When the Dallas Cowboys waived cornerback B.W. Webb on Wednesday, Pittsburgh Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin probably couldn’t wait to fill out a waiver claim for the former fourth-round draft pick, as he certainly knows quite a bit about young player.
Webb, who like Tomlin is a former William and Mary player, also who grew up in the head coach’s hometown of Newport News, Va. The 5-10 cornerback has helped Tomlin out at his annual football camp and even made a pre draft visit to Pittsburgh prior to the 2013 NFL Draft.
Interesting enough, Webb was selected by the Cowboys just one pick ahead of when the Steelers selected quarterback Landry Jones. That makes you wonder if Webb would’ve been a Steeler had the Cowboys picked any other player. In turn, the Steelers probably wouldn’t have selected Illinois cornerback Terry Hawthorne in the fifth round had they been able to draft Webb in the fourth.
Hawthorne, of course, failed to make the Steelers final 53 man roster out of training camp last year, while Jones has been a major disappointment thus far in his first two preseasons. It almost seems like the Steelers just received a draft mulligan.
The timing of Webb’s waiving from the Cowboys probably couldn’t have come at a better time for the Steelers. While Tomlin still would’ve likely put in a waiver claim on Webb, the groin injury suffered Thursday night by cornerback Brice McCain in the preseason finale against the Carolina Panthers probably made his decision even easier.
It’s still unknown just how serious the injury suffered by McCain really is and depending on that, the team might be forced to put him on either the permanent injured reserve list or the designated to return list.
Webb, like McCain, is best suited to play in the slot. In addition, Webb can play gunner on special teams, a position that McCain likely would’ve been asked to play at some point during the upcoming season.
Webb unfortunately missed the Cowboys final two preseason games with a hip flexor injury, but being as he wasn’t waived injured, it’s a good sign that he should be ready to play in the Steelers regular season opener against the Cleveland Browns a week from Sunday. In the meantime, he’ll get a crash course on special teams while attempting to digest the Steelers complicated defensive scheme.
It will be a while before know whether or not Webb will become a major contributor for the Steelers on defense moving past 2014, but nobody probably knows his upside and limitations better than Tomlin does. It’s not like the Steelers will have a lot invested in Webb from a salary standpoint, so it was a risk worth taking as they likely just landed a player that they wanted a year ago.