After cutting ties with cornerback Steven Nelson and losing Mike Hilton to free agency, many around the league believe the defensive backfield is the biggest weakness for the Pittsburgh Steelers. Safety Minkah Fitzpatrick appears to occupy the only position without a question mark in the secondary, as people are quick to point out Joe Haden starting to slow down due to age and Terrell Edmunds yet to truly live up to his first round price tag.
With two key pieces of the secondary gone, the Steelers again look to in-house guys to step in the necessary places. With players such as Justin Layne and James Pierre waiting on their opportunity to shine, a player many expect to take the next jump is four-year veteran Cameron Sutton.
NFL.com's Adam Rank listed Sutton as his 2021 breakout star in his recent "State of the 2021 Pittsburgh Steelers" piece:
"Sutton is expected to be a starting cornerback for Pittsburgh this season. Fulfilling an annual tradition of the Steelers, where they lose some stud and yet somehow have a more-than-capable replacement waiting in the wings," said Rank.
"Like the way they find no shortage of people to play Batman. And while I thought Hollywood could never replace Michael Keaton on this front, numerous guys have stepped up. Yes, even you, Ben Affleck. Sutton has also earned praise from Minkah Fitzpatrick, who said that in a reserve role, "Cam last year was everything for our secondary."
Those words of praise from Fitzpatrick came on Rodney Harrison's Safety Blitz video series, where Fitzpatrick appeared on earlier this June.
"Cam last year was everything for our secondary," said Fitzpatrick. "Whenever somebody went down, he stepped in. Whenever we needed somebody to move around a little, he was willing to do that. He played well, played at a high level. He was punching-out balls, he was getting turnovers, he was executing (the gameplan). He's super smart. Intelligent."
Sutton looks to be a black and gold swiss army knife, as he's proven capable of playing on either the outside or inside for the Steelers. Last season, Sutton played 53% of defensive snaps for the Steelers and played in all sixteen games.
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