All 90 is a Pittsburgh Steelers Now series profiling each of the 90 members of the Steelers 2021 offseason roster.
42 • James Pierre, second-year cornerback
6-foot-2, 185 pounds
Acquired: Signed by the Steelers as an undrafted free agent after the 2020 NFL Draft.
Last season: Pierre surprised by coming out of training camp with a roster spot, and took advantage of a special teams role, primarily as a gunner, to play in all 16 games.
He was asked to do more on defense as the season went on and filled in with Joe Haden on the COVID-19 list the final week of the regular season and in the playoffs. He finished with 10 tackles, one for a loss.
College: After transferring from Syracuse, Pierre settled in at FAU, where he was a two-year starter.
He had 55 tackles, 2.5 tackles for loss and nine passes defended as a sophomore in 2018 and 44 tackles, 4.5 tackles for loss, seven passes defended and three interceptions as a junior in 2019.
Camp outlook: Mike Tomlin said in April that if the team had to play a game at that point, Pierre would have been his starting Nickel corner.
But that was before the team added potential slot men like Shakur Brown, Arthur Maulet and Tre Norwood.
Pierre’s place on the roster seems safe, as he passed Justin Layne for playing time down the stretch last season and will likely be the team’s top backup at outside corner, but it remains to be seen how much of a role he’ll have.
Future: Pierre’s contract runs through the end of the 2022 season, after which he’ll become a restricted free agent.
The rest of the 90: