Steelers’ Selection Of CB Cameron Sutton Might “Return” Extra Value On Special Teams

The Pittsburgh Steelers selected Cameron Sutton in the third-round of the 2017 NFL Draft with hopes that he can potentially be a starting cornerback for them either inside or outside. As a plus, they just might have found a player who can return punts for them as well and thus one who might finally be able to supplant wide receiver Antonio Brown on special teams.

“They [the Steelers] brought it up,” Sutton said during his post-selection conference call of the possibility of him returning punts for the team. “That’s going to be a big part of it as well. Hopefully I get the opportunity to do that as well.”

Steelers general manager Kevin Colbert also made sure to highlight Sutton’s return ability during the team’s draft wrap-up press conference.

“He has also done some put returning,” Colbert said when talking about the Tennessee product.

While Sutton only returned six punts for 32 yards during the 2016 season, that was likely a result of missing several games with an ankle injury. He did, however, return 45 punts during his college career for 657 yards and four touchdowns. In fact, Sutton finished the 2015 season as the FBS’ leading punt returner as he averaged 18.7 yards per return on 25 opportunities and two of those he returned for touchdowns.

The Steelers have used Brown almost exclusively as their punt returner dating back to 2010, his rookie season. While a few other players have been given the opportunity to supplant him in that role over the years, none of them turned out to be upgrades.

The Steelers haven’t used a defensive player as a punt returner since 2007 when cornerback Allen Rossum returned 36 of them for 232 yards during the regular season.

  • Josh Gustad

    ehhh not elite speed, but wouldn’t mind finding someone to get AB off kick returns.

  • The Chin

    Great vision

  • Sam Clonch

    2 years ago this ALONE would have been enough for people to like the pick. Now everyone hates him because Awuzie didn’t make it to us.

  • The Sun is Pro-Black

    I like him, if you don’t like this pick just know that they didn’t have to pick a corner at all. Be grateful.

  • Sam Clonch

    Never said I didn’t like him (I do), just think it’s funny how many others bemoan them taking him, like they took him in place of Humphry or Awuzie.

  • The Sun is Pro-Black

    We all of a sudden have several options for return men now. It’ll be interesting to see how coates and AB will still be those guys this upcoming season.

  • The Sun is Pro-Black

    No, I meant you as in anyone in general.

  • Steelers12

    Exactly

  • SkoolHouseRoxx

    I mean, I’m just sayin’. Let him do it. Yeah he’s a rookie defender, but we need to make plays in all phases of this game and it will take stress off offense and defense if we can add points on returns. From the looks of it on paper, besides AB he is the most dynamic returner on the team.

  • Matt Manzo

    I hope he at least gets a chance. It doesn’t seem like we have any other options.
    Has our only addition to the return game been Knile Davis? Coates and Ayers seem questionable to even make the 53 now.
    Are Brown and Davis the only locks for KR/PR?
    I was hoping to draft someone to pair with Davis on KR.

  • cencalsteeler

    You don’t need to fix what isn’t broke. AB is going to be fine back there returning punts. There is no need to bubblewrap the guy. Now, let’s spend a little more attention on a more glaring need,,…..the kick return game.

  • francesco

    Doesn’t seem to have elite speed.

  • LucasY59

    maybe as depth, but I would think AB stays back there until they get a elite returner like he is, Rogers probably offers the same thing Cam does as a returner (and since he is a offensive player there is a much better chance Tomlin would actually allow him to take a few shots at punt returns) Ayers probably isnt making the roster now that they added another WR in this draft, so other than Rogers, Sutton might be the 3rd option

    so I will be surprised if it is anyone other than AB back there (unless they have a big enough lead they actually start limiting the risks AB takes as a returner) AB does well enough with being smart about fair catches and limiting hits by getting out of bounds, almost to the point that he really isnt that effective as a return guy, but with the offense they have being smart is just as important

    (and to look at smart returns all you have to do is think about Fitz lining up as a KR and taking it out of the endzone (where the TB puts it at the 25) and not even getting to the 15-20 yd line (hopefully Davis is smarter in that part of the return game)

  • gdeuce

    Bell let them run the wheels off him

  • LucasY59

    until they have a guy that is better at it AB will be back there (and they dont have anyone who is even close to being better than him right now)

  • Steelsmoke

    Get the feeling this guy can start faster than Artie did. Feel the first four pics will be integrated as role players /starters the same as last year’s pics.

  • Reg Sayhitodabadguy Hunt

    After cooling down from the outcome of the draft I have to admit I’m warming up to the players we selected it’s time to have faith in the front office after last yrs draft

  • Kevin Schwartz

    I dunno – statistics basically say that kickoff and punt returns have the highest rate of injury. I don’t have the stats, so I’m not sure how much higher, but it’s notable from what I understand. It’s why the league wants to phase out kick returns (there might be a distinction between kickoffs and punts). I’m also not sure whether the returner themselves is at a higher risk, but, there is something to it.

  • Kevin Schwartz

    I agree – there doesn’t seem to be any good reason why we can’t find a decent kick returner. We don’t need the next Devin Hester, it just seems like we should be able to find one who is league average.

  • RMSteeler

    if he returns a punt under Tomlin, mark the calendar as the date that Hell froze over πŸ˜‰

  • H.K. northern cali

    Like to see this guy starting opposite burns. By seasons end!!

  • TrappenWeisseGuy ;

    He’s actually below average in that department and didn’t test well at the combine,so I’m not that thrilled with the guy. Hopefully he proves me wrong but I’ll stand by what I said the other day; he’s 50-50 to even make the team. Golson getting hurt or just plain sucking would up his odds dramatically.

  • renoir

    AB, only when we need something magical. We need to stop taking chances with him on returns imo…

  • Danielsteelstrong81

    Speed doesnt matter remember archer

  • Douglas Andrews

    Kid’s got a shot on PR’s. Not a burner but shows good vision. I like the way he gets up the field instead just running sideline to sideline looking for a block. AB is a reliable PR but if the Steelers can turn over the PR duties to Sutton i think it’s a good move.

  • Darth Blount 47

    Ohhhh, no. It has nothing to do with that for me. I base my dislike off of my own evaluations. And I’ve listed his negatives, which FAR outweigh his positives, on different posts. Would I have wanted Awuzie over him? Of course. As should most people. Thus why he was drafted higher and carried a much better “ranking.” But hey, he’s a Steeler, so he deserves the chance to prove me wrong, along with any other naysayers. But he’s not a well-built, highly tooled player. He’s just not.

  • Darth Blount 47

    Ah yes, the salad over steak argument. Food is food, to be sure.

  • Sam Clonch

    Yes, you certainly have posted your displeasure elsewhere. Repeatedly. Maybe excessively. And while you claim to be ready to give him a chance, here you are again.

    It might be time to research some coping skills.

  • steelburg

    Your saying Cam Sutton is 50/50 to make the team?

  • SilverSteel

    So you must be talking about his measureables. Small hands and short arms? He seems like he has a good head and leadership. I am more excited about Adams believe it or not. He has great athleticism.

  • TrappenWeisseGuy ;

    I think that’s a distinct possibility given the lack of success they’ve had with mid round db’s such as Richardson, Hawthorne,Fredericks,Burnett,Crezdon Butler. Some ,like Curtis Brown and Grant hang around for awhile, but their track record with mid rounds db’s is abysmal.

  • steelburg

    I agree with the bad track record by there is no way Sutton isn’t on this roster for at least the next 2 years.