James Pierre is working out with Minkah Fitzpatrick prior to training camp
(Screenshot of James Pierre and Minkah Fitzpatrick training together via Pierre's Twitter)
Steelers cornerback James Pierre posted a video yesterday on Twitter of him training with fellow secondary teammate Minkah Fitzpatrick. This isn't the first time that Pierre has been seen working out with Fitzpatrick, as Fitzpatrick trains at Florida Atlantic University in the offseason, and Pierre went to FAU.
Pierre made the Steelers' 53-man roster last year as an undrafted free agent, which says a lot about Pierre being that there were no OTAs, minicamp and preseason games last year due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
By the end of the 2020 season, Pierre surpassed Justin Layne on the depth chart and was getting defensive snaps, so there are some higher expectations for Pierre as he heads into Year 2.
"He is one of those second-year guys that we all have high expectations for," Mike Tomlin said of Pierre at minicamp. "I think it's reasonable when you've been around a guy that's been in the program and understands what to expect, what is needed of him physically, mentally and so forth. I think we are looking for all of those second-year players to gain experience. That guy gained a lot of experience last year. He didn't play a lot of defense, but he had a helmet every week, he was preparing every week. He was a critical component of our special teams unit and that is usually an indication that a guy is ready to proceed and advance, and I think it's reasonable to expect him to do so."
Cam Sutton will be the starting outside cornerback opposite of Joe Haden this year, but Pierre could have a role where he's the outside cornerback and the Steelers kick Sutton to the slot when they go to their sub-packages.
It should be interesting to see Pierre at training camp and in the preseason this year. He's certainly a rising player that could make an impact this season, and the Steelers need a defensive back to step up with the departures of Mike Hilton and Steven Nelson this offseason. Training with a two-time first-team All-Pro and one of the best safeties in the league should certainly help Pierre prepare for the upcoming season, as well.