2017 was not anyone’s version of an ideal situation for Cam Sutton. A hamstring injury, excuse the pun, hamstrung the first half of his rookie season. But Sutton was drafted in part for his mental toughness, something put to the test while he donned sweats and a T-shirt until he got healthy.
Despite that obvious adversity, Sutton made the best of a bad situation. That’s what he told Teresa Varley in an enlightening article over on Steelers.com, using that time injured to soak up every mental rep on the side.
“I wanted to be involved with everything, whether it was in the locker room passing out our play cards, going to home or away games, being in all the meetings,” Sutton told Varley.
He said it was uplifting that the team made it clear he was a candidate to return off injured reserve, which he did, and that helped keep him engaged during his rehab. Once Sutton got healthy, he quickly saw reps, starting against the New England Patriots and performing reasonably well.
Now, he’ll enter spring ball healthy and like all rookies, a year under his belt, adding all the more comfort to his sophomore season. His role in 2018 is unclear, as it is for most of the secondary with the changes that have been made. Before the Morgan Burnett signing, it seemed like Sutton was a lock to be the dime, 6th defensive back. But that’s a role Burnett handled well in Green Bay, making it seem like he’s the favorite to take over that spot held by William Gay last season. Where does that leave Sutton?
That is an impossible question to answer. I’ve floated the idea that he should at least get to challenge Artie Burns for a starting job, if only to bring the best out of both players (remember, Burns did have a great training camp last year).
At worst, Sutton is going to provide excellent cornerback depth at all three spots, a requirement for a position that essentially starts three of them each week. He’ll lean on the veterans who are left, namely Joe Haden, for guidance, as the mental and physical reps he took last season are going to let him hit the ground running this year.
“Everything that goes into being a great team and a great teammate. I have definitely seen the growth in that aspect. That is going to continue to grow the more I am around and we continue to communicate and get reps on the field.”