Pittsburgh Steelers cornerback Cameron Sutton had one of his best seasons in 2022, and while Sutton is a player who has seen a lot of work as a slot corner, he primarily played on the outside in 2022. Versatility is a big part of Sutton’s game, and he said in an interview with Dale Lolley of Steelers.com that’s it a big part of Pittsburgh’s secondary as a whole.
“That just speaks to the versatility of our guys, the guys that we continuously bring in the building, the guys that we always have in the building.”
Sutton said the group spends time with each other throughout the year and in the offseason and that versatility allows each guy to play a variety for the Steelers.
“We spend a lot of time coming together in the offseason. We spend a lot of time coming together on coverages, putting in work together,” Sutton said. “Just the versatility, guys being able to play different backgrounds, not just being labeled a safety or a guy who plays around the line of scrimmage, or a guy who plays on the post or a guy who’s just a coverage corner or a zone corner.”
In today’s NFL, elite offenses rule the league. With dynamic players at every position, it’s important to be able to cover running backs, receivers, and tight ends regardless of position. As teams get more and more creative about the usage of their top offensive talent, versatility is more important than ever. Sutton talked about how important it is on defense to dominate each individual matchup.
“In the sense of just dominating, you don’t want to dominate, not just within the win but being able to match up with those guys, being able to stop everything they throw out,” he said. “Just a sense of how we want to dominate teams and offenses, we have the right guys to do that,” he added.
“That’s a great feeling.”
While it was out of necessity at times, the Steelers could throw a variety of looks at opposing teams this year. Versatility across the board was key on defense, as the team ran 22 different defensive groupings/alignments. Obviously, having guys like Sutton who have the ability to be a good slot corner and a good outside corner is key, but the defense as a whole had to be versatile. It’s clearly something the Steelers look for when bringing in guys on defense in the draft and free agency, as Sutton said.
That’s really not particularly surprising, as with injuries and up-tempo offensive schemes, guys across the depth chart have to fill a variety of roles on defense. While someone like Sutton isn’t gonna slide down to defensive tackle and Cameron Heyward isn’t going to line up at corner, being able to wear a number of different hats for a team is a major plus.
Sutton’s an impending free agent this offseason, and the Steelers are likely going to make him a priority to bring back. He’s excelled both in the slot and as an outside corner, and the two-year, $9 million deal he signed back in 2020 looks like a massive bargain now. He’ll be looking at a much larger contract this offseason, and hopefully, it’s with Pittsburgh.