If Pittsburgh Steelers defensive lineman Cameron Heyward gets his wish, the Steelers will draft a corner or two rather early in the 2023 NFL Draft.
Appearing on his podcast, “Not Just Football w/ Cameron Heyward,” the multi-time All-Pro and Pro Bowler made the case for GM Omar Khan and assistant GM Andy Weidl to draft a cornerback — or two — due to the way the game is played now.
“…Going up against a team like Cincinnati, they have three premier wide receivers. You need four or five guys to go up against them, so the more corners the better,” Heyward said Thursday to co-host Hayden Walsh on the latest episode of his podcast. “The more they can stay fresh, the better. If you can have dominant corners week in and week out, more than three, you are doing something special.
“We understand we’re not going to be lights-out every week like some of these teams, so what do you do? Matchups make the fight, and your matchups, your defense has got to be stingy with points and keep them off the field, and your run game has got to take off. We’ve got to goon people. We gotta make sure we’re the most physical team every time we play and give our offense opportunities to keep succeeding.”
In today’s NFL, you need high-end cornerbacks. Despite knowing that, it was a bit surprising to hear Heyward make the case for a secondary player, rather than some additional help up front with the pass rush and run defense.
While the loss of cornerback Cameron Sutton to the Detroit Lions in free agency was rather painful, the Steelers did well to adjust quickly and ink veteran Patrick Peterson to a two-year deal. Along with Peterson, the Steelers will have a chance to land a top-flight cornerback in the 2023 NFL Draft — whether that’s Penn State’s Joey Porter Jr., Oregon’s Christian Gonzalez, Maryland’s Deonte Banks, Illinois’ Devon Witherspoon or Georgia’s Kelee Ringo, among others.
Currently, the Steelers are a bit shorthanded in the secondary with Peterson, Levi Wallace, and Ahkello Witherspoon as the big three at cornerback. Don’t be surprised if Pittsburgh adds two rookie corners from a deep, talented draft class.
That would certainly make Heyward happy.