Are the Pittsburgh Steelers headed for a second consecutive double-dip at the cornerback position during the upcoming 2016 NFL Draft? They certainly could be and especially now that they have decided to part ways with veteran cornerback Cortez Allen once and for all.
Not that Allen was a lock to make the Steelers 53-man roster this year out of training camp, but now that he’s gone for good, the team is left with just two ultra-experienced cornerbacks on their roster in the form of William Gay and Ross Cockrell. While the Steelers are expecting second-year cornerback Senquez Golson to contribute heavily in 2016 after he missed his entire rookie season with a shoulder injury, the depth chart behind him, Gay and Cockrell is filled with several other inexperienced players, one of which is Doran Grant, who the team drafted last year in the fourth round out of Ohio State.
Grant’s future moving forward with the Steelers is very hard to read as not only was he cut and signed back to the team’s practice squad last year at the conclusion of training camp before ultimately being promoted back to the 53-man roster later on during the season, there’s been some minor hints that he might be moved to safety during the upcoming offseason practices. However, until such a position switch occurs, we are forced to still consider him a cornerback.
Behind Grant on the Steelers current cornerback depth chart seemingly sits Isaiah Frey, who was drafted originally by the Chicago Bears in the sixth-round of the 2012 NFL Draft out of Nevada. While Grant has seen some NFL action with other teams so far during his career, he spent a good portion of the 2015 season on the Steelers practice squad.
Filling out the Steelers cornerback depth chart ahead of the 2016 NFL Draft are former undrafted free agents Al-Hajj Shabazz and Montell Garner, but neither are currently expected to make the final roster this year.
While we’re all almost certain that the Steelers will spend an early-round draft pick this year on yet another cornerback, they would probably be wise to double-dip at the position once again. However, if that ultimately winds up being the case, hopefully such a double-dip will occur within the first four rounds and especially if the plan is to move Grant to safety this offseason.
With all that said, Steelers general manager Kevin Colbert failed to give any indication during the league’s March meetings that the team would draft multiple cornerbacks this year.
“We can’t say we’ll take a cornerback first, second or third,” Colbert said, according to Gerry Dulac of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. “But there are enough that we should be able to get one.”
In addition to being present for the pro days of most of the top-rated cornerbacks in this year’s draft class, the Steelers have also brought in several mid to late-round prospects for visits.