10 realistic replacements Steelers could find for CB Steven Nelson

Casey Hayward #26 of the Los Angeles Chargers. (Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images)
Casey Hayward #26 of the Los Angeles Chargers. (Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images) /
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Pittsburgh Steelers cornerback James Pierre (42). Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports /

James Pierre

In contrast to Layne, I am extremely high on the idea of James Pierre becoming a starter for the Steelers in 2021. While there is inherent risk in expecting him to start, his journey to the roster has been a huge success already. He went undrafted last year and signed with the team shortly afterward. Despite training camp being limited and there being no preseason, Pierre did enough to earn a roster spot. He looked that good in a limited camp to not get cut, which is impressive itself.

He quickly found a role on special teams as well, playing there for the majority of the season. By season’s end, it appeared as though he had jumped Layne on the depth chart. This was evident in him seeing playing time over Layne against the Browns in the playoffs. While the sample size was small, Pierre seemed to hold his own. It was telling that the Steelers opted to play him over Layne though.

Of the options on the roster, Pierre seems like the next man up. It will be up to the team to determine if they can trust him to take on the role of full-time starter in 2021 though given his limited sample size. That said, his arrow is pointing up, so at the bare minimum expect for him to see the field more than he did last year. Hop on the bandwagon now before it is too late, as Pierre has the makings of a real sleeper for the team.