Former Vol cornerback Cam Sutton is wasting no time in showing off his assets in the NFL. His new team, the Pittsburgh Steelers, already like what they’re seeing from their rookie third-round draft pick, and he hasn’t even put on pads for them yet.
According to an article by Gerry Dulac of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, Sutton has already impressed his new coaches with his intelligence on the field.
“Cam Sutton is pretty on-point in terms of what we saw of his abilities at Tennessee, meaning we saw a player who was able to make plays,” Steelers secondary coach Carnell Lake said. “His neck-up intelligence helped make a lot of those plays, and he seemed to have brought that with him. It hasn’t dropped off.
“With Cam, when you tell him once, at most twice, you don’t have to tell him again.”
Sutton was drafted by the Steelers with the 94th overall pick in this year’s draft, and a large part of why he fell that far was because of a broken leg he suffered during the Vols’ third game of the regular season. Sutton would go on to miss a large portion of Tennessee’s season but would eventually return for the final three regular season games and the Vols’ bowl game against Nebraska despite his injury not being fully healed.
And the Steelers like that determination and perseverance from their rookie.
“My commitment level, not only to the school and the team, was to those out there sacrificing, all the things we did leading up to those moments on Saturday,” Sutton said. “Being one of the leaders on the team, you don’t want to see one of your leaders go down. But they looked to me to keep those guys going. I had to stay around the team, stay around those guys.
“I wanted to do that. Nothing was going to keep me away from the team.”
Now Sutton says his leg is good to go, and he’s competing for the team’s nickel back position in the Steelers’ sub packages on defense.
“I’d like to see Cam, like all my guys, I’d like to see them compete and push the secondary to a better point, to be competitive, compete for starting job, compete to get on the field and see where that takes us,” Lake stated. “With Cam, over time, ultimately if you’re making plays and you’re productive, you’re probably going to wind up making the team and helping this team out.”
Pittsburgh’s coaches like Sutton’s ability in man-to-man coverage, the type of coverage Sutton usually played while at Tennessee. As a nickel corner, Sutton’s prowess in man coverage would be particularly useful. And he showed that off while in college.
Sutton finished his Tennessee career with the most passes defended in Vol history with 37 passes defended in his 45 career games. He also holds Tennessee’s record for most punt return yards in a single season when he amassed 467 yards on 25 returns in 2015. Special teams is another way Sutton could make plays as a rookie in Pittsburgh as well.
The Steelers don’t start training camp for another month. But when they do, they’ll be expecting even bigger things from their rookie corner out of Tennessee.