With their first selection in the seventh round of the 2023 NFL Draft, the Pittsburgh Steelers once again dipped into the cornerback pool and selected Purdue corner Cory Trice. Like Joey Porter Jr. whom the Steelers drafted in round two, Trice excels at man-press coverage.
After the selection of Trice, Steelers secondary coach Grady Brown spoke to the media., streamed on the Steelers YouTube channel. He talked about what makes Trice such a good press-coverage cornerback.
“Like I said earlier, he just doesn’t back up,” Brown said. “A lot of times in today’s game, guys walk down on the line of scrimmage and as soon as the receiver moves or the receiver flinches, they back up and we’re giving back the space that we walk down to take away, and he doesn’t do that. He’s been coached well at Purdue by those guys how to play an aggressive, really, I shouldn’t say aggressive, just stay on the line of scrimmage and make receivers work.”
Trice in the seventh round could be a steal. A draft profile by Steeler Depot’s own Alex Kozora, had Trice as a possible Day-Two selection. Instead Pittsburgh got him at the end of the draft. With both Trice and Porter Jr. the Steelers could have possibly found their outside cornerbacks of the future in this year’s draft.
While that may be wishful thinking, what is known is that the Steelers want length and press coverage ability to combat some of the elite and big receivers in the AFC. One in particular is Cincinnati Bengals wideout Ja’Marr Chase, who is listed at 6’0” and is a game wrecker.
The Steelers clearly want to make sure their corners are physical. With a great pass rush, altering a receiver’s route even just a little can mess up timing and allow players like T.J. Watt, Alex Highsmith, or Cam Heyward get to the quarterback and prevent a throw or force a bad decision.