Mike Tomlin on James Pierre: "I saw consistent varsity gunner play"
One of the biggest camp battles the Steelers will look for during training camp this season will be in regards to the cornerback position. After losing Steven Nelson during free agency and promoting Cam Sutton to the outside corner position the Steelers will be looking for a new slot cornerback. One of the names you should hear a lot about during camp is James Pierre who made quite a few plays for the Steelers in 2020.
Mike Tomlin on James Pierre after Mini-Camp: "I saw consistent varsity gunner play," said Tomlin. "Oftentimes when you have that level of consistency and performance in a special teams area, it's often an indication of advancement, or maturity and growth opportunity in the other phases as well. I think over the course of my time here the young guys that are consistent and perform in that area usually ascend within the offense or defensive unit, so it's reasonable to expect him to do that. He got a lot of in-game experience last year, although it was in the special team's area. I think that field time and game speed exposure will help him in his growth and development. I think it's reasonable to expect him to utilize that experience as a catalyst for his growth on defense."
So it sounds like the Steelers are expected to use James Pierre this season. Tomlin was not clear how much they will use him, but it seems like they expect him to play outside of special teams in 2021. The cornerback depth chart will need to be sorted out during training camp because the Steelers have brought in a ton of talent. It should be interesting to see who emerges from that battle...
Names like Shakur Brown, Arthur Malet, Justin Layne, James Pierre, and others will be battling for the slot corner position. So far Shakur Brown and James Pierre's names have come up the most, but we haven't made it to training camp yet so anything can happen from now until camp. Tomlin seems to really like what he saw in 2020 from James Pierre, but you cannot deny the talent the Steelers have brought in especially in regards to Shakur Brown. This should be a very fun battle to watch during training camp this season.