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2011 NFL Draft: How Badly Do Steelers Need A Cornerback?

James Walker of ESPN.com suggests that the Steelers’ need for a cornerback in the upcoming 2011 NFL Draft is particularly intense because, well, a team needs lots of them, and behind Ike Taylor, the Steelers are incredibly shallow at corner:

According to ESPN’s Stats and Information, NFL offenses are increasingly using three or more receivers, which dictates personnel on defense. In 2010 teams lined up three or more receivers on offense 48.2 percent of the time, up from 46.1 percent in 2009 and 45.7 percent in 2008 …

The Green Bay Packers, who run a West Coast offense, won Super Bowl XLV in February primarily by utilizing multiple-receiver sets to take advantage of Pittsburgh’s lack of secondary depth. Passing teams like the New Orleans Saints and New England Patriots also were able to expose this weakness last season.

Well, right. The Packers repeatedly targeted weak spots in the Steelers secondary in the Super Bowl. And as Walker points out, backup cornerbacks like William Gay and Anthony Madison can’t really get the job done for the Steelers. Heck, starting corner Bryant McFadden hasn’t really gotten the job done. There’s no doubt the offensive and defensive lines will be priorities for the Steelers in the upcoming draft, but cornerback is probably their greatest position of need.

Virginia’s Ras-I Dowling seems to be the name currently on everyone’s lips as a potential cornerback draft target for the Steelers.

Photographs by dizfunk used in background montage under Creative Commons. Thank you.