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Steelers All 90: CB Justin Layne



Steelers CB Justin Layne

All 90 is a Pittsburgh Steelers Now series profiling each of the 90 members of the Steelers 2021 offseason roster.

31 • Justin Layne, third-year cornerback
6-foot-2, 192 pounds

Acquired: Drafted with the No. 83 overall selection in the third round of the 2019 NFL Draft.

Last season: Played all 16 games for the first time in his NFL career, and served as the Steelers’ fourth option at outside cornerback, but he lost playing time to rookie James Pierre down the stretch run of the season. Layne finished with 22 total tackles.

Career: Layne played sparingly in 10 games as a rookie in 2019, making three tackles.

College: Made 26 starts in 34 games over three seasons at Michigan State after starting out as a wide receiver. Layne was a two-time All-Big Ten selection and ended his Spartans career with 79 tackles, 24 passes defended and three interceptions.

Camp outlook: The loss of starting cornerback Steven Nelson on a salary cap-related release opened a big hole at cornerback for the Steelers, and Layne’s draft position would imply that he should be in a for a big part of that role in his third season.

But Cam Sutton got the first crack at the outside corner reps available in 2020 and will do so once again in 2021, leaving most of the available playing time inside, where Layne has little experience.

It’s not even a sure thing that Layne will be the No. 3 outside corner, as Pierre got most of his experience there as a rookie last season and played ahead of Layne in the postseason.

Layne also found himself in legal hot water this offseason, when he pled guilty on an illegal gun possession charge.

Future: Layne has two seasons remaining on his rookie contract and will become an unrestricted free agent in 2023.

The rest of the 90: