The Pittsburgh Steelers had nine selections picks in the 2021 NFL Draft, the most the team has had in a number of years, and while Kevin Colbert and company managed to hit most of the team’s most-pressing needs, the one spot that did not get addressed was cornerback.
The Steelers didn’t draft a corner in their nine picks, opting to sign undrafted free agents Mark Gilbert and Shakur Brown as their most meaningful additions at the position this offseason.
That comes after the team lost starting outside cornerback Steven Nelson as a salary cap casualty and Nickel cornerback Mike Hilton left for Cincinnati in free agency.
That leaves just returning starter Joe Haden, 2020 Dime corner Cam Sutton moving into a starting outside cornerback role for the first time in his career, second-year former undrafted free agent James Pierre and former third-round pick Justin Layne to fend off Brown and Gilbert at the two important slot positions.
Pierre played just 27 snaps of defense last season, but had passed Layne on the depth chart by year’s end.
That lack of experience and depth led to ESPN.com listing the cornerback room the place the Steelers failed the most to address in the draft, in the site’s post-draft wrap-up last week.
“Pittsburgh has managed to cobble together an offensive line it feels will be nasty and better in the run game (where it has nowhere to go but up),” Robert Weintraub wrote. “That’s certainly arguable, but the front five looks positively glowing next to the state of the team’s corners. After the loss of Mike Hilton to the Bengals and the surprising release of Steven Nelson, the depth chart consists of the solid but aging (32) Joe Haden, versatile Cam Sutton and a whole lot of question marks.”
Weintraub also mentioned veteran Trevor Williams as an option, but Williams has since been released by the team.
While they did not add a corner, safety signing Arthur Maulet, draft pick Tre Norwood and UDFA Lamont Wade all could help the team in the slot.