Thought the bulk of the offseason is over and 90-man rosters are (relatively) set, NFL.com’s Marc Sessler took a look around the league to note each team’s biggest priority before the 2023 season kicks off in September. For the Pittsburgh Steelers, he believes the team should still find a way to add another cornerback before playing the San Francisco 49ers in Week One.
“Pittsburgh remains a sneaky candidate to take 11 games and stun the North. Mike Tomlin wins nine when the club is reportedly rebuilding, so what’s not to love about a team that rocked the draft and rebuilt its offense over the course of two offseasons,” Sessler wrote. “Big Ben feels from 12,000 years ago, but the Steelers still have a few needs. I’d point to cornerback, where lovely-but-aging Patrick Peterson sits across from rookie Joey Porter Jr. Pittsburgh must deal with Joe Burrow and in-theory ramp-ups through the sky via Lamar Jackson and Deshaun Watson. A reliable cover man should be priority No. 1.”
Pittsburgh’s made serious changes to its cornerback room this season. They lost Cam Sutton to the Detroit Lions and replaced him with Peterson on a cheaper contract. In the draft, they took Joey Porter Jr., who fell into their laps at the top of the second round, followed by Cory Trice Jr., a solid seventh-round value. To a lesser degree, the team also inked XFL star CB Luq Barcoo to a one-year deal while releasing CB Ahkello Witherspoon yesterday.
Pittsburgh’s outside cornerbacks are primarily made up of Peterson, Levi Wallace, Porter, Trice, Barcoo, and James Pierre. It isn’t the most elite group in the league but it’s hard to see another name being added who can crack that list. Peterson, Wallace, and Porter will be the team’s top three and there’s enough depth behind them.
Slot corner is where the team has more questions than answers, especially after releasing veteran Arthur Maulet. But the free agent market is thin, and the team already added one name in Chandon Sullivan, whom GM Omar Khan recently named as a slot corner option. Perhaps the team will keep their eyes on that position later in the summer for an August trade or at cutdowns right before the season opens up.
If there is a solid point Sessler makes, it’s that the AFC North has weapons at receivers and some great quarterbacks throwing them the ball, making the need for a top cornerback all the more pressing.