PITTSBURGH -- Getting whupped by Tom Brady and the the New England Patriots in the AFC Championship Game caused the Pittsburgh Steelers to do something about their secondary.
His name is Cam Sutton.
He's a late third-round cover corner.
No, it might not sound like much but at least the Steelers addressed -- or at least admitted to -- their Brady problem.
"For us to be versatile as a defense we’re going to instill a little more man this year," said secondary coach Carnell Lake. "That’s apparent in how we can improve our defense and get closer to defenders. We believe that Sutton will help us in that area."
The Steelers drafted Sutton with the 94th pick after opening their draft by taking a pass-rusher and a wide receiver.
Sutton is 5-11 1/4, 188, with short 30-inch arms and a 4.52 40 time. He benched only 11 times but did post decent NFL Combine numbers in the vertical jump (34), broad jump (10-0) and 3-cone (6.81). His shuttle time of 4.23 is acceptable.
Lake likes Sutton's work on the field, where he intercepted 7 passes and broke up 30 passes in 44 career starts at Tennessee.
"Cameron is a press corner and plays close to the line of scrimmage but can also play off," Lake said. "He does a good job of mirroring the receiver. He stays close, and that shows in his productivity as a corner for Tennessee over the years in his career. He has led his team and is the all-time leader in passes defensed for Tennessee. He knows how to cover, he stays close, and that is something that we’ve been looking for in the draft. In the third round, he was available and that’s why we took him."
Sutton was a four-year starter at Tennessee where he became a team captain as a senior. His communication skills are as obvious as his leadership skills, which he discussed at the Combine.
“One day I want to hopefully get into coaching and training," he said. "The things that helped me be successful and get to the places I am today, I would like to instill those same things into the youth and the people coming behind me.”
Does he consider himself a coach on the field?
"Most definitely," he said. "I was voted captain my senior year, but that leadership role is something I embraced over time in my four years in college. Usually when I first start off in a new area or team, I kind of want to sit back and observe the guys that are around me and kind of get a feel for the personalities. But I am a guy that seeks out those guys, and I have a different way of talking to people. Not every player you're able to talk to the same way. I'm able to decipher those guys. Some you can harp on, some you have to pull to the side. I'm able to do that. Whatever gets the guys going the right direction helps us all be successful."
Could he do those things as a rookie?
"Yes, sir, I most definitely can," said the Jonesboro, Ga., native. "I'm able to step out of that comfort zone and step up and do those things."
"Leadership is big," Lake said. "We’re always looking for that. If he thinks of himself as a leader, he probably takes pride in his preparation and his communication skills, so that’s always helpful in the secondary. I hope that’s true."
Of course, Sutton will initially concern himself with his on-field responsibilities. At Tennessee he was a cornerback and punt returner, but at the Senior Bowl he showed off his versatility by ably playing both safety spots and the nickel.
"Versatility in a defensive back is something you always should look for," Lake said. "You want the ability to be able to call any defense and the defensive back should be able to draw upon his skills to be able to handle that. I think that just comes with drafting the right guys. I think this is a good attempt, especially in the third round, of getting someone who can help us do that."