CB Cory Trice Jr. had envisioned getting drafted a lot sooner than the No. 241st overall pick of the 2023 NFL Draft. Many considered Trice to be a Day Two prospect including our own Alex Kozora, giving him a third-round grade in his pre-draft profile on the CB from Purdue.
However, previous injuries caused Trice to tumble down the board come draft weekend and into the seventh round. Several teams had medically flagged him for a torn ACL in October 2021, a high-ankle injury suffered earlier in the same year, and a broken ankle during his senior year of high school.
Speaking to reporters at rookie minicamp this past weekend, Trice said he has a chip on his shoulder after going way later than he thought he would but added that it isn’t anything knew as he has always felt the need to prove himself.
Speaking to Teresa Varley of Steelers.com, Trice mentioned that draft day was difficult for him knowing the caliber of player he is. But he said everything happens for a reason and looks forward to making the most of his opportunity with the Steelers… regardless of his draft slot.
“It was kind of tough because I had plans to go higher than what I did,” Trice said according to Varley of Steelers.com. “I knew it was God’s plan. Things are going to always work out. I might not have seen it right away, but I still had that mindset.”
Coming off the bus, Trice has plenty of traits that are desirable for the CB position in the league. He stands 6’3 3/8”, 206lb and runs in the 4.4s, having the length and wingspan to minimize passing lanes and contest passes against bigger, stronger receivers. He also is a willing tackler against the run, showing aggressiveness to come downhill and aid in run support.
Given the fact that he was a seventh-round pick, Trice isn’t guaranteed to make the roster. However, he is more than capable of earning his way onto the roster and becoming a quality pro despite his draft slot. Look at former All-Pro CB Richard Sherman. A fifth-round pick coming out of Stanford after converting from WR in college, he had similar measurables and play style to Trice coming out of Purdue. Sherman was a solid cover man in college, but really ascended into being one of the top cover corners in the NFL once he made the transition to the pro game despite being a Day Three pick.
This isn’t to say that Trice will have a career close to the level that Sherman had during his time in the league, but it’s an example that your draft slot doesn’t define you. Being a Day Three selection at CB himself, Trice will look to earn his keep on Pittsburgh’s roster in training camp, showing the front office and coaching staff that they got a great value by taking a chance on him.