SteelerNation.com

Steelers Rookie Justin Layne Making an Instant Impact

By Jared Villani
SteelerNation.com

Pittsburgh may have found a diamond in the rough with third-round pick Justin Layne, and it looks as though he could be making early contributions to a talented, revamped Pittsburgh Steelers defense. After trading up to draft Devin Bush as well as signing Mark Barron and Steven Nelson, it became obvious the Steelers organization was making a serious move to address their defensive needs.

While the offense has been in the elite category for numerous years now, the defense has had difficulties holding up their end of the bargain. The absence of Ryan Shazier certainly has not helped, but as the 2019 season approaches, there is a lot to look forward to with their offseason additions.

Considering the cornerback position has left a lot to be desired outside of Joe Haden, the addition of Justin Layne appears to have all the makings of a shutdown corner. The Steelers are far removed from their terrifying ’08-’09 defense, but they are making steps in the right direction to get back to the glory days. Just as William Gay and Ike Taylor would dominate opposing wide receivers in their heyday, Layne will look to bring forth his lockdown ability to the professional level.

Layne’s draft price may have been seemingly low for the Steelers, but his value is becoming increasingly high and this pick could prove to be a tremendous difference-maker for Pittsburgh. The former Michigan State Spartan ran a 4.5 40-yard dash in the combine and in his final college season, Layne posted a 22.4 percent completion rate and broke up 15 passes. Layne will likely not be on the field quite as much as he’d like to be to start the season off, but he’ll undoubtedly make the most of the times his name is called upon.

What are your expectations for Layne in 2019? Be sure to comment below!

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