Steelers need a reliable cornerback

Updated: February 24, 2004, 3:16 PM ET
By By Scouts, Inc. | For ESPN Insider

With free agency beginning March 3 and the draft just around the corner, Scouts, Inc., breaks down the biggest offseason needs for the Pittsburgh Steelers.

Cornerback: For the last couple of seasons, Pittsburgh has tried to protect its cornerbacks with a variety of schemes because it simply didn't have the players to turn and run with quality receivers in man-to-man coverage. Last year Deshea Townsend beat out Dewayne Washington, who likely will be a salary-cap casualty. Townsend gives a great effort, but he isn't big or fast enough to be a quality matchup corner. Fellow starter Chad Scott, coming off a season-ending hand injury, gives up as many big plays as he makes and shouldn't be left isolated on the perimeter. Ike Taylor, a fourth-round pick last year, doesn't seem to be ready. A dearth of strong cover corners really hinders the Steelers from being aggressive on defense, forcing them to play it safe and protect the perimeter. The team would love to bag a shutdown corner who can take out an opponent's best receiver.