Throughout much of the offseason — and even at the trade deadline — the Pittsburgh Steelers have thrown quite a bit of resources at the cornerback position in hopes of solving a longstanding issue overall.
Turns out, the right man for the job was already on the roster. That man? Veteran cornerback and secondary leader Cameron Sutton.
With guys like Ahkello Witherspoon and Levi Wallace receiving two-year deals in free agency, and William Jackson III acquired at the trade deadline, the Steelers continued to try and search for answers in coverage. Quietly, Cameron Sutton has provided the right answers time and time again.
According to Pro Football Focus’ grades, Sutton is having a career year, recording a grade of 75.7 through 10 weeks. That’s been good enough to crack the top 25 cornerback rankings from PFF ahead of Week 11 against the Cincinnati Bengals.
“The Steelers have had major issues in their secondary, especially at cornerback. But their one reliable player at the position this year has been Sutton, who has played 471 snaps through Week 10,” PFF’s Marcus Mosher writes regarding Sutton’s ranking. “Sutton has allowed three touchdowns this season, but he’s recorded two interceptions and has played both in the slot and on the outside. All in all, he’s been a pretty decent cornerback for the Steelers this season.”
Each week, Sutton has been pretty steady overall, providing leadership and consistent play as a boundary cornerback in base defense and in the slot when the Steelers transition to dime.
For all the criticism the Steelers get for their inability to draft cornerbacks in the last two decades or so, Sutton’s development and overall consistency often gets overlooked. He’s not a game-breaking cornerback, nor is he what many would call a “shut-down defender.”
He’s often in the right position though, is a sound tackler and is starting to make more and more plays on the football, recording five pass breakups and two interceptions this season.
When targeted by quarterbacks, Sutton is allowing a completion percentage of just 57.1% (20-for-35) and has allowed just 247 yards on the season. Quietly, he’s become Mr. Dependable for the Steelers in the secondary, a player who can handle multiple roles and allows the Steelers to do different things coverage wise.
Sutton is having a strong 2022 season, and it’s great to see a player like Sutton start to get the recognition that he deserves.