NFL Draft

Study: What Pittsburgh Looks For In Drafting Cornerbacks

We are back to do one of my favorite, and hopefully useful, studies during the season. Last year, we began to look at the type of prospects the Pittsburgh Steelers gravitated towards in each draft under the Tomlin/Colbert umbrella. We’ll reevaluate this year, tweak the numbers, and do the same.

Couple of caveats you need to know before we start this process. Any timed event, like the 40 or short shuttle, I take from the Combine only. Pro Day times can, and often are, better, but where they come from is unreliable and they’re all hand-timed, meaning you know every team has a different number. At the Combine, things are a little more reliable, even if teams do hand-time too. I will use the better Pro Day number for untimed events, like bench press or vertical. That’s the process we began with last year and we’ll stick with it.

Our cutoff for this year will be 75% of the picks have to meet the criteria. That creates the Steelers’ threshold. So if 7 of 10 players meet “X,” we can’t use it. If 8 of 10 do, that can be our threshold. And I do leave some breathing room, normally. If the threshold for the broad is 10’1, I’ll round it down to 10 foot even. Just to make things a little less rigid. You might disagree but I just want to be transparent in how we’re going about this.

2017: Cam Sutton

Height: 5’11
Weight: 188
Arm Length: 30
Hand Size: 8 1/4
40 Time: 4.52
Vertical: 34
Broad Jump: 10’0″
Short Shuttle: N/A
Three Cone: 6.81

Brian Allen

Height: 6’2/7
Weight: 215
Arm Length: 34
Hand Size: 10
40 Time: 4.43
Vertical: 38
Broad Jump: 10’7″
Short Shuttle: 4.34
Three Cone: 6.64

2016: Artie Burns

Height: 5’11/7
Weight: 193
Arm Length: 33 1/4
Hand Size: 9 1/2
40 Time: 4.46
Vertical: 33
Broad Jump: 10’4″
Short Shuttle: N/A
Three Cone: N/A

2015: Senquez Golson

Height: 5’8/5
Weight: 176
Arm Length: 29 3/4
Hand Size: 9 3/8
40 Time: 4.46
Vertical: 33.5
Broad Jump: 10’0″
Short Shuttle: 4.20
Three Cone: 6.81

Doran Grant

Height: 5’10/2
Weight: 200
Arm Length: 30 1/4
Hand Size: 9 3/8
40 Time: 4.44
Vertical: 35.5
Broad Jump: 10’5″
Short Shuttle: 4.33
Three Cone: N/A

2014: Shaq Richardson

Height: 6’0/1
Weight: 194
Arm Length: 32
Hand Size: N/A
40 Time: N/A
Vertical: 38.5
Broad Jump: 10’7″
Short Shuttle: N/A
Three Cone: N/A

2013: Terry Hawthorne

Height: 5’11/6
Weight: 195
Arm Length: 31 1/4
Hand Size: 8 7/8
40 Time: 4.44
Vertical: 35.5
Broad Jump: 9’8″
Short Shuttle: N/A
Three Cone: N/A

2012: Terence Frederick

Height: 5’10
Weight: 187
Arm Length: 31 1/8
Hand Size: 9 1/8
40 Time: 4.54
Vertical: 35
Broad Jump: 10’1″
Short Shuttle: 4.03
Three Cone: 6.59

2011: Curtis Brown

Height: 5’11/5
Weight: 185
Arm Length: 32 1/4
Hand Size: 9 1/2
40 Time: 4.54
Vertical: 39.5
Broad Jump: 10’6″
Short Shuttle: 4.00
Three Cone: 6.59

Cortez Allen

Height: 6’1/2
Weight: 197
Arm Length: 32 1/4
Hand Size: 8 5/8
40 Time: 4.53
Vertical: 37.5
Broad Jump: 10’9″
Short Shuttle: 4.01
Three Cone: 6.76

2010: Crezdon Butler

Height: 5’11/6
Weight: 191
Arm Length: 32
Hand Size: 8 3/4
40 Time: 4.49
Vertical: 39.5
Broad Jump: 10’1″
Short Shuttle: 4.23
Three Cone: 7.08

2009: Keenan Lewis

Height: 6’0/7
Weight: 208
Arm Length: 32 3/4
Hand Size: 9 3/4
40 Time: 4.55
Vertical: 38.5
Broad Jump: 10’10”
Short Shuttle: N/A
Three Cone: N/A

Joe Burnett

Height: 5’9/3
Weight: 192
Arm Length: N/A
Hand Size: N/A
40 Time: 4.62
Vertical: 35.5
Broad Jump: 9’10”
Short Shuttle: 4.25
Three Cone: 6.68

2007: William Gay

Height: 5’10/1
Weight: 187
Arm Length: 31
Hand Size: 9 1/2
40 Time: N/A
Vertical: 38.5
Broad Jump: 9’10”
Short Shuttle: N/A
Three Cone: N/A

Our criteria had a couple changes after not updating it the past two classes. I changed the weight “requirement” to just 185+ instead of 185-199, and the vert criteria went from 35 down to 33. The short shuttle decreased from 4.25 to 4.35 and we’ve added the three cone, now with a maximum of 6.85. Here’s the whole thing.

Height: 5’10+ (12 of 14)
185+ pounds (13 of 14)
Arm length of at least 31 inches (10 of 13)
4.55 40 or lower (11 of 12)
33+ inch vertical (14 of 14)
10’0″+ inch broad (11 of 14)
Sub 4.35 short shuttle (6 of 7)
Sub 6.85 three cone (6 of 7)

NameHeightWeightArm Length40 TimeVertBroadSS3 Cone
Jaire Alexander5’10/219631 1/84.383510’7″3.986.71
Andre Chachere5’11/619731 3/84.493810’3″4.076.78

Alexander is likely a first round selection so he’s probably out of the question. Chachere could be had on Day Three.

Here are the corners who missed in one category and the area they missed.

Tony Brown/Alabama: Vert (31.5)
Holton Hill/Texas: Vert (31)
Mike Hughes/UCF: Arm Length (30 7/8)
Jordan Thomas/Oklahoma: 40 Time (4.64)
Isaac Yiadom/Boston College: Three Cone (DNP)
Quenton Meeks/Stanford: 40 Time (DNP)

Because we still don’t have enough safeties for a reliable sample size (only four drafted in 11 years), here are the safeties who meet all the corner criteria.

NameHeightWeightArm Length40 TimeVertBroadSS3 Cone
Troy Apke6’1/220032 3/84.344110’11”4.036.56
Godwin Igwebuike5’11/321331 3/44.4435.510’8″4.126.56
Justin Reid6’0/420731 5/84.4036.510’8″4.156.65

 

It’s funny to see more safeties hit than corners, though keep in mind a guy like Reid is a hybrid who played a ton of slot corner in his career. For whatever it’s worth, Sean Davis hit every CB box back when he was drafted in 2016.

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