All-XFL CB Chooses Steelers Over 2 Archrivals: Report

Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin

Getty Head coach Mike Tomlin of the Pittsburgh Steelers.

Former Jacksonville Jaguars cornerback Luq Barcoo is signing with the Pittsburgh Steelers, this according to a May 15 report by ESPN senior NFL reporter Jeremy Fowler.

As noted by Fowler, Barcoo also received offers from the Cleveland Browns and Dallas Cowboys, an indication that the Cleveland native actively chose Pittsburgh over its two traditional rivals.

It probably didn’t hurt that Barcoo played under Steelers legend Hines Ward as a member of the XFL’s San Antonio Brahmas. A week ago, Barcoo was one of five defensive backs named All-XFL for 2023, having recorded 31 tackles, an interception and a sack over the course of the past season.

Recall that Ward signed on as an XFL head coach in April 2022 after having earned an interview for head coach of the Houston Texans three months earlier. The Brahmas finished just 3-7, however, the 3rd-worst mark in the league, ahead of Rod Woodson’s Vegas Vipers (2-8) and the Orlando Guardians (1-9).

Luq Barcoo: The XFL’s ‘Stickiest Cover Corner’

Barcoo — 6-foot-1 and 175 pounds — has been part of the NFL for much of the last three years, originally signing with the Jaguars in 2020 as an undrafted free agent out of San Diego State. He appeared in three games for Jacksonville as a rookie and has since spent time on the practice squads of the Arizona Cardinals, San Francisco 49ers, Kansas City Chiefs and New York Jets.

As a senior at San Diego State, Barcoo started 13 games and recorded nine interceptions, along with 55 tackles and seven passes defensed. During a 24-10 win over Colorado State in 2019 he intercepted passes on three consecutive drives.

The San Antonio Brahmas made Barcoo the club’s first defensive selection in the 2023 XFL Draft and he rewarded them with a standout season.

Pro Football Network recently described Barcoo as “the XFL’s stickiest cover corner,” and correctly predicted that his “youth, height, and production this past season are nearly sure to yield another opportunity at the highest level.”

According to Pro Football Focus (PFF), Barcoo allowed a catch of just 52.8% of targets and led all XFL cornerbacks with 11 pass breakups. PFF gave him an 85.7 grade this season, making him the 3rd-highest graded defender on his team, behind former Steelers outside linebacker Delontae Scott and fellow edge rusher Drew Beesley, both of whom received 90.7 grades.

Pittsburgh’s New-Look Cornerback Room

Barcoo will be competing for a job in a Steelers cornerback room that features four notable new names, including rookie 2nd- and 7th-round picks Joey Porter Jr. and Cory Trice Jr. Earlier this offseason Pittsburgh added a pair of veteran free agents in Patrick Peterson and Chandon Sullivan. Meanwhile, holdovers James Pierre and Ahkello Witherspoon remain in the mix, as do Madre Harper and former Patriots 2nd-round pick Duke Dawson.

Most recently, the Steelers lost a cornerback when the team cut Arthur Maulet after the veteran defensive back had a “difference of opinion” with the team’s brain trust.

Coming Soon: Kenny Pickett on Footbahlin With Ben Roethlisberger

In other news from Monday, Mark Kaboly of The Athletic noted that current Steelers quarterback Kenny Pickett is scheduled to record a podcast episode with former Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger.

According to Roethlisberger’s co-host, the episode is scheduled to air on May 22, 2023.

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