The Pittsburgh Steelers were hoping to add something a bit more than they ended up with regarding the cornerback position during free agency, but they did come away with the acquisition of sixth-year veteran Coty Sensabaugh, who has spent time in the league before as a starter.
While he may not have been brought to Pittsburgh with the idea that he is going to be plugged into the starting lineup, the Steelers no doubt do feel as though they added a player to their depth chart that can make significant contributions to their defensive efforts if they had to call upon him, and he wouldn’t be the first depth cornerback suddenly asked to play a bigger role.
It’s not at all clear at the moment how things will play out between now and September, but the coaching staff should take comfort in the fact that Sensabaugh is both able and willing to man both the outside and slot positions at cornerback.
Jeremy Fowler for ESPN yesterday Tweeted about Sensabaugh, saying that the cornerback “said he doesn’t care where he plays in the backfield”, reiterating his desire to help the Steelers get “two games better”, by which he means achieving victories in the AFC Championship game, and subsequently the Super Bowl, after Pittsburgh’s season ended in the former contest during the 2016 season.
As of right now, it’s not exactly obvious where the Steelers view Sensabaugh in the pecking order, and the reality is that they probably don’t have all that great a feel for it as of yet. They haven’t even been able to work with him yet, so there is still a lot of feeling out to be done between the player and the team.
But if I were to guess, I would think that he is currently slotted as the first cornerback off the bench, since, no matter how much they may hope to get something out of Senquez Golson following two seasons of injuries, they know that they can’t count on him to deliver anything.
Yet there is a sense in some parts that the Steelers would like to get William Gay to the sideline, or at least spell him from time to time when they feel the need to use more man coverage. It’s not inconceivable that they attempt to rotate at the position this year. They have a recent history of utilizing multiple players at one position in the defensive backfield during a game over the last couple of seasons.
Either way, he seems to be more or less replacing Justin Gilbert as the annual ‘veteran’ on the roster, only this time they will have had an entire offseason to work with that veteran rather than cramming months’ worth of defensive playbooks into a couple of weeks, so he is more likely to have an opportunity to contribute, or at least to compete for an opportunity.