The Steelers addressed yet another need in the fifth round when they drafted Illinois cornerback Terry Hawthorne with the 150th overall pick.
The Steelers lost Keenan Lewis in free agency and Cortez Allen is expected to replace him. Even though they did add William Gay via free agency, the Steelers are kind of thin at the position and went into the draft looking to bolster the position.
Hawthorne is a big, physical corner who can play press coverage. He was high on everybody’s draft board before the season but fell back in part because of a poor defense he played on with Illinois along with what defensive backs coach Carnell Lake said was poor technique.
“I have a chip on my shoulder. I thought I was better than the fifth round,” Hawthorne said. “It is really nothing I can control. I just leave it up to God.”
Hawthorne played in 44 games at Illinois, making 26 starts and collecting 163 tackles. He is also able to return kicks and punts.
“What I like about him is that he has a lot of upside,” Lake said. “I like his ability and with some real work, he can even better.”
Instant analysis: He does have a lot of upside giving Hawthorne a chance to make the team with the likes of Ike Taylor, Allen, Gay, Curtis Brown, DeMarcus VanDyke and Josh Victorian, but he isn’t going to be an impact player.