While the league currently sits and waits for the 4 PM dinner bell that is the opening of the free agency period, Pittsburgh Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin and general manager Kevin Colbert are reportedly up north, attending the Michigan State pro day.
Translation: Tomlin and Colbert are taking a good, hard look at likely first-round draftee cornerback Darqueze Dennard.
The Steelers have already met with the other top cornerback, Justin Gilbert, while attending the Combine last month. And they are already known to have inquired about three free agent cornerbacks.
The level of activity certainly suggests that the Steelers may very well use both free agency and the draft to address the cornerback position, which becomes perilously thin once you get past Ike Taylor, Cortez Allen, and William Gay.
Behind those three players, following the release of Curtis Brown, are Antwon Blake, Devin Smith, and Isaiah Green. The three combined have accounted for nine defensive snaps in their professional careers, all owned by Blake, with only five of them coming last season while with the Steelers.
Many have knocked Dennard, the Michigan State corner, over the past few months, questioning his size and speed, as well as his ability to play in zone coverage, which is something that Keenan Lewis struggled with his first two seasons before working with new defensive backs coach Carnell Lake.
Dave Bryan wrote a few weeks back, however, “when all else fails, just turn on Dennard’s tape”, believing that the Steelers won’t even have a chance to draft him before he is drafted higher by another team.
Since that article, however, some mocks have had him falling, some even having Dennard go to the Steelers with their 15th overall selection.
It wasn’t long ago that Maurkice Pouncey helped advise the Steelers to draft Marcus Gilbert, also a former teammate and close friend, who has been the team’s primary starting right tackle since his rookie season, despite missing most of the 2012 season.
You can rest assured that former teammate and Michigan State alum Le’Veon Bell, whom the Steelers drafted just last season, is advising Tomlin and Colbert on what he thinks of Dennard, both as a player and as a person.