PITTSBURGH -- The Pittsburgh Steelers will let Antoine Brooks Jr. be the first player to start at nickelback in 2021 as they look for a full-time starter.
Head coach Mike Tomlin confirmed Brooks will get the start during the team's first preseason game. The Steelers play the Dallas Cowboys in the Hall of Fame Game on Aug. 5.
"He'll get the start in Canton," Tomlin laughed when asked how comfortable he is with the team's slot corner depth.
The Steelers don't have many options to replace Mike Hilton at the slot corner. Brooks is competing with Arthur Maulet, Tre Norwood and a handful of undrafted rookies for the starting job.
Brooks is the team's sixth-round pick in 2020. Last season, he played just 29 defensive snaps and appeared in only four regular season games.
The second-year defensive back did intercept quarterback Ben Roethlisberger during the team's first training camp practice. Afterward, Roethlisberger went up to Brooks to compliment him on the play.
"I thought he made a great play," Roethlisberger said. "It was one of the sneakiest slingshots I've ever seen. My angle was perfect to see it.
"I mentioned it to him. I said, 'That was the best slingshot I've ever seen by a DB.' He kind of chuckled and said, thanks."
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