So far, it has been one heck of an offseason for general manager Omar Khan and his Pittsburgh Steelers.
In recent memory, I cannot remember a time when the team did such an incredible job addressing so many issues while acquiring high-quality talent. As it stands, this team has very few weak areas, which can only mean great things for them this season.
For this discourse, however, I want to focus on the one position fans continuously scrutinize, which is the cornerback position. In the last few seasons, the team has done a decent job either signing or drafting talent at this position. Unfortunately, the last three seasons have seen the team lose reliable playmakers to either free agency or, in the case of veteran Joe Haden, retirement.
This offseason, the Steelers lost a player who I believe was the best drafted cornerback of the Mike Tomlin era, Cameron Sutton. To compensate, the Steelers signed veteran and future Hall of Fame cornerback Patrick Peterson. Alongside him, the team drafted two cornerbacks in Joey Porter Jr. and Cory Trice, while resigning James Pierre and adding quality depth in Chandon Sullivan and Madre Harper.
Yet, of all the cornerbacks currently on the roster, arguably their most valuable one is Levi Wallace. Yes, the same Levi Wallace that went undrafted out of Alabama in 2018. It also happens to be the same Levi Wallace with 61 career starts under his belt, ninth among cornerbacks and 22nd among defensive backs in the League since 2011.
If you were paying attention last season, Wallace was the team's most reliable cornerback next to Sutton. He collected four interceptions, the second-most on the team next to All-Pro Minkah Fitzpatrick. His 13 pass deflections were second on the team behind Sutton. All the while, he allowed a completion percentage of just 53.2% and a passer ratio of just 73.0. Yes, fans, Wallace was not just good last season; he was quietly elite.
What makes Wallace so valuable, aside from his production, is his versatility. He is one of the few cornerbacks on the roster that can lock down receivers either in the slot or on the outside. At the same time, he is not afraid of supporting the run; he had 48 total tackles last season while only missing four. The value he brings to the team outweighs the contract he signed, which is why they need to keep him as long as they can.
Is he flashy? No. Does he have a "wow" factor to his game? No. All he does is quietly go about his business and produce at a high level. Quite frankly, I would not want it any other way.