NFL Draft

Age, Experience Matter To Steelers When It Comes To Drafting Cornerbacks

At some point during the 2016 NFL Draft the Pittsburgh Steelers are expected to draft at least one cornerback. While that might ultimately happen, there’s a good bet that any cornerback that they wind up drafting will not only have a good amount of college experience, that player is also likely to be 22 years or older on draft day.

Dating back to the 2000 NFL Draft, the Steelers have drafted 16 cornerbacks while Kevin Colbert has been the team’s general manager and the average age of those players has been 22.55 years. Additionally, those 15 players played in an average of 44.9 games during their college careers. If that’s not enough, every one of those 16 players entered the NFL after their senior seasons.

Remember former Steelers cornerback Ricardo Colclough? Not only is he the youngest cornerback drafted by the Steelers since 2000 (20), he also played in the fewest games during his college career (20). However, it should be noted that he played two years at Kilgore Junior College before transferring to Tusculum for his final two years. In case you need to be reminded, that second-round selection didn’t work out very well for the Steelers.

So, what does this data tell us when it comes to the cornerbacks in this year’s draft class? For starters, you would have to think that being as Ohio State cornerback Eli Apple fails to check both the age and games-played boxes that the Steelers won’t be drafting him if he’s still on the board come time for them to pick in the first round. As for Clemson cornerback Mackensie Alexander, assuming the date of birth I found on him is correct, he checks the age box. However, being as he only played in 27 games at Clemson, one would think the Steelers would bypass him as well.

When it comes to Houston cornerback William Jackson III, he easily checks off both the age and games played requirements, so it’s not surprising that the Steelers have shown a lot of interest in him so far during the pre-draft process. With that said, the only real strike against him potentially being the Steelers first-round selection this year is the fact that he didn’t play in one of the power five conferences. That and the fact that the Steelers haven’t drafted a cornerback in the first round since 1997.

While trends are certainly made to be broken, you might want keep this cornerback data in the back of your mind when mocking any cornerback to the Steelers in the coming weeks.

Cornerbacks Steelers Have Drafted 2000-2015
PLAYER COLLEGE YEAR GAMES PLAYED DATE OF BIRTH DRAFT DATE DAYS OLD AGE
Senquez Golson Senior 49 7-Jul-93 1-May-15 7968 21.83
Doran Grant Senior 54 30-Nov-92 1-May-15 8187 22.43
Shaquille Richardson Senior 49 21-Mar-92 1-May-14 8076 22.13
Terry Hawthorne Senior 44 1-Jan-90 27-Apr-13 8517 23.33
Terrence Frederick Senior 50 10-Feb-90 28-Apr-12 8113 22.23
Curtis Brown Senior 52 24-Sep-88 29-Apr-11 8252 22.61
Cortez Allen Senior 39 29-Oct-88 29-Apr-11 8217 22.51
Crezdon Butler Senior 53 26-May-87 24-Apr-10 8369 22.93
Keenan Lewis Senior 52 17-May-86 26-Apr-09 8380 22.96
Joe Burnett Senior 50 28-Nov-86 26-Apr-09 8185 22.42
William Gay Senior 47 1-Jan-85 29-Apr-07 8153 22.34
Bryant McFadden Senior 49 21-Nov-81 23-Apr-05 8554 23.44
Ricardo Colclough Senior 20* 26-Sep-83 24-Apr-04 7516 20.59
Ike Taylor Senior 23* 5-May-80 27-Apr-03 8392 22.99
Lavar Glover Senior 46 17-Dec-78 21-Apr-02 8526 23.36
Hank Poteat Senior 41 30-Aug-77 16-Apr-00 8265 22.64
Top Rated 2016 Cornerbacks
PLAYER COLLEGE YEAR GAMES PLAYED DATE OF BIRTH DRAFT DATE DAYS OLD AGE
Eli Apple R-Sophomore 28 9-Aug-95 28-Apr-16 7568 20.73
Mackensie Alexander R-Sophomore 27 12-Nov-93 28-Apr-16 8203 22.47
William Jackson III Senior 39 27-Oct-92 28-Apr-16 8584 23.52
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