The Pittsburgh Steelers landed a cornerback in the first round of the 2016 NFL Draft Thursday night and if you’re still curious as to whether or not they would have drafted Houston product William Jackson III had the Cincinnati Bengals not taken him one pick before their 25th overall selection, there’s indeed a good chance they would have.
During a post Thursday night selection interview with Bob Labriola of steelers.com, defensive coordinator Keith Butler talked about how their cornerback board played out during the first round.
“We had about three or four corners there together, Eli Apple and Artie [Burns], and William Jackson and [Vernon] Hargreaves” said Butler. “All those guys we knew they were going to be in the first round, we just didn’t know who was going to fall to us, but we’re happy with the guy who did fall to us.”
The guy that ultimately fell to the Steelers was of course Miami product Artie Burns and Butler talked about some of the things he will need to work on before he’s allowed to play.
“We know he can bump and run and we know he’s going to be able to do that, but he’s going to have to play some off-man too,” said Butler of Burns. “He’s going to have to learn to backpedal a little bit better, he’s going to have to learn when to come out of his backpedal. He’s going to have to learn how to trust his speed and how he’s covering and stuff like that. All that stuff is going to be a process he’s going to go through before he plays the first game.”
As you can tell and probably expected, Burns certainly isn’t likely to crack the Steelers starting defense come the start of the regular season. Instead, he’ll likely be relegated to being a core special teams player for a good portion of his rookie season with the goal being to start getting him on the field later on in the year.
“We’re going to try to bring him along though,” said Butler. “We’re not going to ask him to just jump out there and do what we would ideally do, it’s going to take a while for him.”