Steelers 2-a-days: AAF star Kameron Kelly a sleeper, Justin Layne another mid-round cornerback |

Steelers 2-a-days: AAF star Kameron Kelly a sleeper, Justin Layne another mid-round cornerback

Chris Adamski
Associated Press
Pittsburgh Steelers cornerback Justin Layne goes through drills during an organized team activity session May 23, 2019, in Pittsburgh.

Editor’s note: From now until the first practice of training camp at Saint Vincent College, the Trib will be running through the Pittsburgh Steelers’ 90-man roster, assessing each player’s outlook for the 2019 season. The breakdown will go through the roster in mostly-alphabetical order, (at least) two per day, between June 14 and July 26.


Experience: Spent rookie 2017 preseason with Cowboys, played in AAF this past spring

Contract status: $495,000 cap hit in 2019, under team control for four seasons

2019 outlook: Kelly opened up eyes about his potential – and his chances for staying with the Steelers this season – when he was getting first-team reps rather early in this offseason. Kelly by all indications has NFL-caliber athleticism, but he hasn’t had a position. He’s played inside and outside cornerback, both safety spots and even on offense in his pro and college career at San Diego State. Kelly settled in over the early spring as a cornerback for the AAF’s San Diego Fleet, for whom he had a three-interception game that helped lead to the Steelers signing him. He took reps at safety for the Steelers over the summer, but truth be told it will special teams where he will have to make an impact if he’s going to stick.


Experience: Rookie

Contract status: $725,545 cap hit in 2019, start of four-year rookie contract

2019 outlook: Layne becomes the latest in a long, long line of cornerbacks the Steelers have drafted over the past decade, few of which have panned out relative to their initial projections. A third-round pick, Layne’s spot on the 53-man roster as a rookie is secure, but what will his role be in 2019? Unless Mike Hilton holds out, the Steelers appear set at their top three cornerback spots; can Layne make Artie Burns expendable? Can he leap over Cameron Sutton on the depth chart? Is he immediately a better special-teams option than Brian Allen? Layne has the luxury of time, at worst, for a “redshirt” year. But he also will be given opportunity to prove he can contribute so much more.

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Chris Adamski is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Chris by email at [email protected] or via Twitter .

Categories: Sports | Steelers
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