Sunday, April 22, 2007
By Ed Bouchette, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
Ike Taylor, Ricardo Colclough and Bryant McFadden did not say as much, but they are trying to convince new coach Mike Tomlin that there's no need for him to pick Pitt's Darrelle Revis Saturday in the first round of the NFL draft.
Where would the Steelers put another good, young cornerback such as Revis when they already have Taylor, Colclough and McFadden?
"You always need good corners on your team," veteran cornerback Deshea Townsend said.
The trouble for Tomlin and the Steelers' defensive staff is they do not know how many good corners they actually have. They have poured money and high draft picks into the position the past several years, and still they don't know.
Is Taylor one of them? He certainly seemed like it in September when the Steelers bestowed a five-year, $22.5 million contract on him with a $6.4 million signing bonus. By the end of November, though, former coach Bill Cowher had benched him for poor play.
The Steelers traded away a fourth-round draft choice to move higher in the second round in 2004 to take Colclough with the 38th overall pick. He enters his fourth season, having missed much of his third with a neck injury and having played little at the position.
Then there's McFadden, a second-round choice in 2005. He started nine games last season, some for an injured Townsend and then for Taylor when he was benched. McFadden and Townsend will compete to start at right cornerback this year.
If even two of those three would play up to their potential, the Steelers could use their first-round draft choice in more needy areas than cornerback.
Tomlin has taken a keen interest in Taylor, a big, fast cornerback who was specifically assigned to cover several teams' best receivers during the Steelers' Super Bowl season of 2005.
"He has great physical talent and he has the desire to be great," said Tomlin, who has put Taylor back as the No. 1 right cornerback, at least for this minicamp. "Based on my experience with him thus far, his actions match his words in terms of being what he wants to be. All he has to do is cross the threshold of that door on a daily basis with that attitude and he has a shot."
Taylor has attended every offseason workout and has taken to his new head coach, who coached the secondary in Tampa Bay for five of the previous six seasons.
"I love him," Taylor said. "I try to talk to him every day, just to see where I'm at, just the little things I might need to work on. He's a hands-on guy. I couldn't ask for nothing better."