Ross Cockrell was the defensive MVP in Thursday’s loss to the Baltimore Ravens. His participation and level of play has been one of the surprising stories of the Pittsburgh Steelers.
Speaking to the media today, Keith Butler gave credit to Mike Tomlin for wanting to bring Cockrell in.
“I didn’t see anything. Coach Tomlin saw him on film and brought him in,” Butler told reporters after today’s practice.
Butler, as we touched on last week, was most impressed with Cockrell’s willingness to embrace matching up with Antonio Brown.
“The thing I was most impressed with was that he would always jump up, when we’re trying to play one-on-one, always would try to jump up and take 84. So that showed me the kid had confidence. And that’s a big thing when you’re trying to play corner. You gotta have a short memory and have a lot of confidence…he started refining his technique a little bit and got better and better every day, I think.”
Cockrell has played 111 snaps over the last three weeks. He has seven total tackles, an interception, and a fumble recovery while acting as the team’s nickel back. With his positive play, it seems likely he’ll continue to run as the #3 cornerback. It’ll be interesting to see what happens to the depth chart when Cortez Allen is finally healthy. Perhaps Cockrell remains as the #3 while Allen bumps Antwon Blake to the bench, becoming the starting left cornerback.