One of the Pittsburgh Steelers’ biggest weaknesses heading into the 2014 campaign lies at cornerback, where they currently have one legitimate starter and one not-so-legitimate starter. Before they get under way this fall, it would be in their best interests to make an upgrade.
During the Rant Sports 2014 NFL Mock Draft, they did exactly that.
With the No. 15 pick, the Steelers selected Oklahoma State cornerback Justin Gilbert, who many believe has the potential to develop into a shutdown cover man in the NFL. Depending on who you are, you might even see him as the best cornerback prospect of the 2014 NFL Draft.
While the Steelers fielded a strong pass defense in 2013, the presence of average starter Ike Taylor didn’t help. He was miserable in coverage, giving up over 1,000 yards and six touchdowns on the season. The other starter, William Gay, had an outstanding season, but needs a better running mate to help the Pittsburgh defense improve in 2014.
That’s where Gilbert comes in. Possessing outstanding instincts in coverage and a physical mentality that matches the Steelers’ hard-hitting defense, he seems to be a perfect fit in Pittsburgh. As long as he can continue to hone his coverage skills and make a slight attitude adjustment – Gilbert had a knack for getting into shoving matches in college – he should be able to supplant Taylor as the starter in no time.
Surrounded by veterans and playing for a storied franchise like the Steelers, Gilbert looks to have landed in an ideal situation. Learning from a legendary defensive coordinator like Dick LeBeau will also be beneficial.
The Steelers needed an upgrade at cornerback, and they got it with Gilbert.