Steelers mock draft round 4: Beau Brade, DB, Maryland
Our first pick for the defense, and it goes to fill one particular position. The Steelers failed to field a good early-down slot cornerback this season. The days of Mike Hilton serving as a hybrid linebacker and coverage option are gone, and this defense hasn’t been the same since. They have a chance to get that player here in Beau Brade.
While listed as a safety, Brade got most of his work in school as the slot defender. He is a vicious run defender who attacks opposing offenses and fills gaps almost as well as a linebacker would. He is a very instinctive player, which aids him in projecting what the offense is trying to do. As a blitzer, Brade uses his physicality to make plays there as well.
The issue comes down to his coverage ability or lack thereof. He was known to give up the big play in college, and his ability to work well in man or zone is questionable. That said, there is room for improvement, and while he will never be a great coverage option, he could improve there over time.
With Patrick Peterson likely set to return as a hybrid slot/safety, a player like Brade could serve as the early down slot cornerback. This allows the defense to run in nickel more often which allows them to be more flexible. He ’ isn't a perfect player, but he fills a hole that is glaring on this defense.