Posted Apr 4th 2007 11:14PM by JJ Cooper
As part of their continuing series analyzing every NFL team's draft needs, ESPN.com has posted their look at the Steelers. As they see it, this has been a tumultuous offseason for the Steelers (True), and Mike Tomlin will have to prove that he can live up to Bill Cowher's legacy (True). Jeremy Green also writes that the Steelers are still a team that could contend for division titles and even more this upcoming season, as the majority of the Super Bowl champions from 2005 are still here (True).
But the one place where I can't agree with Green's story or Mel Kiper's thoughts on the video that accompanies the report is that the Steelers' top need might be cornerback. Kiper has the Steelers taking Pittsburgh cornerback Darrell Revis, who would likely work his way into the starting lineup before too long.
But while the secondary struggled last season, it's hard for me to see cornerback as one of the Steelers' biggest needs. It all comes down to Ike Taylor. If he returns to the form he showed two seasons ago, everything's fine at CB--Taylor works as the No. 1, Bryant McFadden is a solid No. 2, Deshea Townsend still has enough to be a good No. 3 corner, and if healthy Ricardo Coclough is a much better No. 4 cornerback than he is a punt returner.
Now admittedly Taylor didn't live up to that role last year, but he wasn't that bad--he seemed more to be a scapegoat Cowher pointed at to signify the defense's larger problems. If he can get some of his confidence back and fix a couple of bad habits mechanically, he still has a chance to be a Pro Bowl cornerback in the future. And the Steelers need him to return to form--Taylor still has four years left on a deal that carries a cap number of $5 million and up for the rest of the deal.
So in my mind, it doesn't make a lot of sense to spend a first-rounder on a cornerback, especially when there is plenty of depth at the position and quality corners can be found in later rounds.