The preseason has really been a mixed bag in terms of participation and performance for the Pittsburgh Steelers’ rookie draft class. While it would be a topic to go into greater detail in a broader article, suffice it to say that a number of them have been in and out of the lineup due to injuries, while others have seen their playing wax and wane.
One of the most anticipated debuts of the preseason was that of the Steelers’ rookie third-round cornerback Cameron Sutton, who suffered a hamstring injury early and training camp and took a few weeks in order for him to make his way back.
He finally was able to make his first appearance in live action last week against the Colts, and he made a couple of plays, including a pass defensed on third down on his first ever snap. Later, he showed aggressive and physical play against the run on a tackle for loss, but he did later give up a reception working out of the slot on third down late in the game.
The plan was for him to get a good amount of playing time last night, and he did see a lot of snaps, but his night also ended early, and right now it’s hard to be entirely sure where that leaves him. According to Head Coach Mike Tomlin, he ultimately left the game with what was a reaggravation of that previous hamstring injury that sidelined him for weeks.
While the Steelers do not need him to be an immediate contributor, one wonders how this might affect the initial makeup of the 53-man roster. At the very least, it could help persuade them to carry seven cornerbacks with one being injured. If it is significant enough, he could then go on injured reserve with the potential to return mid-season.
We have to await word as to the severity of the injury, however, and how things could play out. At the moment, it would seem to make it all the more unlikely that the unlikely event of William Gay being cut occurs.
Gay started last night’s game in the slot before quickly giving way to Mike Hilton, and while Hilton was in they did bring in Sutton for a snap or two that I noticed as a dime defender, something that they evidently plan to use more this year after doing it a bit a year ago with Justin Gilbert.
Sutton had an up and down performance on the night, which will be most remembered for a long reception that he gave up, perhaps where he injured his hamstring. He also played on special teams.
It’s hard to say more about this situation until we know more about it, but the late injury adds just yet another wrinkle to how the initial 53-man roster may shape up.