If there is one thing that can be said about Pittsburgh Steelers cornerback Cam Sutton, it is that he is continuously evolving as an overall defender.
In their upset victory over the Cincinnati Bengals this past Sunday, the Steelers defense produced one of their best performances in recent memory; 22 quarterback pressures, seven sacks, five turnovers, two forced fumbles, and a blocked punt. The defensive secondary was instrumental in their success, led by safety Minkah Fitzpatrick, who was recently named AFC Defensive Player of the Week for his efforts.
What may have been lost in the discussion of top performers was the tremendous play of Sutton, who missed just one defensive snap in their overtime win. For starters, Sutton was targeted seven times and allowed only two receptions for 30 yards, according to Pro-Football Reference. In addition, the four incompletions he forced against the Bengals were twice as many as any other defender in Week 1, according to Pro Football Focus.
When we looked further into his performance, Sutton posted staggering numbers in relation to the completion percentage and passer rating allowed when he was targeted: 28.6 and 5.4. In essence, he was the very definition of a shutdown defender against the Bengals.
His development has been a testament to the hard work he has invested in the offseason with training gurus such as the "Route God" and others that have helped him improve physically and instinctively. With this in mind, Sutton has the potential to be mentioned among the top players at his position if he continues to produce at this level.
For the defense to be successful this season, Sutton's presence will be just as important as Cam Heyward's on the defensive line. While there are no guarantees he can replicate this type of performance, one can depend on him to make the types of plays to help win games.