Pittsburgh Steelers Free Agency: Is Keenan Lewis the Answer at Corner?

Joseph BrunoCorrespondent IMay 5, 2011

DENVER - AUGUST 29:  Head coach Mike Tomlin of the Pittsburgh Steelers has something to say to cornerback Keenan Lewis #23 after he was called for a personal foul as he tackled Brandon Lloyd of the Denver Broncos during preseason NFL action at INVESCO Field at Mile High on August 29, 2010 in Denver, Colorado.  (Photo by Doug Pensinger/Getty Images)
Doug Pensinger/Getty Images

Since the Pittsburgh Steelers just selected two cornerbacks in the 2011 NFL Draft, some think the team will not bring back Ike Taylor.

Personally, I am still hopeful the Steelers can re-sign Ike, who I'm hoping doesn't request a contract the team cannot afford.

Ike Taylor has been the Steelers' best corner since he became a full time starter, even if he has never caught more than three interceptions in a single season.

He has blazing speed, and is one of the best cover corners in the NFL. If only he had a pair of hands, he would be in the Pro Bowl every year and considered up there with the best in the league.

As it stands, Ike Taylor is a free agent and the Steelers have not been able to negotiate with him at all due to the NFL's current labor situation.

This, along with the Steelers' draft, has led people to believe that it is more likely for Ike not to return to the team in 2011.

Most think if that would happen and they actually lose Ike Taylor, the team would go out and get a starter in free agency such as Carlos Rogers or Johnathan Joseph.

Rather than overreact to losing Taylor and giving a big contract to someone who is just as good or not as good as Ike, I think the Steelers would actually surprise some people and stay in house.

I’m not saying they would not sign any free agent corner at all, however, if they lost Ike Taylor I really think they would consider having Keenan Lewis start in 2011 opposite Bryant McFadden.

Unfortunately that would probably mean they would re-sign William Gay just to have another guy who was familiar with the system on the team, though I think the Steelers have learned their lesson about having Gay be the starting corner.

Having Keenan Lewis start may sound like a stupid idea to some Steelers fans, however, just think, this is actually what the team does with its corners.

The team was comfortable enough with William Gay to let Bryant McFadden leave in free agency in 2009 in only his third season, and Ike Taylor, he became a full time starter in his third season.

Now Lewis is entering his third season, and after not contributing much in his first two years and seemingly always being in Mike Tomlin’s doghouse, this should be the year he gets his shot to finally show if he has developed at all.

Even if the team re-signs Ike Taylor, I think Keenan Lewis will be given a legitimate shot to unseat Bryant McFadden as starter. I have faith that he could at least be a factor in the third corner spot on the team if anything.

If Keenan Lewis cannot show he has at least taken a step in the right direction in 2011 and is beatten out by Curtis Brown, Crezdon Butler or even William Gay, I think he will either be tried out at safety, or this could be his last season with the Steelers.

I want Ike Taylor back, however I think Lewis can step up. I am rooting for him to step up this season and show us all he is still the future at corner for the Steelers.