Starting outside corners: Artie Burns, Haden
The Steelers aren't paying Haden $7 million this year to play a handful of snaps. They are paying him to start games. It's uncertain how much man coverage they want him to play, but that was his specialty in Cleveland. Maybe Haden has lost a step, but perhaps he can play press-man in spurts and also execute the team's zone concepts. Burns looked like a starting cornerback in training camp, so he will start the season as the team's No. 1.
Starting slot corner: William Gay
Nobody in training camp could unseat the 32-year-old Gay, who is still a capable slot corner. But his feet aren't getting any faster. Mike Hilton was a camp standout, but the numbers don't seem to work out for him barring a big performance in Carolina on Thursday night.
Cockrell lost his starting job but is still a steady option, especially if injuries occur. He signed a $1.797 million restricted tender in the offseason. Coach Mike Tomlin calls Sensabaugh a "savvy veteran." He'll be ready to play. This gives third-round pick Sutton the chance to develop behind the scenes. Fifth-round pick Brian Allen looks practice-squad bound. Senquez Golson is unlikely to make the 53-man roster.
Nothing changes here. Davis hopes for a breakout year, and Mitchell should recover from injury in time for Week 1.
Both are core special teamers who can start games in a bind.