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A Steelers Overload at Cornerback Might be a Good Problem to Have in 2022

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A Steelers Overload at Cornerback Might be a Good Problem to Have in 2022

What was once a weakness for the Pittsburgh Steelers organization, has turned into something of a strength over these past few seasons. With the help of some off-season additions at the cornerback position, the Steelers’ secondary has seemingly had a complete makeover from what it once was just a few short years ago. It is now an element of the Steelers’ defense that other opposing offenses should fear. Obviously, the addition of All-Pro safety, Minkah Fitzpatrick back in 2019 can be looked at as the turning point for this secondary as the Steelers organization has made improving their secondary positions the forefront of their off-season plans over the last few years.

This upcoming season is no different as the team addressed the cornerback position during this off-season’s free agency process. Not only did the team re-sign Ahkello Witherspoon (who was recently listed as a “Best Kept Secret” by Bleacher Report) to a two-year $8 million dollar contract extension back in March, but they countered that signing by bringing in former Buffalo Bills cornerback, Levi Wallace to a two-year contract as well. Throughout their respective careers, these two cornerbacks have combined for 13 total interceptions and 351 combined tackles. Although Wallace has yet to lace his cleats up with the black and gold, SteelerNation was able to get a glimpse of what Witherspoon could bring to this defense, after intercepting three passes down the stretch in his first season with the Steelers in 2021.

Steelers cornerback Ahkello Witherspoon

Pittsburgh Steelers cornerback, Ahkello Witherspoon (25) warms up pregame at Heinz Field. | Twitter: @JSKO_PHOTO

The Steelers have understood the importance of the CB position

The Steelers must have felt a sense or urgency to upgrade the secondary, not only to counter a top five defensive front in the NFL, but also due to the Steelers letting 3x Pro Bowl cornerback, Joe Haden search for a new team after choosing to not re-sign the 33 year old.

Replacing Haden’s production won’t be something that comes easy. In five seasons in Pittsburgh, he recorded 10 interceptions, 54 passes defended, 3 forced fumbles and combined for 238 total tackles. He certainly made his presence known and was a vital part in our defense’s success ever since he first signed back in 2017. The Steelers can only hope that they get the same type of production out of Witherspoon and Wallace as they will now hold the reins as the presumed starting outside corners.

On the inside, playing in between these two mentioned above, will presumably be starter of the previous season, Cam Sutton. Sutton is entering his final season under contract after signing a two-year extension back in 2021 and will look to garner another fresh contract next off-season. The Steelers organization showed confidence in Sutton’s potential after choosing to re-sign his talents over the likes of Mike Hilton back in 2021. In what was his first year as a starter, Sutton intercepted 2 passes, had 6 pass deflections and combined for 52 tackles. While these numbers aren’t going to compete with the top tier, in my opinion, they were exactly what the Steelers were expecting. Sutton’s strength is as a slot corner, and he will be able to showcase that more this season than any.

The Steelers secondary has playmakers all over it. There are three legitimate NFL starters that are placed 1-3 on our depth chart, and that is not something this team takes for granted. The Steelers are returning two highly productive starters from last season and pairing them with a ballhawk (Wallace) who has recorded 2 interceptions in 3 out of his last 4 seasons. The organization has been in search of the “perfect” secondary lineup that will pair extremely well with arguably the best defensive line in football, and they just might have found that this year.

 

Will the Steelers’ upgrades at corner be enough to help this secondary? Comment below!

#SteelerNation

I'm a 25 year old die-hard Pittsburgh Steelers fan from upstate NY. I can safely say that I have not missed a single Steelers game over the last 16 years. Always thankful to my dad for raising me a fan of the black & gold. Love writing about anything Steelers related, trying to get the breaking news to the best fans in the NFL! Follow me on twitter @JonClark_7 & HERE WE GO!

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