There was the usual pre-draft “brain surgeons” analysis in regards to the 2016 NFL draft that began on April 28 and concluded on April 30.
I pointed out many moons ago that it was my opinion that choosing a pure cornerback, not a hybrid defensive back but a pure corner was a no brainer because it was usually the Steelers secondary that was questioned and scrutinized after a close and last minute Steelers loss.
In this year’s draft Pittsburgh selected Artie Burns, a cornerback out of Miami (Fla.). Burns was only the sixth corner drafted by the team since 2006, (in any round) and was the first corner drafted in the first round by the Black and Gold since cornerback Chad Scott was chosen in the 1997 draft, a mere nineteen years ago. I wonder why that is?
Well back in the day, Pittsburgh usually had a vicious front seven, a “steel” blanket if you will. Except for the past five or possibly six seasons, running the ball against Casey “big snack” Hampton, Aaron Smith, Brett Keisel and the rest of the Big Nasty “D” was most of the time, pointless. The Steelers defensive line never gave an opposing QB ample time to sit back and play “pitch and catch,” even if “Willy Wonka” was playing corner.
It was virtually impossible to whistle Dixie against the Steelers looking for 2nd and 3rd “reads” especially if a quarterback was trying to read defenses while lying on his back or running for his life. Pittsburgh also believed in a time of possession offense that allowed the Steelers “torturers” on defense to get ample rest while waiting on the next series to harass the opposing offense. From 1995-2005, relentless was the adjective of the decade that described the Pittsburgh Steelers pass rush. However free agency, candy coated defensive schemes, a diluted draft pool and rule changes to assist the offense, left cornerbacks all across the NFL in shall we say: “a vulnerable position.”