Carnell Lake, a second-round draft pick of the Steelers, made four trips to the Pro Bowl while playing with the Pittsburgh from 1989 to 1998. Lake finished his career with 16 interceptions and 16 fumble recoveries, which is fourth in team history. He earned the National Football Foundation Hall of Fame Scholar Athlete Award in 1988 and he was inducted into the UCLA Athletics Hall of Fame in 2000.
Lake played safety and cornerback throughout those seasons, and next season (if there is one), Lake will be coaching the defensive backs of the Steelers. The Steelers’ pass defense has not lived up to its usual pedigree in recent years, and Pittsburgh is hoping that Carnell Lake will be able to fix that. In particular, the Steelers pass coverage has been unable to shut down Tom Brady and Bill Belichick. Last season, the Patriots high powered offense marched into Heinz Field and scored 39 points.
Troy Polomalu and Ryan Clark, the starting safeties, are certainly not the problem, so it must be the cornerbacks. Ike Taylor has been able to hold up against most of the receivers he has faced, but William Gay and Bryant McFadden have not. In my opinion, the Steelers should use one of their high round draft picks to snag a CB to improve this weakness. Drafting a good corner is hard enough, but the draft pick has to fit the Steelers’ scheme which is toughness and physicality. I know that drafting a pro-ready, physical, quality corner is much easier said than done, but with the league shifting to a pass-based game, it is definitely necessary in order for Sixburgh to climb the Stairway to Seven.
The financial aspects of hiring Lake as the defensive backs coach were not released. Although hiring Lake is definitely a step in the right direction, drafting another high-end corner is essential as well.