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Steelers Like Cory Trice Jr.’s Upside, But Are Not Counting on Him



Steelers CB Cory Trice

Steelers rookie cornerback Cory Trice Jr. turned heads at OTAs last season with his impressive ball skills and athleticism. The seventh-round pick out of Purdue even got the attention of head coach Mike Tomlin, who referred to Joey Porter Jr. and Trice as the ‘Avatar cornerbacks’.

Unfortunately, Trice never got on the field in 2023 as he suffered an ACL injury in training camp and was placed on injured reserve, ending his season before it even started.

During an appearance on 93.7 The Fan on Thursday, Ray Fittpaldo of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette expressed that the Steelers are intrigued by Trice, but there’s no guarantees that he’s going to pan out to do health concerns.

“I think they are intrigued by him, but by no means are they counting on him,” Fittipaldo said. “When they drafted him, they knew the injury history. That’s why he was a guy, he was a Day 2 type of talent, but the injuries were such that you could never take him early that early in the draft. So if he comes back and he’s playing really well, then great, you have another depth corner, but they cannot go into this draft counting on Cory Trice to contend for a starting job when he’s coming off that bad injury.”

The Steelers acquired cornerback Donte Jackson in the Diontae Johnson trade package with Carolina. Jackson is expected to mostly play outside and serve as the No. 2 cornerback opposite of Joey Porter Jr. To this point, there is nothing that would indicate the opposite, but former Steelers free safety Ryan Clark believes that Jackson should at least try to play inside at slot cornerback.

“Joey Porter Jr., Young Peezy, could be a star at corner. He’s gonna travel with the No. 1, you add Donte Jackson to that,” Clark said in an appearance on the All Things Covered Podcast. “I want to see defensively if they say ‘Donte, we’re gonna move you inside as well. Let you play inside.’ Because they were searching for that person to be there.”

If Trice shows out in training camp and the preseason, the Steelers will have more options and kicking Jackson inside and having Porter and Trice as the outside corners could be a formidable personnel grouping.

Trice, 22, is a native of Hopkinsville, Kentucky. The 6-foot-3, 215 pound defensive back was a longtime Boilermaker, joining Purdue in 2018. He dealt with significant injury issues throughout his collegiate career, which likely contributed to Trice sliding down draft boards.

He played just two full seasons, 11 games in 2019 and 13 games in 2022. He had three interceptions and 35 tackles in 2021 and two interceptions and 34 tackles in 2022. Trice had eight career passes defended from 2018-21, but broke out with 21 in that area as a redshirt senior in 2022.

At the 2023 NFL Combine, Trice ran a 4.47-second 40-yard dash and had an impressive 11-foot broad jump, to go along with a 35.5-inch vertical jump.