On the spot: Steelers CB Keenan Lewis

April, 24, 2012
4/24/12
3:30
PM ET
We're continuing our series in which we feature one player from each AFC North team who is "On the spot" leading up to the NFL draft. That's a player who is holding a starting job now, but could lose it depending on how his team drafts.

Keenan Lewis, Steelers cornerback

Lewis
Lewis
Who he's replacing: William Gay, an unrestricted free agent who signed with the Arizona Cardinals. Last season, Gay started 15 games for the Steelers and finished the regular season with 56 tackles -- 45 solo -- with two interceptions.

NFL résumé: Lewis was a 2009 third-round pick for the Pittsburgh Steelers out of Oregon State, and has made only one career NFL start. Last year, he showed that he can be a playmaker, sealing a 13-9 victory at Kansas City with a leaping interception with 28 seconds remaining. But he has also been undisciplined, getting benched by coach Mike Tomlin in the 2010 preseason after he gave up an eight-yard catch to Brandon Lloyd and then proceeded to knee him.

Analysis from Matt Williamson, of Scouts Inc.: The Steelers have a formula at cornerback. They draft them in the mid rounds (as they did a year ago and with Ike Taylor) and allow them to make their bones on special teams while learning the "Steeler Way." I doubt that trend changes in this draft class. Losing Gay does open up a spot for someone to step up, but that could be Lewis or one of the mid-round picks from a year ago. I am betting that Pittsburgh uses yet another third or fourth round pick on the position with the exact same strategy in mind.

Potential draft replacement: Dre Kirkpatrick, Alabama

Recent "On the spot" blogs: Bengals safety Taylor Mays on Thursday and Ravens linebacker Paul Kruger on Friday.

Jamison Hensley

ESPN Ravens reporter

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