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Steelers Rookie Review: Recalling the draft profile of Cory Trice Jr.

Now that the last game of the 2023 NFL season has come to a conclusion, the entire NFL is in full-blown offseason mode. As both the Steelers, as well as we here at the Steel Curtain Network, prepare for the start of the 2024 league years and the associated free agency period, as well as the 2024 NFL draft, it’s good before we get too far into the process of looking at next season to look back at some various things from the 2023 Steelers.

As I continue to work through the Exit Interviews article series of covering every player from the 2023 Steelers and their status for 2024, another fun idea is to check out last year‘s rookie class and what was said about them before the 2023 NFL draft. With all the analysis looking at 2024, sometimes it’s fun just to see how much those profiling players got things right, or wrong.

Continuing on, here are some of the various draft breakdowns for safety Cory Trice last offseason heading into the 2023 NFL draft.

Pro Football Network

Full report HERE

Purdue CB Cory Trice Current Draft Projection

On my board, Trice grades out as an early-to-mid Day 3 prospect. How he performs at the Shrine Bowl and the NFL Combine will add more context for his evaluation. Medicals will also be crucial, given his season-ending knee injury in 2021. But on tape, he’s shown enough to warrant mid-round consideration in the 2023 NFL Draft.

The defining trait for Trice is his size. At 6’3″, 215 pounds, his frame can be difficult to match up against. And although his proportional length isn’t elite for his size, he has a large enough wingspan to be a constant threat when the ball comes his way.

Trice is a playmaker with his length, coordination, and ball-tracking ability. He’s also physical, and he shows good response to stimuli and processing ability in man and zone coverage. He also has the fluidity to turn and run with receivers out of releases.

Lateral freedom isn’t an overwhelming strong point for Trice, and his synergy in press-man coverage can be more consistent. With his length, awareness, ball-tracking ability, and fluidity in space, he might be best suited for zone and off-man alignments.

Nevertheless, in that realm, Trice can be a quality rotational cornerback early on in his career with above-average starting upside as he continues to refine his craft. It’s also possible he could transition to a hybrid safety role, considering he has the size, fluidity, route recognition skills, and pre-existing experience.

Full report HERE


While he has legitimate strong safety size, Trice’s game is better suited for the cornerback position. He is physical in coverage but lacks the same temperament in run support. His size and strength help impede the early stages of a route and smother possession throws underneath. He’s a decent athlete but lacks ideal fluidity and speed to recover when beaten, so press and zone coverages are where he should live. While there are limitations, there is also room for technical growth to make him a better pro. He won’t be for everyone, but teams valuing size over speed will covet him as a middle-round pick with upside.


  • Rare size/length profile at corner.
  • Capable of creating wide rerouting of receiver’s release.
  • Possesses size and strength to alter route timing.
  • Slides feet to eliminate receiver’s leverage from off-man.
  • Surprising twitch to plant and close from side shuffle.
  • Uses size advantage to squeeze the catch space near boundary.
  • Able to jar and shed perimeter blocks fairly easily.


  • Plays too tall for clingy route phasing.
  • Below average long speed to recover when beaten.
  • Makes definitive hip declarations way too soon from off-man.
  • Clunky hips prevent fluid swivel for coverage recovery.
  • Technique to phase and locate downfield throws will need work.
  • Below average field aggression as run supporter for size.

Bleacher Report

Full report HERE


Cory Trice Jr. is a long-limbed athlete with outstanding length and size for an NFL cornerback. He shows to have very good movement skills for his size. He started his career as a safety but moved to cornerback where he was able to play for 3 seasons before being the full-time starter in 2022.

He primarily plays out of press man but has also shown to play catch technique as well as in zone. While in press, he does a very good job of moving his feet to widen releases. When working downfield, he does a great job of shooting his hands and controlling receivers.

Due to his height and tall posture, he struggles to sink his hips when running full speed, allowing separation out of breaks. When in phase, he does a great job of staying in the receiver’s hip pocket and using great timing to dislodge passes; even when playing with his back to the quarterback. When he is on top of routes and tracking the ball in the air, he does a very good job of high pointing and attacking the ball in the air.

Trice is a long strider who can take a little to get going but when he opens and runs at the correct time, he is able to run with most receivers. Although there are times when his lack of long speed can show up as well as a lack of recovery speed.

As a run defender, Trice uses his aggression and length to take on and control blockers. While keeping them at a distance, he quickly disengages and gets to the ball carriers. Even with his aggression towards blockers, he doesn’t quite show the same when tackling. He has shown to play his position but will need to continue to improve his tackling for the next level.

Cory Trice has the rare length and size that NFL teams are looking for. He has very good movement skills but lacks the twitch and top-end speed to run with the elite athletes at the next level. A mix of man and zone coverage would be best for Trice. He will come in as a role player with the opportunity to compete for a starting role within a few years of his career.

So there are some of the draft profiles for Cory Trice last year ahead of the 2023 NFL draft. Since we didn’t see Trice last season, do these assessment change your expectations for Trice this season? Please make sure to leave your thoughts in the comments below.


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