Selecting cornerback in draft not set in stone for Steelers
February 19, 2015 12:00 AM
The Colts' Donte Moncrief pulls in a pass for a touchdown over Steelers CB Cortez Allen in the third quarter against the Colts Sunday afternoon, October 26, 2014, at Heinz Field.
By Gerry Dulac / Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
INDIANAPOLIS – It was one thing for general manager Kevin Colbert to acknowledge the Steelers need to get better and younger on defense. Or that Cortez Allen needs to bounce back from confidence issues and reaffirm the team’s financial investment in him.
But while stressing the need to improve in the secondary, Colbert made sure to stress that the Steelers are open to taking players at any position in the draft, not just cornerback.
“If there’s a great offensive player who can make us average 27 points instead of the 24 we averaged last year, maybe we don’t have to be as good on defense,” Colbert said. “We always want to be open to making sure we are taking good players at any position.”
On the first day of the NFL Scouting Combine at Lucas Oil Stadium, Colbert said the Steelers need “another infusion of young talent” on defense to go with inside linebacker Ryan Shazier and defensive end Stephon Tuitt, their top two picks in the 2014 draft.
And there are enough possibilities at cornerback in the draft, where Colbert said there are “NFL-caliber players that are going to be available” through the first five rounds. But he also stressed the Steelers would not draft a cornerback in the first round merely because they need help at the position.
“We know where we’re strong, we know where we need some help, we know where we need some depth,” Colbert said. “Maybe you add some guys in the back end at some point. But we won’t go into a draft looking at a specific position because, any time you do that, you tend to over-evaluate that position and that’s where mistakes are made.”
The situation with Allen, a fourth-round pick in 2011, will not affect what the Steelers do in the draft or free agency because the Steelers do not know how he will respond to being benched this past season until they get to training camp. The Steelers signed Allen to a five-year, $26 million contract extension before the season, believing he was their cornerback for the future.
Now, that future looks muddled.
“It’s up to Cortez,” Colbert said. “We’re certainly going to be there to help him find his game because, if he finds his game, he’s going to make our defense that much better. Obviously, we felt that when we invested in him.”
Gerry Dulac: firstname.lastname@example.org and Twitter @gerrydulac.
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