Steelers GM Colbert has an interesting standard for evaluating cornerbacks
When breaking down each new crop of draft prospects at the cornerback position, Pittsburgh Steelers general manager Kevin Colbert starts by asking himself one simple question.
Interesting. #Steelers GM Kevin Colbert says for every cornerback under evaluation, he asks this question: "Can he cover Antonio Brown?"
— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) February 24, 2016
Of course, Colbert is forced to do a lot of guesswork here, and he’s asking a lot from these NFL hopefuls. Established NFL veterans have a tough time defending Brown — he has 152 receptions for 2,039 yards in the past 16 games where Ben Roethlisberger played at least 70 percent of the snaps.
However, defending Brown is not an impossible task. In 2015, Seattle Seahawks cornerback Richard Sherman covered Brown and held him to 51 yards in a game where Roethlisberger threw for 456. Sherman was selected in the fifth round of the 2012 NFL Draft, and there were 24 cornerbacks picked before him.
Colbert may need to alter his criteria before the upcoming draft. The Steelers allowed the 12th-most passing yards per game in 2015 and cornerback Antwon Blake — who played 82 percent of the team’s defensive snaps — allowed an opposing passer rating of 117.0, per Pro Football Focus. It might be time to invest an early draft pick at cornerback.