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CB Cam Sutton Takes Big Step In 2022, Should Be Priority Re-signing Come Offseason

Last season, Pittsburgh Steelers cornerback Cameron Sutton kicked to the outside after playing mostly in the slot his first four seasons with the team. While Sutton was not a liability on the outside by any means, he went through an adjustment period last season. This season, though, Sutton has fully adjusted and is playing at the levels he was when he was in the slot. 

Last season, Sutton allowed his highest passer rating since his rookie season, allowing a 104.9 passer rating when thrown at. In addition, Sutton allowed a career high five touchdowns last year. The Steelers defense was a mess last season outside of T.J. Watt, and Sutton was adjusting to the outside. Sutton is a very good football player with a high football IQ, however he is not the quickest cornerback and that caused him some problems on the outside because of it. The lack of speed requires being better technically and knowing your opponents tendencies. 

This year, Sutton has not let anything limit him, as he plays very tight defense and has made it very hard for quarterbacks when they try to throw at him. This season, Sutton has only allowed a passer rating of 71.3, a huge drop from last season. For reference, one of the best outside cornerbacks in the NFL, Jaire Alexander, is allowing a passer rating against him of 67.9. 

When looking at how Sutton’s passer rating against him this year compares to when he was in the slot, in 2020 Sutton allowed a passer rating of 78.9. Sutton is having his best year since 2019, and this defense is much worse. In 2019, Sutton had two cornerbacks playing at an elite level on the outside in Joe Haden and Steven Nelson. Sutton also had Mike Hilton as another slot corner with him and Minkah Fitzpatrick playing deep safety. 

This year, due to the injury of Ahkello Witherspoon, Sutton has been lined across James Pierre for most of the year. While I am high on Pierre, Sutton is not surrounded by the most talented players in the secondary currently. Also, the Steelers defense hasn’t generated too much pressure this year allowing quarterbacks more time to go through their reads and more time for wide receivers to get open. Despite this, Sutton is still doing a pretty good job of keeping a lid on things. He has yet to allow more than 65 yards by a receiver this year and has two interceptions to his name, and he should have more. 

While Pittsburgh does need to draft a shutdown man cornerback soon given the receivers in their division and conference, Sutton is a very good cornerback and has proven he is capable of staying on the outside. With Sutton’s contract coming to an end when the season ends, he should be one of the first players general manager Omar Khan re-signs early in the offseason.

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