The Steelers have some questions with their cornerback depth after the season-ending injury to Cory Trice. James Pierre is thought to be the guy that the team can rely upon at the bottom of the roster, but his recent struggles are something that has raised questions about if his roster spot could be up for contention, and certainly that there could be an opening for a player to make a push. Steelers defensive coordinator Teryl Austin did not give a ringing endorsement of Pierre following the team’s win over the Buccaneers.
“He plays hard. But I thought he left some plays out there that he could’ve made,” Austin said. “So, we’ll continue to work with him to get him to where he needs to be. I think he’s still in a position where he brings good value to the team. But is he the 4th CB or the 5th CB and special teams guy? We don’t know that yet. We’ll work to find that out.”
But in his place, Luq Barcoo has started to gain some momentum. The XFL signee has made a number of plays on the football, and each time he comes onto the field, Barcoo gives the Steelers his best look each and every day. Barcoo’s ball-hawking skills and willingness to get dirty in the run game are traits that the Steelers look for in their cornerbacks.
Barcoo brings a sense of urgency and competition to the room every day that most guys simply do not as a result of carrying those traits. It is like he senses there is an opportunity. So, I wanted to give a shoutout to Barcoo. He drew a number of different guys but made plays on the ball, nabbing three pass breakups in the one-on-one period on Wednesday. Barcoo, with some strong showings in preseason games, could begin to make a roster push. That carries on Saturday against the Bills. Though, for right now, he is in the practice squad after coming out of the XFL. And that readiness out of the XFL is something that the Steelers embrace.