NFL Draft

Study: What The Steelers Look For In Cornerbacks

We’re back to kick this Monday off with one of my favorite articles and hopefully one that will give us all a better idea of who the Pittsburgh Steelers may be interested in. We’ll recap all the draft picks under Mike Tomlin and look for a pattern in the type of athlete the team looks for. Let’s jump in.

2016: Artie Burns

Height: 5’11/7
Weight: 193
Arm Length: 33 1/4
Hand Size: 9 1/2
40 Time: 4.46
Vertical: 33
Broad: 10’4″
Short Shuttle: N/A
Three Cone: N/A
Bench: 7

2015: Senquez Golson

Height: 5’8/5
Weight: 176
Arm Length: 29 3/4
Hand Size: 9 3/8
40 Time: 4.46
Vertical: 33.5
Broad Jump: 10’0″
Short Shuttle: 4.20
Three Cone: 6.81
Bench: 16

Doran Grant

Height: 5’10/2
Weight: 200
Arm Length: 30 1/4
Hand Size: 9 3/8
40 Time: 4.44
Vertical: 35.5
Broad Jump: 10’5″
Short Shuttle: 4.33
Three Cone: N/A
Bench: 21

2014: Shaq Richardson

Height: 6’0/1
Weight: 194
Arm Length: 32
Hand Size: N/A
40 Time: N/A
Vertical: 38.5
Broad Jump: 10’7″
Short Shuttle: N/A
Three Cone: N/A
Bench: 14

2013: Terry Hawthorne

Height: 5’11/6
Weight: 195
Arm Length: 31 1/4
Hand Size: 8 7/8
40 Time: 4.44
Vertical: 35.5
Broad Jump: 9’8″
Short Shuttle: N/A
Three Cone: N/A
Bench: 13

2012: Terence Frederick

Height: 5’10
Weight: 187
Arm Length: 31 1/8
Hand Size: 9 1/8
40 Time: 4.54
Vertical: 35
Broad Jump: 10’1″
Short Shuttle: 4.03
Three Cone: 6.59
Bench: 16

2011: Curtis Brown

Height: 5’11/5
Weight: 185
Arm Length: 32 1/4
Hand Size: 9 1/2
40 Time: 4.54
Vertical: 39.5
Broad Jump: 10’6″
Short Shuttle: 4.00
Three Cone: 6.59
Bench: 10

Cortez Allen

Height: 6’1/2
Weight: 197
Arm Length: 32 1/4
Hand Size: 8 5/8
40 Time: 4.53
Vertical: 37.5
Broad Jump: 10’9″
Short Shuttle: 4.01
Three Cone: 6.76
Bench: 18

2010: Crezdon Butler

Height: 5’11/6
Weight: 191
Arm Length: 32
Hand Size: 8 3/4
40 Time: 4.49
Vertical: 39.5
Broad Jump: 10’1″
Short Shuttle: 4.23
Three Cone: 7.08
Bench: 17

2009: Keenan Lewis

Height: 6’0/7
Weight: 208
Arm Length: 32 3/4
Hand Size: 9 3/4
40 Time: 4.55
Vertical: 38.5
Broad Jump: 10’10”
Short Shuttle: N/A
Three Cone: N/A
Bench: 20

Joe Burnett

Height: 5’9/3
Weight: 192
Arm Length: N/A
Hand Size: N/A
40 Time: 4.62
Vertical: 35.5
Broad Jump: 9’10”
Short Shuttle: 4.25
Three Cone: 6.68
Bench: 22

2007: William Gay

Height: 5’10/1
Weight: 187
Arm Length: 31
Hand Size: 9 1/2
40 Time: N/A
Vertical: 38.5
Broad Jump: 9’10”
Short Shuttle: N/A
Three Cone: N/A
Bench: 16

So here is my criteria. Cornerbacks who are…

5’10+ (10 of 12)
185+ pounds (9 of 12)
Arm length of at least 31 inches (9 of 11)
4.55 40 or lower (9 of 10)
35+ inch vertical (10 of 12)
10’0″+ inch broad (9 of 12)
Sub 4.25 short shuttle (5 of 6)
Bench: 13+ (10 of 12)

There were just a pair of cornerbacks who hit every one of those marks.

Name Height Weight Arm Length 40 Time Vertical Broad Jump Short Shuttle Bench
Brendan Langley 6’0/3 201 32 4.43 35 10’3″ 4.21 22
Shaquill Griffin 6’0/1 194 32 3/8 4.38 38.5 11’0″ 4.14 17

So that’s it…just the pair. Langley is a small school kid from Lamar while Griffin was a Combine riser after posting those blistering numbers. Bench press was a surprisingly important trait and the majority of corners they’ve drafted posted good numbers there.

To expand our search some more, because it’s tough for any one player to hit every mark, here is the list of players who missed in just one category. No chart, just their name and the category they fell short in.

Chidobe Awuzie: Arm Length
Gareon Conley: Bench
Jourdan Lewis: Short Shuttle
Fabian Moreau: Bench
Jalen Myrick: Height
Ahkello Witherspoon: Bench

That gives us a more expansive list to look at. And some players just missed out. Awuzie has 30 5/8 inch arms, Conley benched 11 reps. The only corner the Steelers have brought in so far is Jourdan Lewis so no surprise to see him test so close to our criteria (Lewis didn’t run the short shuttle).

Here are the players who missed in at least half, four, the categories, not including players who were injured.

Treston DeCoud: 40 (4.62), Bench (11), Vert (31), Broad (9’8″), Short Shuttle (?)
Corn Elder: Broad (9’8″), Bench (?), Short Shuttle (?), Height (5’9/7), Weight (183)
Damontae Kazee: Weight (184), Arm Length (30 7/8), Vert (34), Short Shuttle (?), Bench (11)
Arthur Maulet: Height (5’9/6), 40 (4.62), Vert (34.5), Short Shuttle (?)
Cam Sutton: Arm Length (30), Bench (11), Vert (34), Short Shuttle (?)
Teez Tabor: 40 (4.62), Bench (9), Vert (32), Short Shuttle (?)
Michael Tyson: 40 (4.56), Vert (33), Short Shuttle (?), Broad (9’10)
Howard Wilson: Weight (184), 40 (4.57), Vert (33.5), Bench (10), Broad (9’9)

This one stings. Definitely guys I like, Elder, Kazee, and Sutton, who fall out of favor in the criteria. We’ll see what happens.

If you’re wondering, no safety hit every box this year. Sean Davis made the cut last year and was drafted by the Steelers in the second round. Virginia Tech’s Chuck Clark came very close, falling one inch shy with a 34 vert. Josh Jones and Montae Nicholson, two guys brought in for visit, also missed in just one area. Nicholson didn’t run the short shuttle at Indy and Jones ran a 4.40, .15 seconds away from the benchmark.

If you want to see the whole list, click here and here for a player-by-player breakdown of where each player missed.

We’ll talk about edge rushers later in the week. If you missed it, here’s the study we did last week on the five wide receivers who make the most sense.

Wide Receivers 

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