The Pittsburgh Steelers have released a rookie defensive back.
Stop me if you’ve heard that one before.
In an all too familiar pattern, rookie cornerback Doran Grant and safety Gerod Holliman join a long list of recent defensive backs drafted only to fail to make the initial Week One roster.
In 2014, fifth round cornerback Shaquille Richardson did not make the team or practice squad. The same thing happened to the 2013 fifth round pick, corner Terry Hawthorne. Go back a year father and you’ll find seventh rounder Terence Frederick unable to crack the roster.
Since 2009, the most successful defensive back drafted in the fifth round or later is Joe Burnett who played in 15 games, never recorded a tackle, and returned three kicks for 23 yards in his one year with the team.
That’s the biggest “hit.” A dude who played one year and made zero tackles.
It’s why the Grant release is the most frustrating of all. It’s not just one pick missed. If the team had a better track record, heck, perhaps the decision would be praised, a team cutting bait without wasting more of their time. Grant is the highest draft pick in this year’s class to be released. Holliman lost out a practice squad spot to Jordan Dangerfield, a player the Steelers released before training camp and only brought back because there were so many injuries to the position.
Obviously, the team is not going to hit on every late round pick. But this is a trend. A pattern. A history of an inability to evaluate defensive backs that is robbing the Steelers of draft picks and depth. We haven’t even gotten to the potential, maybe probable, miss on Shamarko Thomas, a fourth rounder the team traded up to select.
William Gay, Brandon Boykin, Ross Cockrell, and Antwon Blake are all set to be free agents next year. The only returners are Cortez Allen and Senquez Golson. Already, you can see the team in trouble, left with a hit-or-miss player and essentially, a rookie in Golson.
In a league that needs four cornerbacks, the Steelers seem to be doing everything they can to sabotage their secondary.