be viewed any differently now than it was at the time. It was low-risk, decent reward, that, like so many of these minimal investment picks in the secondary, promptly blew up in their face. But it blew up quicker than maybe any of us expected, I figured he’d at least make it to St. Vincent College, and it leaves the Steelers worse off.
For the moment. If there is an upside here, it’s perhaps the team realizing Gilbert has no future in Pittsburgh and are choosing to cut bait now. After all, the only thing worse than a bad trade is holding onto that bad trade for even longer.
Like your pipes under the sink, there are leaks springing up all over this Steelers’ defense. Tight end, running back, inside and outside corner spots. It’s not flooded, at corner, at least, but like any leak, it’s better to patch it up sooner than later. That’s going to require an investment at both spots, probably meaning two players, or a higher-than-expected pick of someone capable of wearing both hats.