PITTSBURGH — This has been a Steelers draft that has maximized value on more than one front, and they did it again with their first pick in the seventh round by taking cornerback Cory Trice. So, how does this move grade out?
For one, Trice only fell largely because of medicals. He has a long history with leg injuries. In high school, he broke his ankle. Then, at Purdue, he tore his ACL and suffered a high ankle sprain while with the Boilermakers. So, now that the context is out of there, this is a home run pick. Seriously, Trice is a day-two talent on tape with his length and the ability to play at the line of scrimmage.
It is the value that really skyrockets this pick for me. Yes, they doubled down on another athletic press cornerback and that is so fascinating for a team to have. The Steelers draft gave them two 6-foot-2 or taller cornerbacks and that is just a rare thing for a team like this to have in the league right now. However, Trice brings plays to his size and that makes him the perfect player that the team wants.
He also has played safety before and it could be something that they look at with Trice throughout the process. I love his physicality in the run game and his willingness to be involved there. If you want to play in the AFC North and survive at cornerback, you better be able to play with physicality on the outside, and Trice checks that box off with flying colors.
While Porter might be clunky or have hip stiffness concerns, Trice is incredibly fluid and can play in an off-man, cover-three scheme at the NFL level. Look for the Steelers’ coaching staff to really accentuate this part of his game because he’s explosive and can break on the ball downhill in a hurry.
With the value in mind and the talent that it allows the Steelers to work with on the back end, this is about as close to a home run pick as you can get in the 7th round. Will Trice end up being anything? Maybe, maybe not, but one thing is for sure, and that is Trice has all the potential to be a high-level player. He has the makings of being a high-level special teamer if nothing else from the outset of his NFL career.