4 reasons CB Asante Samuel Jr. could be Steelers pick at 24 in NFL Draft
By Tommy Jaggi
Samuel fills a big position of need
While it’s true that the Steelers statistically had the worst running game in the league last year and they recently lost James Conner to the Arizona Cardinals, cornerback almost seems like a comparably big need to running back. Though Pittsburgh was able to retain sub-package cornerback, Cameron Sutton, on a reasonable two-year contract extension, both Steven Nelson and Mike Hilton are no longer with the team, and their once strong secondary could prove to be a weak spot on their defense this year.
The Steelers haven’t been great when it comes to drafting cornerbacks early. They missed on both Artie Burns and Senquez Golson over the past five years. To be fair, Pittsburgh has only spent 1 first-round pick on a cornerback over the past 23 years – which certainly could contribute to why they have trouble finding talent at this position.
The 2021 draft class is knowingly strong at cornerback, and while Asante Samuel Jr. may be a bit undersized, he’s a significantly better prospect than Artie Burns coming out of college. Cornerback is considered by most to be one of the most important positions in football – especially in today’s heavy passing league. The Steelers could more or less slide Samuel into a starting role from the gate and he could end up being an improvement over what they had last year.