Steelers draft: Breaking down the top-4 cornerback options in the NFL Draft
The Steelers will be left with many positions in need of help after the 2021 season, and cornerback is a strong position in the NFL Draft.
The Steelers will be desperate for a cornerback in the 2022 season whether Joe Haden leaves or not. It’s been shown numerous times that James Pierre cannot keep up with NFL receivers at this part in his career and Justin Layne has rarely seen any playing time on the defense this season.
Cam Sutton can’t play cornerback alone as he would be our best corner remaining if Haden leaves. This cornerback class has talent that is projected to fulfill 3-4 rounds of this year’s draft, hopefully, the Steelers use a pick on one of these players.
CB Kaiir Elam
Kaiir Elam is a 6′ 2″ cornerback from Florida who is projected in the later part of the 1st round and into the early 2nd. His physical traits remind me a lot of Patrick Surtain II, they are both very tall for the cornerback position and are skinny. Elam’s strong suit comes when he is playing zone or press coverage. His ball skills and length shine when he attacks the ball in zone coverages and he plays aggressively compared to how he plays in man coverage.
Kaiir plays well in man coverage when he has the opportunity to get his hands on any receiver he is facing, jamming them at the line of scrimmage. He plays with speed and quickness but has trouble with quicker receivers.
The Steelers could benefit from drafting him even if it’s not to be a coverage player. Joe Marino of The Draft Network stated in his scouting report of Kaiir that he has progressed in the run defending area of his game and he thinks this is his best area of improvement. Joe continues to say that he just needs to be more consistent but he likes the way he plays off contact.
Kaiir Elam could very well end up in Pittsburgh just like many other players, but I would be interested to see how the Steelers would determine the best use of him if they would use him in other areas aside from coverage.