There is much to discuss when it comes to the state of the cornerback stable of the Pittsburgh Steelers.
Free agent Ike Taylor will not be re-signed. William Gay is in the final year of his contract. Cortez Allen is currently a mystery. Brice McCain signed elsewhere in free agency. Antwon Blake was arrested over the weekend for public intoxication.
Meanwhile, free agent Patrick Robinson was in Pittsburgh yesterday, but left without signing a contract, as the front office gets ready to host Sterling Moore, yet another free agent cornerback today. Everybody has their own story, it seems.
Everybody except B.W. Webb. What’s his story? What could he possibly offer the Steelers in 2015?
Like Blake a year earlier, Webb was released by his former team only to be scooped up by Pittsburgh just prior to the start of the regular season. Like Blake, he hardly got any opportunity to contribute on defense as he learned on the fly.
Will he also be like Blake as he steps into a more prominent role on defense in his second year with the organization? He went from playing just a small handful of snaps in 2013 to nearly 300 last season, with the majority of that skewed toward late in the year.
Blake was a 5’9” undrafted free agent with speed that was neutralized by his rawness when he came out of college. He cut his teeth on special teams to earn a roster spot, first in Jacksonville, then with Pittsburgh, before working his way up.
Webb is a little different. He has a bit of a pedigree. At 5’11”, he has the size that you look for in a cornerback, and as a former fourth-round draft pick, also has a bit of pedigree. He was thrown to the wolves during his rookie season in 2013 in Dallas, playing close to 200 snaps in a secondary that was a mess to begin with, and played reasonably well—all things considered. But the Cowboys made him a roster cut in the final releases before the start of the regular season in 2014, rather than giving him a second season to show what he could do.
He was forced to start over in Pittsburgh, finding himself back at the bottom of the totem pole, perhaps even further down than where he started. He was no longer with the team who drafted him in the fourth round, and he was just starting the regular season trying to learn a new defensive system.
In 2015, he will have the opportunity to show that he deserved to be drafted where he was after an offseason of familiarizing himself with the Steelers’ defense. He figures to have an opportunity to do so given the uncertainty in the defensive backfield right now.
What is B.W. Webb’s story? That’s for him to write. It’s hard to predict or project what that might be, but it seems likely that he’ll be given the opportunity to at least co-write his own adventure in Pittsburgh.