It’s a question I’ve sorta kicked around in my head since the end of the season. And it doesn’t seem like I’m alone either. In his yesterday chat at the PPG, Ed Bouchette said it’s possible for Cam Sutton to challenge Artie Burns in 2018.
Granted, it was a brief comment, that’s generally how Bouchette rolls, but an interesting comment nonetheless. Here’s the Q&A.
“574Fan: Small sample size for Sutton last year, but he played pretty well. Any chance he beats out Burns next year? Also, please tell me there is no chance that Haden is a cap casualty next year.
Ed Bouchette: No, Haden is here. I would not preclude Sutton from challenging Burns.”
Remember that for at least one practice during the season, Sutton ran ahead of Burns with the starters. Ultimately, Burns kept his job but 2017 brought more uneven play from him. The door may only be cracked but Sutton, with more time under his belt and health on his side, could take a run at the RCB job. I’m just saying it’s not impossible and it seems Bouchette agrees.
Mike Tomlin has praised Sutton almost every step of the way. From when he was drafted, which, ok, is something you’d expect, to his rehab after getting hurt, to the impact he made in one start and sparse work elsewhere on defense.
“Can’t say enough about Cam Sutton,” Tomlin said in late December. “A guy who missed a lot of time. Training camp, preseason, and so forth, first half of the season. He’s come on and provided some quality plays for us as well. The rookie class largely, not only today, but throughout the season, have been positive contributors to our efforts.”
Officially, Sutton played 213 snaps as a rookie after missing the first half of the season with a hamstring injury. That included one start against the New England Patriots, replacing the injured Joe Haden and leaping over a benched Coty Sensabaugh.
Sutton’s been praised for his football IQ and consistency, areas where Burns arguably lacks. Burns is more gifted and fits the mold of what the Steelers look for at the position, tall, long, and can run, but it wouldn’t – and shouldn’t – be surprising for the team to open up that spot for a training camp battle. Even if Sutton doesn’t win it, he’ll likely function as the 6th DB in dime packages.