Last year, toward the end of the regular season, when the Dallas Cowboys cut their former fourth-round cornerback in his second offseason, the Pittsburgh Steelers acted quickly, claiming B.W. Webb off waivers and essentially giving him a redshirt season as the sixth cornerback on the depth chart, although by the end of the season, he was fourth.
Head coach Mike Tomlin talked about Webb after he was added to the roster, saying that he was a player that they were looking at within a range similar to where he ended up being drafted. I’m sure it didn’t hurt, either, that he was an alumnus of Tomlin’s alma mater.
But things are looking a lot different now in comparison to last year, and perhaps most important of all is that he no longer has the redshirt excuse. He must follow in the footsteps of Antwon Blake, who joined the team in the same fashion just a year earlier, if he wants to assure himself of a roster spot this year, because he has nothing locked up as of now.
While the Steelers lost both Ike Taylor and Brice McCain this offseason, the former was already counted upon, while the latter was a surprise contributor to begin with. Since then, the team has added Senquez Golson and Doran Grant through the draft, while Kevin Fogg, who spent time in the Steelers’ system in December on the practice squad, has also been getting attention.
Webb knows that in order for him to lock down some real estate on the 53-man roster, he’s going to have to stand out on special teams, and he has been working toward that end during the spring, according to Chris Adamski of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review.
Adamski writes that Webb has ‘’ been part of both punt and kickoff coverage and return teams”, noting that “standing out for special teams coach Danny Smith certainly wouldn’t hurt his cause”. Indeed, the special teams coach has a lot of say when it comes to the last few spots on the roster.
Webb is driven by one goal, and that is to win a championship, telling Adamski that he is willing to do “anything that I can help with to put us in the right spot to get to that big game”, which includes carving out a niche for himself on special teams.
That is, after all, the path that Blake took before him, although the now fourth-year defensive back had already begun to make a name for himself as a gunner on special teams in his first season with the club, even if he hardly contributed on defense.
Webb did see some action on special teams last year, during his first season with the Steelers, but he never fully integrated himself into Smith’s rotation by the end of the year, perhaps in part because he had no shortage of gunners.
The goal for him now is to make himself indispensable to the success of as many special teams units as possible during training camp and the preseason. Worry about making the roster first, and then your playing time later.