2017 Midseason Player Evaluations: CB Artie Burns

With the Pittsburgh Steelers coming off their bye week and there soon being little to talk about in the interim outside of returning players, now would be as good a time as any to take a look back on what’s transpired this season and give out some mid-year player evaluations.

The team has had a rocky but ultimately successful season to date, coming out of the first eight games with a 6-2 record, tied for the best in the AFC along with the Patriots and the Chiefs, the latter of whom they have already beaten.

The offense has not lived up to its billing for the most part this year, though the running game has had its moments. Defensively, the sacks have come, and the secondary has improved, but there will always be things to work on.

Player: Artie Burns, CB

I get the sense that a lot of people would love it if Steelers second-year cornerback Artie Burns would give them a great reason to make him their new favorite player. It’s frankly been a while since the team could last sincerely claim that a cornerback was their best defensive player on the team.

While Burns is not there—not yet anyway—he has shown some important growth from his rookie season to now. The problem is that he has also shown important continuing deficiencies in other areas in which he already struggled last year.

Run support continues to be a particular issue of concern, as he still appears to shy away from contact, does not tackle soundly, and lacks execution of his responsibilities in certain scenarios, as when he is asked to crack and replace—a failure whose error often makes other players look back instead of him upon first blush.

And he still has issues in coverage as well. In zone coverage, he has a tendency to get caught looking into the backfield without moving, resulting in the wide receiver being able to slip behind him. He has been saved a few times this season by dropped passes from who whom he has defended.

It would be a disservice, and dishonest, to paint a completely negative portrait of the young player, however, as he has truly made some strides in some areas, even if some lack a desired level of consistency in execution or discipline.

While he hasn’t been able to come down with a pass yet, he has recorded six passes defensed. He has shown an ability to play effectively when he has been allowed to focus on man coverage. When executed properly, he has a good jam off the line and some makeup speed as well.

Burns is already a solid starter, albeit one prone to mistakes. He has the potential to be much more than that. He is still 22 years old, and will continue to get better. Hopefully he shows the sort of end-of-year growth in 2017 that he did from the beginning of his rookie season to its conclusion.

About the Author

Matthew Marczi

Passionate Steelers fan with a bit of writing ability. Connoisseur of loud music. Follow me on Twitter @mmarczi.

  • Michael Mosgrove

    C- at this point.

  • hdogg48

    Having Joe Haden on the other side instead of
    Ross Cockrell takes a ton of pressure off Artie.

    Now he doesn’t have to do too much, and should
    only concentrate on making the plays he knows
    how to make and should make.

    The Pats game will be big for him as I envision
    Brady and Belichick as making him a marked man.

    To quote Joey Porter…”time to put on the
    big boy pads.”

  • Mark

    Solid starter must get stronger and more physical at the corner spot rerouting WR.

  • pittfan

    Artie is somewhat symbolic of this D. Young and talented in many respects but still raw. Every single member on this unit with the possible exception of Mitchell (due to to time already in the league) still has room to get much better. Artie’s arrow, the arrow of this whole unit is big time UP.

  • Steel Realist PAul

    I think Burns can be a solid starter for several years, although has some holes to fill today for sure.

    That said, it sure looks now like the Bengals grabbing WJIII was significant.

  • NinjaMountie

    It puts more pressure on him as he’s targeted more. That’s usually how that works when you have a great CB opposite you.

  • capehouse

    Just watched the replay of the ball Artie defended in the endzone against Marvin Jones during Detroit’s last possession in the 4th qtr, where you said Artie looked in good position, but mistimed his jump and didn’t play well. I have to say I completely disagree with that assessment. In fact I think Burns played it perfectly. He gets a good jam in the receiver, affects his route, stays in phase, turns his head around and the reason his jump was poor is because Jones was yanking down on the back of Burns’ jersey. Burns was pissed after the play because he was held, not because he was disappointed with himself. He looked like a shutdown CB on that play.

  • SteelersGeek4Lyfe

    But he’s an 81 on Madden, lol!

  • 82 actually which denotes solid starter in my eyes as I dont consider any player elite unless in the high 80’s minimum.EA has the Steelers Defense overall at 89 but not one player is over a 87 so dont look to ea for a gauge on a player they cant even do math right. He was rated 73 last season

  • John Pennington

    Burns have to up his game in run support and in zone coverage if not he will the link that breaks and cost the team a big game.Still would draft another cb next year to challenge him for his spot.Maybe thats what needed to make him stepup to the plate.

  • Michael Mosgrove

    Moats I would say is on a limb, golden, deebo, will gay. Sensabaugh is still young but getting up there.

  • Michael Mosgrove

    Well the bungles stole wj3 so we didn’t have a choice.

  • Mark

    True that Mosgrove true that!

  • Conserv_58

    Remember when, not that long ago, they had the oldest defense in the league?

  • Conserv_58

    Moats, Deebo and Gay are likely gone next season. Maybe, Golden too.

  • Nathaniel Sullivan

    Yes and no. If he still had Ross, artie would think he has to be perfect on every play or try to be perfect to make a int. With Haden, he knows he just has to worry about his side or his man.

  • Michael Mosgrove

    Hey bey too.

  • pittfan

    Oh geez! Do I!!
    And it has been a blast watching the build it back up piece by piece!