The Pittsburgh Steelers just finished a disappointing 8-8 season and missed out on the playoffs for a second straight year. Though the team ended the 2013 strong by winning six of their final eight games, missing the playoffs still makes it an unsatisfactory season. The offense got most of the headlines due to the perceived feud between Ben Roethlisberger and offensive coordinator Todd Haley however; the defense has become the real problem.
The Steelers’ pass defense has gone downhill lately for a number of reasons. The pass rush has become almost non-existent which has put a lot of stress on the secondary. Regardless though, the cornerback position has not played up to expectations.
Ike Taylor isn’t getting any younger and his play has dipped considerably the past two seasons. Does it bother anyone else too that every time Ike gets burned he talks trash to the receiver? Seriously why not actually catch an interception Ike instead of getting in the face of the receiver you just let do whatever he wanted on the field. Taylor will most likely be asked to take a pay cut this offseason and could even become a cap casualty because of his high salary. Ike also told Will Graves of the Associated Press in Pittsburgh, via twitter, that there have at least been talks about the veteran moving to safety.
Ike Taylor says there's been talk about him moving to safety down the road. "A little bit. A liiiiitle bit"
— Will Graves (@WillGravesAP) December 29, 2013
If the team did in fact move Taylor to safety, that would leave Cortez Allen and William Gay as the starters. Gay had a really good 2013 season in his return to the Steelers but how long can he keep up that kind of play? Cortez Allen was seen by many as a future star on defense after a strong finish last season and he definitely failed to meet expectations this year. Allen obviously still has the talent though and I still believe he’ll develop into a solid starter for the Steelers.
Once you get past the trio of Taylor, Gay and Allen though, there is absolutely nothing on the roster. I like Isaiah Green but is he ever going to develop into anything? Antwon Blake is only on the team and will only be on the team in the future for his play on special teams.
The Steelers need to start developing some talent at the cornerback position. Imagine if they didn’t allow Keenan Lewis to walk last offseason. Right now they would be able to move Taylor to safety while still having a trio of Lewis, Allen and Gay at corner. Now all we have is an aging Taylor, inconsistent Gay, and underperforming Allen.
Cornerback is on the list of positions that the Steelers could decide to take in the first round of the 2014 draft. Obviously, it’s still way too early to really pinpoint the teams direction in the draft but at this point it’s as good a spot as any to go.
Right now the two guys I like in the draft are Oklahoma states’ Justin Gilbert and Oregon’s Ifo Ekpre-Olomu.
Even if the Steelers do not decide to go corner in the first round I would think they would address the position within the first three rounds of the draft. Either way though, the team needs to figure out what is going on with the cornerback position.