Joe Haden: Cam Sutton Going to Strive in Difficult Role of Replacing Two Starters

Joe Haden wants nothing to do with the slot, but fully believes Cam Sutton can play both.
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PITTSBURGH -- Don't tell Pittsburgh Steelers cornerback Joe Haden that he's playing the slot. The 32-year-old made it very clear he wants nothing to do with it. 

"I don't want no parts of the slot," Haden laughed. "But Cam [Sutton] is able to play both at such a high level. ... He's a Swiss Army Knife. He can do a little bit of everything. But I think he's going to be able to strive on the outside also."

Haden spoke with media prior to Wednesday's minicamp practice and explained just how difficult it is to move from the outside to the inside when playing cornerback. 

"I had to do it a little when I was a rookie, my first two years in the league," Haden said. "It's a different ball game on the inside. Those are little slot receivers, the route trees are totally different, it's a whole lot of different timing and stuff like that.

"The studying. It's more hard when you're playing the nickelback position," he continued. "We have a lot of defense, and on the outside corner, it's a lot more basic. On the inside, you're determining when you're motioning, when you're going over. It's so many different calls. When you're blitzing. It's a lot."

The Steelers are still adjusting to life with their new secondary. This offseason, Pittsburgh said goodbye to Mike Hilton and Steven Nelson, leaving Sutton and a group of younger outside and inside players to take over. 

"It comes to guys stepping up," Haden said on keeping the secondary competitive. "It's going to make a lot of opportunities for dudes like Antoine Brooks, for Justin Layne, for James Pierre. These dudes are going to have big opportunities to step in there and make significant jumps in their careers."

The most significant of any jump will be Sutton. The fifth-year corner signed a two-year, $9 million deal with the Steelers this offseason, returning as the expected starter opposite of Haden. 

Sutton will likely move around, though. Without a solidified slot corner, Sutton remains the best option for the Steelers on both the outside and inside. 

"With Cam Sutton, that's what he does," Haden said. "He's a great inside and outside guy. Like Steve Nelson. I'm more of an outside guy. Those dudes can hold that nickel spot down."

But while the Steelers continue to solve their depth concerns at corner, Haden has full confidence Sutton is the guy for the job - at both positions.

"He was going to be a starter on a lot of NFL teams," Haden said. "It was really good to get to keep him. He's going to be a solid corner - starter in the league."

Noah Strackbein is a Publisher with AllSteelers. Follow Noah on Twitter @NoahStrack, and AllSteelers @si_steelers.

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