Biggest Steal of the Steelers Draft

By: Logan Leslie


With the selection of Devin Bush, Deiontae Johnson, and Benny Snell it makes this a very difficult choice but the biggest steal for the Steelers in terms of where he was drafted and talent was Justin Layne.

Layne is a cornerback out of Michigan State University who was widely expected to be an early-mid second round pick. Due to the fall of all the other top cornerbacks in the draft Layne was left for the Steelers at pick number 83. With the failed Artie Burns experiment and Joe Haden possibly heading to free agency following this season the team has secured a possible replacement to groom in a limited roll this season behind Haden, should he decide to go elsewhere.

See the scouting report on Layne below:

“Rare height for the position with plenty of room for additional muscle mass. Possesses very light feet and loose hips for an athlete of his size, showing impressive quickness and change of direction for a long, perimeter cornerback. Competitive man to man corner, demonstrating good balance, instant acceleration and sneaky hands to harass receivers as the route progresses. Experience playing receiver shows in Layne’s route awareness. Trusts his eyes and attacks downhill, showing an explosive click-and-close ability as well as the long arms and hand-eye coordination to break up passes.

Good awareness in the running game, showing competitiveness to fight through blocks on his way to the ball. Flashes physicality as a hitter, showing a reliable strike zone and generally reliable technique as a tackler, typically wrapping his arms for the quick solo stop.”

When asked if Layne will begin his career on Special Teams DC Keith Butler had this to say; “We like his length. He’s got good ball skills. And is he going to be a special teams guy? We’ll see. We’ll see when we get him out there. I think this year, everybody talks about the nickel and the dime and stuff like that I think this year you got to be aware of what offenses are doing.” Butler went on to say that they need to add to their sub packages this year to keep up with opposing plays. The Steelers were repeatedly exposed in this area last season, this came through miscommunicated substitutions and not reacting to personnel at all. Devin Bush will likely have a direct role in correcting those problems. Bush is likely going to follow in the footsteps of Shazier in 2014 and call plays as a rookie.

It will be very interesting to see where Layne ends up on the depth chart following the preseason. Butler has made it very known he sees Mike Hilton and Cameron Sutton playing more safety in the future which is why a safety was not drafted this season. However, an injury at the cornerback position is likely Layne’s best chance at consistent playtime during the upcoming season.


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