If you’re like me, you were probably disappointed that Pittsburgh Steelers rookie cornerback Doran Grant failed to play a single snap on defense Sunday night during the team’s preseason opening loss to the Minnesota Vikings. Head coach Mike Tomlin was asked specifically about that Wednesday during his press conference and if the reason behind that decision was because Grant is behind in his development.
“No, he’s not behind at all,” said Tomlin of Grant, who was drafted in the fourth round this year out of Ohio State. ” We like the work that he’s done. He came into training camp ready to go. He’s shown really good intensity. We wanted him to focus on a lot of special teams work in that first time. We have five preseason games, so we’re going to utilize him. He was able to focus solely on special teams in the first game, he played extensively, probably more than anyone else in that area. Now we’re going to let him participate on special teams and defense. We have four full preseason games to go, he’s going to have an opportunity to show what he’s capable of.”
While Grant didn’t play the most special teams snaps Sunday night, he did see action on nine different plays that involved punts and kickoffs and that’s certainly encouraging. Based on his Ohio State tape, he should be a great gunner and jammer on both punt teams in addition to being able to cover kickoffs.
Grant has reportedly had a nice start to training camp so far at the cornerback position and while he’ll unlikely play on defense during the regular-season barring injuries, he is surely being groomed to potentially take over a starting spot in either 2016 or 2017.
By the sound of things, Grant should see a lot of playing time at cornerback in the Friday night game against the Jacksonville Jaguars, so you should definitely look forward to watching him closely just as I will be.