Steelers mock draft: Pittsburgh puts the focus back on the trenches
Steelers mock draft round 4 (comp.): Alonte Taylor
Cornerback, Tennessee, 6’0”, 193 lbs.
Nickle defensive backs are ridiculously undervalued in today’s NFL. A slot defender has to be good in short area man coverage, hold his own in run defense and bring the blitz. It has become a totally different job from conventional cornerback duties. Though Taylor has almost entirely, played outside his college career, he has the cover skills and combative nature to play and maybe thrive, inside.
Taylor is a four-year starter who made the switch from wide receiver to cornerback in his freshman year. He was a quarterback in high school, so he’s well versed in the receiving game from both sides of the ball. He does a very good job of reading the quarterback’s eyes.
His recovery time is quick. He aggressively goes after each ball and plays with a definite mean streak. He was rarely brought on blitzes but you can tell he’d enjoy that duty. In the videos I watched, the QB clearly did not want to throw in his direction and with Taylor’s stingy coverage it was easy to see why.
Taylor’s PFF grade was 83.2 — placing him 32nd in the nation. He was used ‘in the box’ for about 70 snaps and earned an 85.8 run defense grade. He’s the undisputed leader of Tennessee’s secondary and was SEC Football Leadership Council Vice-Chair for two years.
Taylor had 60 tackles, 1.0 for a loss, 6 pass deflections, and 2 interceptions, including a 56-yard pick-six, in 2021. He played on a number of special team units. Taylor should definitely see the field on special teams and could be broken in as a slot defender, right away, He has outside cornerback potential, down the line.