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The Youth Movement Within The Steelers Secondary Has Arrived

The release of veteran cornerback Patrick Peterson yesterday, all but confirmed that the Pittsburgh Steelers are looking to get younger and faster in their secondary.

Last season, the Steelers defense finished in the top 10 in total points allowed with 312. This noted, they also finished 16th in passing yards allowed per game with 224.9, according to Even while the data might not suggest an issue in this area, quicker receivers frequently revealed the secondary. In Peterson's instance, he was frequently a liability in man-press coverage due to his inability to keep up with these receivers.

With Peterson no longer on the roster, the team should build around second-year cornerback Joey Porter Jr. Last season, Porter Jr. was the team's most proficient player in coverage and one of their most valuable defenders overall. What should not be ignored are the two other promising cornerbacks on their roster, Darius Rush and Cory Trice Jr. This trio has plenty in common when it comes to size (over 6'2) and length, and each have the ability to play both zone and man schemes.

The Steelers may potentially choose to select a different cornerback from the strong 2024 draft class, which features players like Quinyon Mitchell, who is widely considered to be the best in the class. The team spoke formally with Iowa standout Cooper Dejean during this year's NFL Combine; his agility and positional versatility would make him an immediate asset. They might have access to Notre Dame's Cam Hart if they want to hold out until the latter rounds. His 6'2" frame and strong press coverage technique might be ideal for Teryl Austin's defense.

By all appearances, the secondary is seemingly transitioning into a unit that is built on size, speed, and youth. Though there could be some growing pains involved, it still bodes well for the future of a unit that has the potential to be great.

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