With the 2015 NFL Draft and rookie minicamp now in the rearview mirror, the Pittsburgh Steelers 90-man offseason roster is getting pretty close to set, although there are always some late movements to balance out positional numbers or replace injured or underperforming players.
Now that the rookie class in in-house and the tryout players have either come and gone or stuck around, it’s time to take one last look at the Steelers’ roster as we head into the meat of the offseason. We now turn to the defensive side of the ball, where there is a ton of depth everywhere. We move on now to the secondary, beginning with the cornerbacks.
William Gay: It’s hard to complain about the job that Gay has done of late. He’s been asked to do much more than was expected of him, and that will continue by necessity into his age 30 season. At least if Allen reemerges, Gay could possibly move into the slot during sub-packages.
Cortez Allen: I don’t know if any single player could make a bigger difference to this team depending on how he performs this year than Allen, although there are a few worthy candidates. The fifth-year cornerback played through a knee injury and struggled mightily, drawing a laundry basket worth of flags. If he can nail down a starting job, it would really stabilize the secondary can even give the unit some height it’s otherwise lacking.
Antwon Blake: Blake finally saw some playing time last year and did fairly well, intercepting a pass and causing a huge fumble in the regular season finale, which he recovered. He came in during sub-packages playing outside, and that is how things have gone during OTAs so far, but he may move around more this season.
B.W. Webb: It’s hard not to be intrigued by a player such as Webb, about whom little is known as of yet, and people like Blake are the reason why. Webb hardly played last year because he was such a late addition (claimed off waivers just before the regular season) that the team had no time to coach him up. He’ll have had a year now and should have the mental background to contribute. If he emerges as a player, then that makes the secondary much deeper than could have reasonably been hoped for. After all, he did stick on the 53-man roster all year.
Senquez Golson: You may not have heard this about Senquez Golson yet, but he’s a bit on the short end of the spectrum for the cornerback position. Some people seem to think this will prevent him from ever reaching his potential. Nevermind the fact that he has just about every other quality you would want in a corner.
Doran Grant: The second of the two rookie cornerbacks the Steelers drafted, Grant is no slouch either when it comes to his reputation. He picked off five passes last year and is known for being a very good tackler for the position at 200 pounds despite being 5’10”. He’s smart and versatile and that could help accelerate his path to the field.
Kevin Fogg: Fogg was signed to the practice squad after Allen went on injured reserve late last year, and was signed as a Reserve/Future player after the season. He figures to be squarely at the bottom of the totem pole.
Notes: Seven cornerbacks is not a lot for an offseason roster, especially when you consider that they carried six on the 53-man roster all of last season, and had 12 defensive backs total if you include the 10-man practice squad. Don’t be surprised to see another one or two added at some point.