It wasn't surprising to see Omar Khan sign a pair of defensive backs following the disheartening news that the Pittsburgh Steelers have lost Cory Trice Jr. for the season. During the first padded practice of Steelers training camp, Trice went down with a non-contact injury to his right knee. In his absence, Pittsburgh brought in two defensive backs: Trenton Thompson and Isaiah Dunn.
Thompson is a former safety from San Diego State who played six years of college ball before spending some time with the New York Giants. However, Thompson isn't much of an athlete and he has dressed for just one game so far in his NFL career. The more interesting signing of the two is Isaiah Dunn.
Dunn entered the league as an undrafted free agent following the 2020 NFL Draft. He played all four college seasons at Oregon State; however, he only played more than 7 games in a season once as injuries plagued him. Despite his inability to see the field, Dunn is an intriguing player.
Over the past two seasons, Dunn spent time with the Jets and Seahawks in which he combined to play in 17 games -- logging 114 defensive snaps and 167 special teams snaps, per Pro Football Reference. This is a relatively small sample size, but it's possible he could find a way to stick around on the Pittsburgh Steelers.
What Isaiah Dunn brings to the Steelers
The first thing to note about Dunn's game is his versatility. Even throughout his college days, Dunn was listed as a cornerback/defensive back. At 5'11 3/8'' with 32'' arms, Dunn has good enough size to play on the outside, but a skill set ideally suited for kicking inside and covering the slot. Thanks to his position flexibility, he's a player we could see line up all over the secondary in Pittsburgh if they choose to do so.
The next thing that stands out about Dunn is his speed and quickness. At his Oregon State Pro Day, Dunn clocked a 4.38 40-yard dash and showed good explosion with a 10'7'' broad jump. This helped him test as an 89th-percentile athlete among all NFL cornerbacks, according to his Relative Athletic Score.
From a size and athletic standpoint, some of the most comparable players to Isaiah Dunn include Devin McCourty, Darius Slay, and D.J. Hayden, per Mockdraftable's database. This is quality company to be in when it comes to physical traits (though putting it all together is a different matter).
It's important to temper expectations for Isaiah Dunn for the time being. After not logging any defensive snaps last season, the athletic defensive back still has plenty to prove. It will be interesting to see where he lines up for the Steelers, but his versatility in the secondary could be an asset.