Cosell Foreshadows Potential Diggs/Maulet Matchup In The Slot That Buffalo Will Look To Exploit

As the Pittsburgh Steelers prepare to face the buffalo Bills this Sunday, all eyes will be on All-Pro WR Stefon Diggs and how much damage he will do on a banged-up Steelers’ secondary.

NFL Films executive producer Greg Cosell recently went on One Bills Live to highlight the matchup between the two teams, and brought up a potential matchup that Buffalo’s offense may look to exploit this week with their star WR.

“You know, they’ve played a lot of man; I’ll be real curious what the Bills do with their receiver locations,” Cosell said on One Bills Live. “[Arthur] Maulet plays in the slot, and I think if you are going to play a lot of man, I think he’s a guy worth going after. You can line Diggs up in there. Diggs doesn’t always have to line up outside. You can line up receivers wherever you want especially for a team that plays a lot of man because you can dictate the matchup you want.”

Steelers fans may shutter when contemplating the thought of Arthur Maulet seeing a lot of Stefon Diggs in the slot this coming Sunday. When Ahkello Witherspoon suffered a hamstring injury Week 3 against the Browns, Maulet’s snaps increased the following week against the Jets. Maulet played 52 defensive snaps last week (74%) and recorded seven total tackles (five solo) and a pass break-up. So far this season, Maulet has been targeted ten times and allowed six completions (60%) for 94 yards on 136 snaps, allowing a 91.2 pass rating when targeted according to Pro Football Reference.

On the stat sheet, Maulet has been solid in terms of coverage and has shined as a run support nickel defender, having been effective near the LOS and even recording a strip sack on Joe Burrow in Week 1, creating one of Pittsburgh’s five turnovers forced in the game. Still, when watching the tape, you notice that Maulet struggles to stay sticky in coverage, lacking the awareness and quickness to stay in-phase with receivers coming out of their breaks. He allows a fair amount of separation at the top of the route, which is something that Buffalo will look to exploit, with Diggs being one of the best route runners in the league.

Diggs has been seeing a fair amount of action in the slot this season, lining up both inside and outside to get the advantageous matchups. Buffalo has put him in motion several times to expose coverage, getting him on a safety or a dime linebacker, which is an easy win for Diggs, who is currently tied for second in the league with 31 receptions, third with 406 yards, and tied for first with four TDs.

Seeing as Pittsburgh doesn’t like to travel corners often and remains adamant on playing linebackers or nickel/dime defenders on slot receivers based on their scheme, we should expect to see Diggs get matched up against Maulet several times this Sunday if Buffalo wants to try and exploit that matchup. Pittsburgh managed to keep a lid on Diggs last season, holding him to nine receptions on 13 targets for 69 yards, which helped Pittsburgh get the win in Buffalo. However, a year prior Diggs went off against Pittsburgh, posting ten receptions on 14 targets for 130 yards and a TD.

Containing Diggs will be one of the keys for the Steelers, who hope to pull off the upset, but they may be relying on Arthur Maulet to help them get the job done against one of the league’s best this weekend.

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