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Cornerback James Pierre has reportedly been a standout at training camp thus far, just like last year when he made the 53-man roster as an undrafted rookie free agent out of Florida Atlantic. His two pick-sixes in each of the last two practices during "Seven Shots" have caught the attention of the media and fans. But the progress is expected with it being Year 2 for Pierre, according to Mike Tomlin.
"He has shown the characteristics of what we expect from a second-year guy," Tomlin said of Pierre after Friday's practice. "The same can be said for (Antoine) Brooks, (Anthony) McFarland, (Alex) Highsmith. I think that's why you're seeing a consistent elevation in the play of all of the guys I mentioned. We expect that. Second-year players, second lap around the track, you're supposed to display that awareness, and he's one of the guys who's doing it. First by showing up ready to go, secondly by showing maturity and growth and development in his game that should be associated with a guy that has some experience."
By the end of last season, Pierre was getting defensive snaps over Justin Layne, so he was a player that many were keeping their eye on to make a leap in 2021.
According to Nick Farabaugh of Steelers Now, Layne has "struggled badly" at training camp and he wouldn't be surprised if Pierre forces Cam Sutton inside to the nickel position when the Steelers go to their sub-packages. As Pierre is just performing so well right now that it would be a disservice to have him on the bench.