3 things to watch for during Steelers vs. Cowboys Hall of Fame Game

Members of the Pittsburgh Steelers defense (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)
Members of the Pittsburgh Steelers defense (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images) /
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Pittsburgh Steelers cornerback Justin Layne (31). Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports /

Pecking order for Steelers young cornerbacks

The third thing I am most interested in seeing tonight is the pecking order among Steelers cornerbacks and how they will perform against the Dallas Cowboys. Based on the initial depth chart and what I’ve witnessed so far at training camp, James Pierre will likely be the primary outside cornerback getting some looks with the starters, while Antoine Brooks is expected to get work in nickel packages.

If Joe Haden doesn’t suit up tonight (which seems likely), then there is a chance Pierre could get the start. However, it’s worth noting that Justin Layne has played almost solely at left cornerback during training camp and is listed as the top backup behind Joe Haden. Whereas James Pierre is listed as the right cornerback and the backup to Cameron Sutton. Both players are expected to earn a good deal of snaps tonight.

How these players perform could help dictate how the Steelers decide to use them in 2021. Will they be more confident in having Pierre or Brooks on the field? Will Layne do enough to throw his name back in the running as a potential player they can count on this year? Will they deploy a combination of these three in certain packages?

It will also be interesting to see how the rest of the group shapes up, as undrafted rookies like Mark Gilbert and Shakur Brown will attempt to throw their hat in the ring. Meanwhile, Arthur Maulet appears to be battling Brooks for a role as the primary nickel defender. Keep an eye on these performances tonight.

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These young players have a lot to prove at all three of these positional groups. It will be interesting to see how they perform in the NFL action of the season (for some, the first NFL action of their careers). Keep a watchful eye on these players during the Hall of Fame Game tonight.