The Pittsburgh Steelers added some depth at the cornerback position today, as Brice McCain has signed an undisclosed deal. McCain was one year into a three-year, $5.25 million deal with the Texans when he was cut earlier this offseason. McCain, 27, is coming off his worst season of his career. At 5-foot-9 and less than 190 pounds, he's projected as a slot/nickel corner and a special team’s player for the Steelers and does give them some veteran insurance and competition at the position.
Brice McCain was drafted by the Texans as a sixth-round pick in 2009 and played in 72 games for them over the last five seasons. Most of his work came in sub packages and was considered to be their top slot cornerback until he had a disastrous 2013 campaign, which explains why he was looking for a job. He was burned by wide receivers with regularity the last few seasons. McCain was somewhat productive in his career with 13 passes defended in 2011 and 15 passes defended in 2012. He may have had a bad year, but a change of scenery may help him focus on the reason that the Texans gave him a 3 year deal in the first place. He could evolve into a replacement for Curtis Brown on special teams. McCain is also an experienced backup slot cornerback and provides depth at a position that is virtually inept. Hopefully, McCain will make an impact for the Steelers organization because they are in desperate need for production at the cornerback position and in special teams. Their special teams was atrocious last season. He will play a role in the Steeler plans. What that role is yet to be determined.
Adding McCain to go with Ike Taylor, Cortez Allen and William Gay shouldn't change the Steelers' draft plans. Cornerback a big, physical wide receiver, and a defensive lineman/defensive end are arguably the Steelers' top needs entering the 2014 NFL Draft. The Steelers didn’t address the cornerback position in free agency until now with this signing even though there were a number of good corners available. My take is that the money wasn’t right and that they ultimately want to go with youth in the draft. Ike Taylor and Cortez Allen are penciled in as the starters and William Gay is the third cornerback. Taylor and Gay are getting older and don’t have much mileage left on the tires. Allen has yet to meet expectations and complete a full season. Getting a young, skilled, and talented CB in the draft, preferably in the first round, is a must now and for the future. Cornerbacks need to be developed at the NFL level so the time is now. If one of the top cornerbacks is available at pick 15, it makes a whole lot of sense, especially in lieu of their apathy to sign one in free agency. If not at 15, it is a need that must be addressed in the early rounds.