University of Minnesota cornerback Benjamin St. Juste met with the Pittsburgh Steelers at the Senior Bowl, according to a report by Justin Melo of The Draft Network, who said St. Juste felt a “great connection” with the Steelers, San Francisco 49ers and Seattle Seahawks.
St. Juste is a big,6-foot-3, 205-pound cornerback, that specializes in man-to-man coverage, and would also be a good fit for the Steelers’ Cover-3-heavy scheme.
— Justin M (@JustinM_NFL) February 15, 2021
A native of Montreal, Quebec, St. Juste spent his first two collegiate seasons at Michigan before transferring to Minnesota in 2019. He immediately became a starter for the Golden Gophers, starting nine games as a redshirt sophomore, and five of Minnesota’s seven as a redshirt junior in 2020.
He finished his collegiate career with 62 tackles, 1.5 for a loss, and 11 passes defended, with the vast majority of those statistical contributions coming during the 2019 season.
St. Juste is largely considered to be a mid-round pick and would be a player the Steelers could hope to groom as a future starter behind Joe Haden and Steven Nelson. Justin Layne, who has served in that role for the last two seasons, was passed over for playing time in 2020 by slot man Cam Sutton and even undrafted free agent James Pierre, so Layne does not appear to be a part of the Steelers’ future plans.
The contracts of Haden and Nelson are currently set to expire after the 2021 season, so drafting an eventual replacement will certainly be on the radar for the Steelers this offseason.
Slot corners Sutton and Mike Hilton are set to become free agents this offseason and if they are unable to be retained, the slot would likely become a more pressing need. St. Juste does not project to be a quality slot option, and with just a season and a half of starting collegiate experience, also figures to be a player that will take some polishing before thrust into a major role.
The Steelers drafted a fellow Canadian in the 2020 NFL Draft, taking British Columbia native and Notre Dame wide receiver Chase Claypool in the second round.