Patrick Peterson isn't enough reason to stop mocking cornerbacks to the Steelers

Steelers, Patrick Peterson
Steelers, Patrick Peterson / Quinn Harris/GettyImages

Less than two hours into the legal tampering period, we received news that Cameron Sutton would no longer be a member of the Pittsburgh Steelers moving forward. The 28-year-old cornerback inked a three-year, $33 million deal with the Detroit Lions as he became the first free agent snatched from Pittsburgh in 2023.

Though nobody considered Sutton an elite cornerback, he proved to be an excellent former third-round pick by the Steelers back in 2017, and his best season came in 2022 as he earned career highs in interceptions (3) and passes defended (15) while grading out as the 28th-best cornerback in the league, according to Pro Football Focus.

Sutton's consistent progress throughout his career to this point helped him earn a sizeable payday. Unfortunately, it came with another team. The good news is that it didn't take the Steelers long to replace him. Just hours after Sutton started packing his bags, Ian Rapoport of NFL Network reported that the Steelers were signing cornerback Patrick Peterson.

Regardless, it certainly seems like we better keep mocking a cornerback to Pittsburgh with the 17th overall pick in the 2023 NFL Draft.

Cornerback should still be heavily mocked to the Steelers

Patrick Peterson is still playing at a pretty high level and he's coming off a 5 interception season. But how long can we expect that to last? Peterson will be 33 years old well before the season, and there's plenty of evidence to suggest that a cornerback's shelf life is 33 years old.

Though they filled a major need in the present, they don't have a young piece to build around at the position, and it's possible that the Steelers get out of Peterson's deal next offseason.

The bad news is that, after a spectacular performance by the cornerback group at the NFL Combine, as many as four cornerbacks are routinely being mocked ahead of Pittsburgh's pick with the 17th overall selection. This means that the Steelers would be forced to dig down their list for a position of need.

Though that doesn't mean that they will take an Artie Burns-level player with their first-round pick, they could still pigeonhole themselves into taking a CB in the first round if they don't cover their bases soon.

By the looks of things, there's a good chance that cornerbacks Christian Gonzalez, Joey Porter Jr., and Devon Witherspoon are all gone by Pittsburgh's top pick. Many other mocks are now assuming that Maryland's Deonte Banks could be gone as well. This may leave South Carolina's Cam Smith as the best available option at the position.

dark. Next. Steelers 2023 mock draft before free agency

Whether you like it or not, cornerback is just as much in play for the Pittsburgh Steelers with their first-round pick as it was before. Replacing Cameron Sutton with Patrick Peterson is nice, but this is nothing more than a temporary fix. I would expect them to still look for a long-term option at the position.