The Pittsburgh Steelers claimed former Dallas Cowboys’ cornerback B.W. Webb today.
— Adam Caplan (@caplannfl) August 29, 2014
Webb, the Cowboys fourth round pick in 2013, was unable to impress the Cowboys enough to convince them to retain his talents. Webb has struggled this preseason to get on the field as a hip flexor injury has kept him from playing in two of the Cowboys’ four preseason games. After spending much of 2013 on the active roster, the Cowboys felt Webb no longer had a place on its defense (amazing considering how poor they were in 2013).
Webb is an incredibly gifted cornerback (as he proved with his combine performance), but needs development to harness all his talents. The Cowboys organization has lacked the ability to develop much talent in recent years. They also lack the structure necessary to put their young players in the best position possible to succeed when transitioning from college to the NFL; Webb is trying to transition from small school college football to the NFL.
The Steelers, on the other hand, have long been known for their defensive prowess and their penchant for developing quality players. Webb will benefit from the presence of veterans Troy Polamalu, Ike Taylor, and William Gay while having a confidant in fellow young corner Cortez Allen. Webb has the talent and athletic ability to be an excellent slot corner in the NFL. Based on the timing of his signing, it’s clear the Steelers plan on keeping Webb for their 53-man roster. If the Steelers can develop Webb into a player that matches the level of his talent, they may have found themselves a real steal in the largely unknown product from William & Mary.
The Bengals won’t be facing off with the Steelers until December 7th when the Steelers travel to Paul Brown Stadium. By then, it’s entirely possible that Webb could have a role on the Steelers’ defense, and possibly a significant one. The Bengals’ slot receivers will find themselves matched up with an athletically gifted player who is capable of blanket coverage. But due to Webb’s lack of height (5’10”) the Bengals could combat his presence by moving some of their taller receivers into positions that would force Webb into a mismatch. I have to admit I liked Webb coming out of college and hoped the Bengals could get their hands on him. I’ll be looking forward to seeing Webb on the field against the Bengals as I’m fully confident Hue Jackson will have something up his sleeve for the young corner, which may make him wish he was playing elsewhere in the division.