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Coverage Assistance Needed For the Pittsburgh Steelers Secondary

 

Pittsburgh Steelers defensive secondary

 

It’s no secret that the Pittsburgh Steelers secondary had some struggles last season.  The safely position produced zero interceptions and the play of long-time starting cornerback Ike Taylor slipped. But there is hope in this off season to improve against the pass and create more turnovers.

Looking into the cornerbacks who will be hitting the free agent market, one who stands out to many Steelers fans is Bryon Maxwell who has spent his last four seasons with the Seattle Seahawks.  Maxwell was the fourth member of the “‘Legion of Boom” defense, and has shown the ability to play press and zone coverage extremely well. At 6’1″, 207 pounds, Maxwell has the size, experience, and credentials to be the Steelers’ next number one cornerback considering the fact that Taylor may not be re-signed.

Between free agent corners Antwon Blake and Brice McCain, its likely only one will be re-signed.  Both will likely test the open market, and Blake (24) being younger then McCain (28), is very likely to receive more lucrative offers.

Draft prospects Marcus Peters  and Trae Waynes certainly will be players to watch during the draft process. Peters has great hands and zone coverage skills, but also has some question marks after being dismissed from the Washington Huskies football team. Waynes is truly a press-cover specialist.

Safety Troy Polamalu could very well retire this offseason. His replacement could come via the draft, free agency, or from within.  As of right now, the likely candidate to take his spot is third year safety Shamarko Thomas. Thomas has made splash plays, but has not been able to stay healthy and make significant contributions on defense.

A free agent to keep a close eye on is safety Marcus Gilchrist. Gilchrist has the coverage skills of a cornerback at safety, has excellent range and can be very physical at in the run game. The Steelers most likely will draft at the safety position to add depth and to push Mike Mitchell, who was a disappointment last season.  Mitchell’s return could be in question as well.

2 Comments

2 Comments

  1. DaveB.

    February 7, 2015 at 6:53 am

    Regardless of who the Steelers bring in , they are going to have to be free agent players this off season . The draft alone , is not going to solve all of their defensive problems . Typically , they build through the draft but thats not going to get it done this time . Choose wisely and be willing to open the check book .

  2. DrGeorge

    February 7, 2015 at 1:49 pm

    DaveB has it right. Blake should be resigned, but he is really a backup. The Steelers need two safeties, a corner (assuming Gay will do for another year), a DT, and an OLB. And they need starters. That can’t be done through the draft, which is not especially deep at safety or CB. Because rookies rarely perform well at CB anyway, a veteran at that position seems almost essential. Ideally, these five holes should be plugged before the draft, so the draft itself can be used to take the “best available” athlete at other positions of need, including the O-line. Conversely, the more of these five holes that remain come draft day, the more that fact will skew the Steelers’ draft strategy. The emphasis this year must be on the defense — in free agency and in the draft — for the Steelers to have any hope of consistently beating the top ten teams in the NFL in 2015.

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