Steelers should exploit former player and new Ravens CB this year

Steelers, Arthur Maulet
Steelers, Arthur Maulet / Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports

I love it when opponents think they just gained an advantage by poaching a former Pittsburgh Steelers player. At times this is exactly what happens. Losing Mike Hilton during the 2021 offseason proved to be a double blow, as he the quality nickel cornerback joined the Cincinnati Bengals. However, fans won't be sweating over Arthur Maulet joining the Baltimore Ravens this year.

According to Jeremy Fowler of ESPN, the Ravens have signed the veteran cornerback to a one-year deal. Maulet had spent the past two seasons as the nickel CB in Pittsburgh. Prior to that, he played four years with the New York Jets.

Little does Baltimore know that this is one signing that will have Steelers fans excited.

Apparently, the Ravens didn't watch enough tape on Maulet over the past several seasons. While known for his tackling and ability to support the run, Maulet has been abysmal in pass coverage for most of his career. This really hurt the Steelers at times. Now it's time for a little payback.

Steelers must exploit Arthur Maulet when they play the Ravens

Forget running the football into Baltimore's front seven. I've got a better idea: let's target Arthur Maulet early and often. This will give Kenny Pickett all the confidence he needs.

In 2021, Maulet surrendered a dismal 10.1 yards per target in coverage for a passer rating of 119.0, via Pro Football Reference. Last year was a slight improvement -- allowing a passer rating of 105.5 -- but he still gave up 3 touchdowns and 14.5 yards per completion.

Quite frankly, Maulet has been one of the worst nickel cornerbacks in the NFL when it comes to coverage. According to Pro Football Focus, Maulet ranked 90th out of 118 qualifying cornerbacks in 2022, and his coverage grade of 55.1 was good for just 96th in the league.

If the Ravens are indeed signing the veteran cornerback, we can assume that he's going to have a role in the slot on defense. Baltimore signed Rock Ya-Sin this offseason and they have one of the better corners in the game on the outside in Marlon Humphrey. Outside of that, Brandon Stephens was a disaster last year, while no other CB on the team looked promising.

Baltimore isn't signing a 30-year-old cornerback like Arthur Maulet to play special teams. He would be the projected nickel and sub-package CB in 2023. This is excellent news for the Pittsburgh Steelers (who by now should know his every weakness).

Despite significant usage from the slot over the past two seasons, Maulet remains a liability in coverage. He's now a player that the Steelers will be able to exploit early and often. Now that this deal is official, be sure to send a thank you card to the Baltimore Ravens.