Perhaps nothing has been given greater focus for the Pittsburgh Steelers this offseason than the cornerback position and the team’s decision-making with respect to that spot on the roster, given the need for improvement there based on the results from recent seasons.
In response to the need for improvement, the Steelers drafted two cornerbacks in the first four rounds of the 2015 NFL Draft, including Senquez Golson in the second round and Doran Grant in the fourth round, even though the expectation is that they will contribute little during their rookie seasons unless dictated by injury or ineffectiveness above them.
The team is largely expected to see growth in the secondary via improvement from within based on last season’s roster, with Cortez Allen being the biggest piece of that puzzle, naturally. After falling apart in his second attempt to be a starter last year, he needs to rebuild himself in his attempt to lock that spot down again after his benching.
Meanwhile, fourth-year cornerback Antwon Blake is entering his third season with the Steelers, and likely his second as a significant contributor on defense after first carving out his niche as a gunner on special teams. He saw a healthy amount of snaps on the outside as the season progressed, and most anticipate that that will continue this year.
It goes without saying that William Gay will continue to play a critical role for this unit, as he is, until proven otherwise, the best cornerback on the team. He registered three pick sixes last year, the first time that any Steelers player has accomplished such a feat.
Beyond the rookie cornerbacks, there is B.W. Webb, entering his third year and his second with the Steelers after being claimed off waivers just before the season, as was Blake the year before. If he could make a similar jump, then the team might be in decent shape.
But Kevin Fogg has largely been the forgotten man, and it seems increasingly that that shouldn’t be the case. The first-year player was a former undrafted free agent and finished last year on the Steelers’ practice squad. He was quickly re-signed to a Reserve/Future contract after the season.
The 5’10”, 185-pounder has been getting some attention of late, with multiple beat writers mentioning him as a player to keep an eye on. Mark Kaboly of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review Tweeted yesterday that Fogg “has done enough in the spring to show that he has the talent to stick”, likening him to where Blake was with the Steelers a year ago.
Fogg was also a key feature in a recent article on the team’s website that emphasized head coach Mike Tomlin’s mandate that his defensive backs not simply ‘catch’ the football’, but intercept it.
The article mentions Fogg as having “the play of OTAs”, which was a pick-six of quarterback Ben Roethlisberger. Of the play, Fogg said that “it was just one of those things where I was in the right place at the right time and I ended up getting my hands on a ball and actually catching it”. If he continues to do that—and shows that he can play special teams—who knows: there may be a roster spot for the forgotten DB after all.