When the Pittsburgh Steelers drafted Cory Trice Jr. in the seventh round of the 2023 NFL Draft, the team thought they were drafting a steal at the time. Some of the pre-draft boards had Trice drafted as high as the third round but due to his extensive injury history, he slipped until the Steelers selected him with the 241st overall pick.
Unfortunately for the team and Trice, the first official reports revealed that the Purdue product suffered his second-career torn ACL during the Steelers’ first day of pads at training camp in early August.
According to Adam Caplan of the Pro Football Network, “Seventh-round rookie [cornerback] Cory Trice, who wound up suffering a torn ACL during a training camp practice in early August, was doing exceptionally well and was a leading candidate to be one of the team’s top backup outside players at the position.”
While Trice’s official medical examinations were never officially released, it is public knowledge that he had a history of leg injuries prior to the Steelers drafting him. Trice broke his ankle during his senior year of high school and while at Purdue, Trice suffered a high ankle sprain and then tore his ACL during that same season.
Trice’s size and availability would have allowed a player such as Patrick Peterson to play all around the secondary including as a slot cornerback but after the injury to Trice, those plans became vaulted a bit. Due to a lack of outside cornerback depth behind Levi Wallace and Joey Porter Jr., Peterson’s role will mainly be back on the outside after the injury to Trice.
Even though the team decided to keep Chandon Sullivan and Elijah Riley on the final 53-man roster, Trice’s injury resulted in a reshuffling of the deck to the point that slot corner became the team’s biggest need heading into Week 1. To many people’s surprise, the team was able to bolster that position last week when they signed former All-Pro cornerback Desmond King, recently of the Houston Texans.
While Trice will miss the entirety of the 2023 season, he should have enough time to fully recover in time for next offseason, and with how much he impressed the Steelers coaching staff already, he should get a fair look heading into the 2024 season as one of the outside cornerbacks.