The Pittsburgh Steelers made eight selections in the 2017 NFL Draft. How does the team’s first third-round pick, cornerback Cameron Sutton, fit in?
In four seasons at the University of Tennessee, cornerback Cam Sutton totaled 127 tackles, nine takeaways (seven interceptions, two fumble recoveries) and forced three fumbles. A broken right ankle limited the 5-11, 186-pound defender to only seven games in 2016. But the Pittsburgh Steelers obviously saw enough of the talented prospect. The franchise made him the first of their third-round picks in the 2017 NFL Draft.
Talking after the draft, Sutton was quite humbled by Pittsburgh’s show of faith in him, via Teresa Varley of Steelers.com. The former Volunteers corner expressed how much it meant to be joining a “historic and prestigious organization,” in addition to showing eagerness to prove himself for the black and gold under head coach Mike Tomlin.
Perhaps the number that really stands out when it comes to Sutton is the number of passes defensed. A total of 44 contests saw the former Tennessee standout knock down 30 attempts. During his sophomore season alone in 2014, he totaled 37 tackles, three interceptions and 13 passes defensed.
He figures to be an ideal addition to a Pittsburgh defensive unit that made some strides this past season but has yet to provide any solutions for some guy named Tom Brady. Sutton hopes to change that this fall. Sutton had this to say per Varley of Steelers.com:
I’m a guy who’s about his business and just ready to get to work. Like I said, the opportunity that they’ve given me, I’m definitely going to make the most of every opportunity that they give me out there on the field and take advantage of that and hopefully I will be here for my whole career.
If Sutton can help the Pittsburgh Steelers cure their pass-coverage woes, it would be a big step towards this team getting back to a Super Bowl for the first time since 2010. It hasn’t been for a lack of trying. Last season, the defending AFC North champions benefitted slowly but surely from a pair of rookies, cornerback Artie Burns and strong safety Sean Davis.
But be it a lack of talent or scheme (or both), this has been an issues for any number of years. And while the offense remains one of the best in the league, the shortcomings in terms of pass defense are holding this club back in terms of overall success. If Sutton can help in that area, it’ll go a long way to improving the team’s overall chances.