The success of the Pittsburgh Steelers’ rookies is one of the best storylines coming out of the team this season. To have two of them come in the secondary, in today’s complex passing game and consequently, coverages, speaks highly to the whole coaching staff but particularly, defensive backs coach Carnell Lake.
But not only has he shown them the way, it sounds like he played a driving factor in drafting at least one of those guys, second round safety Sean Davis. That’s how Keith Butler laid it out earlier this week when speaking to reporters.
“Carnell was high on him in the draft. As all of us were. A lot of times when you’re high on somebody in the draft, and you speak up for somebody, and you draft him, you want to make sure you’re right….Carnell has a vested interest in this guy being a good player. And he’ll get better because of it.”
I’m sure Mike Tomlin and Kevin Colbert still had to give their blessing to make the pick but the way Butler puts it, it seems like Lake had a bigger influence on the decision than what the DBs coach usually gets. In any situation, he makes his evaluation and recommendation but he’s a smaller cog in the whole picture. But exceptions do get made when guys pound on the table.
Remember, Mike Tomlin overrode everyone and chose Jason Worilds over Sean Lee in 2010. Not, uh, exactly a great decision, but it illustrates the point all the same. And Lake’s decision is already looking good.
Davis was just named the team’s rookie of the year in a competitive class where any of the top three picks could’ve been selected. He’ll have the entire offseason to take a breath and grasp all the finer details, entering 2017 as the starter and more importantly, a defined position from the beginning.
And Lake will be back to coach him up. A far cry from when so many wanted him fired two months ago.