The Pittsburgh Steelers find that their 2017 season ended a bit prematurely, and are undergoing the exit meeting process a couple weeks sooner than they would have liked. Nevertheless, what must be done must be done, and we are now at the time of the year where we close the book on one season and look ahead to the next.
While we might not know all the details about what goes on between Head Coach Mike Tomlin and his players during these exit meetings, we do know how we would conduct those meetings if they were let up to us. So here are the Depot’s exit meetings for the Steelers’ roster following the 2016 season.
Player: Cameron Sutton
Experience: 1 Year
This was going to be the last entry in the exit meeting series, but the Steelers went ahead and re-signed Stevan Ridley after I finished writing this, so Ridley’s exit meeting tomorrow will be the final installment before we move on to another subject.
Cameron Sutton came to the Steelers as a selection in the third round of the 2017 NFL Draft, the first cornerback they selected when many expected, or at least hoped, that one would be taken within the first two rounds. That angst was later alleviated by the signing of Joe Haden, but that is neither here nor there.
Coming out of Tennessee as the all-time school leader in pass deflections and with a reputation for being a heady player who is capable of understanding what every player on the field is supposed to be doing, Pittsburgh was intrigued by Sutton’s potential versatility.
He did turn some heads throughout the spring by playing the ball aggressively in practice, but injuries during training camp limited his ability to contribute. He did dress for three games and saw a decent amount of playing time, showing some highs and lows, ultimately recording six tackles and a pass defensed.
But he would suffer a hamstring injury that was significant enough to land him on injured reserve, though with the possibility of returning, which he did. Sutton was activated after the Week 11 game but did not dress until Week 13.
He ended up starting the second half of that game against the Cincinnati Bengals, replacing Coty Sensabaugh, who had been benched due to his performance. Sensabaugh started the prior four games due to an injury to Haden.
He showed enough that the coaching staff was comfortable giving him the opportunity to start the following week against the New England Patriots with Haden not yet ready to return. While he gave up a touchdown in tight coverage, his effort was generally regarded a positive one for his first start.
He spent most of the rest of the season playing on special teams (eventually leading to Sensabaugh as a healthy scratch), but he did see some snaps in a seven-defensive-back sub-package in the finale. He should be the favorite to be the dime back in 2018 and the primary backup at perhaps all three cornerback positions.