Though the news is much more obvious following Steven Nelson’s release, Cam Sutton won’t be exclusive to the slot in 2021. In a Zoom interview he conducted with Steelers’ media on Monday, Sutton said the team told him he’ll get to play on the outside this season.
“Coming out of exit meetings, going into the offseason and into the season, they were going to give me the opportunity to come in and play and play outside,” Sutton told reporters in an interview provided by the team.” So with that alone, it’s something that I knew I can do. It’s not something I haven’t done before. And obviously just even in the midst of playing inside and being able to move around, just not saying a new thing, but as of career wise, I’ve always been a stationery kind of outside guy.”
Sutton played as an outside corner at Tennessee. He dabbled a bit at safety in the pre-draft process, I remember him lining up there some during the Senior Bowl, before the Steelers drafted him. In Pittsburgh, he’s primarily played inside as either a slot corner or dime defender. But he’s also taken reps on the outside. Including the postseason, he played 211 snaps as an outside corner in 2020. Those all came from Week 11 and on after injuries and COVID hit the secondary. There, he was targeted 13 times, allowing six completions with no touchdowns or interceptions. That comes out to a passer rating of 65.9.
With Nelson’s release, the door to play RCB becomes much more open. Sutton has the confidence to handle it.
“I’m ready. You know, it’s not something new. It’s not a shock to me. It’s the standard is the standard, you know what I mean? And I’m ready to give that So whatever that entails throughout the year or whatever that breakdown is, at the end of the day, like I say, it’s all about winning. I’m all about team. I’m all about winning and I’m ready to bring that for this organization.”
At the least, Sutton will play RCB in the Steelers’ base, 3-4 defense. He may then shift to the slot in sub-package, nickel and dime defenses, with James Pierre/Justin Layne/a draft pick coming onto the field for that outside corner spot. If Sutton becomes a full-time outside corner, the team will likely have to look externally for a replacement in the slot.
The value in Sutton is that he can and has played literally everywhere, giving Pittsburgh plenty of options and flexibility going forward.