The Pittsburgh Steelers had several glaring weaknesses in the 2010 NFL season. While the offensive line is the primary position on everyone’s mind this off-season, cornerback is certainly not far behind.
The Steelers had the 12th ranked pass defense in the NFL last season. While Ike Taylor was solid for the most part he was alone in that regard. After sending a fifth round draft pick to Arizona to bring home their prodigal son, Bryant McFadden proved to be a shell of his former self, and disappointed the organization and fans alike in the process.
William Gay gave little indication that he will ever be more than a nickel/dime back in the NFL, and a mediocre one at that. While the fact that Gay was a part of several big plays during Pittsburgh’s playoff run is still fresh in everyone’s mind, let’s not forget the fact that his inability to cover the slot receiver all season was one of the biggest defensive issues the team had.
High hopes were placed on second year players Keenan Lewis and Joe Burnett coming into the season, but neither rose to the occasion. Lewis will have another opportunity this season to have a larger role in the defense, but the ship has all but sailed regarding these two players.
All this being said, opponents found the formula for beating the Pittsburgh Steelers last season, and the Green Bay Packers blew the lid off that can by using the second half of the Super Bowl as an exclamation point. It’s a simple formula really…spread them out and pass, pass, pass.
If the Steelers are going to defend their AFC title in 2011, the secondary will have to be addressed. While they are the least likely suitor for a high caliber free agent like Nnamdi Asomugha, the draft has several players slated to go in the first two rounds that would be an instant upgrade for the Steelers’ pass defense.
Here are the top five corners most likely to be available for the Steelers in rounds one and two come April.