Categorized | 2014 Draft, Article, Prediction

CBS Sports Draftniks Have Steelers Selecting Nix, Clinton-Dix In Latest Mock Drafts


CBS Sports draftniks Rob Rang and Dane Brugler both released their latest first round mock drafts following the Senior Bowl and both have the Pittsburgh Steelers drafting a defensive player with the 15th overall selection.

Rang has the Steelers drafting Notre Dame defensive tackle Louis Nix III, while Brugler has Alabama safety Hasean Clinton-Dix being selected by Pittsburgh in that spot.

Per Rang:

Nix will have to prove his health before earning a first round selection as he underwent knee surgery in December. When healthy, however, he’s proven himself to be one of nation’s elite run-stuffers. He’d be an upgrade over incumbent starter Steve McLendon, whose play leveled off in the second half of his first season taking over for long-time standout Casey Hampton.

Per Brugler:

Playmaking safeties are in high demand in the NFL right now so don’t expect Clinton-Dix to last long on draft day. The Steelers need to find the long-term replacement for free agent Ryan Clark at free safety and Clinton-Dix fits the bill.

The Steelers haven’t drafted a nose tackle in the first round since 2001 when they traded down in the first round and selected Hampton with the 19th overall selection. As far as safeties go, Troy Polamalu was the last one selected by the Steelers in the first round as they traded up in 2003 to select him.

As we sit here on the last day of January, I would be surprised if either of these two players wound up being the pick. I think the Steelers will address the free safety position at some point during the draft, but just can’t see it happening in the first two rounds. As far as nose tackle goes, unlike many of you, I don’t see that position as being one of great need and while it is possible that a later round pick could be used on that particular position, it wouldn’t surprise me one bit if it was ignored completely with one or two undrafted free agents being signed instead.

Ok, now it is your turn to chime in on both of these players in the comments below and please keep it civil.

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About Dave Bryan

I am, I'm me. 40 something, retired and a life long Steelers fan.
  • steeltown

    I agree. I don’t see either of these as the Steelers selection. I don’t feel we need NT atleast not this year and not that early, not when we need so many other positions.. McLendon and Al Woods can fill that role and then maybe rehash that debate next year.

  • HopalongCassidy

    Pure speculation by these folks just to have something to write about when they have no real story to write about. Yawn.

  • Kevin Gobleck

    No i do not want Nix in the first round. While i could live with Clinton-Dixon, i think Calvin Pryor is a much better safety

  • SteelersDepot

    This is brilliant analysis on your part on both of these players.

  • Berlusconi

    I hope that Shamarko can be the starter at FS, at least in the long run. So I would not go for a safety in round one. And while i cannot evaluate the play of McLendon myself, I just don’t think that the position is that important that it would justify a first round selection (Steelers often in Nickel).

  • Berlusconi

    What is your opinion on drafting a Safety in round one/two?

  • steeltown

    I don’t see it happening, maaaybeee Rd2

  • Iron Cadet

    I don’t see us taking a safety in the first. If Pryor somehow makes it to the 2nd then thats a no brainier. I think I’m one of few that would love to get justin gilbert at 1:15

  • Berlusconi

    Yes, I just saw that you added a section on why you would not choose Clinton-Dix. I’m in the same boat.

  • steeltown

    He is an intriguing athlete and he could help bolster two areas of need CB and KR

  • Matt Manzo

    I think both players have too many question marks to be taken at 15.
    Nix more than Dix.
    I think they’re assumption of Mclendons poor play shows how bad sports reporters are.
    Our very own Dave pointed out earlier just how much of an impact Mclendon did have.
    I’m only going off bits of film and scouting reports from others but Nix has too much injury history, spotty play to be our 1st rounder.
    Dix would make more sense and I think we will see a safety takin before round 5.
    Only reason for not picking Dix in round one is if the FO has their eyes set on someone else. If our 2 targets are gone at 15, they’ll take Dix.

  • Iron Cadet

    i saw that charlie batch said he expects markus wheaton to start and have a mike walalce like impact next season

  • Ike Evans

    Are they playmakers? If yes then I would welcome either

  • steeltown

    I wont come out and say he’ll have a Wallace-esk year two, but I truly believe he’ll be a difference maker before its all said and done

  • Rob H

    There is no way I take a 2 down NT that high with the way the game is set up right now (it’s not 2001 anymore), I’ve heard some people make a good argument for Ha Ha, and they think his stock is going to go up as the draft process rolls on, but I’m leery of taking any defensive player at 15. It’s rare that any rookie makes an early impact in this defense, and this year an immediate impact player is what I want with a high first round pick.

    One of the top offensive play-makers in this draft will be there at 15, and in my opinion your best move is to give Ben one more big time weapon to go with Bell and Brown. You can use the rest of your early picks to continue the transition that started this year on defense.

  • Iron Cadet

    Im with you on that. I believe he is the reason why the steelers wont draft a receiver in the 1st 2 rounds. if they did then that would keep wheaton as a number 3 at best. batch seems to have faith in the kid. he also said sanders is gone

  • Axe Skot

    I don’t see these as likely first rounders for the Steelers. I understand that the Steelers comprise a list of “special athletes” and prioritize that list, especially in the first round when those players would still be there, above any need. From year to year I think that the length of that list can change based upon the draft class, but while admittedly seeing only a small sample of Clinton-Dix I don’t see either of these players on a list that one could consider “special.” This is why, I believe, that almost every year the Steelers’ first round pick is usually completely different than what the mocks say based upon need. My gut says linebacker or corner, but I would love to see them take Ebron.

  • Matt Manzo

    I keep hearing that Shark is meant to be our SS, not FS. But that’s just what I hear.

  • Berlusconi

    Was not aware of that, thanks. Considering his playing-style, it makes sense. We shall see.

  • Kenneth Wilt

    If we take Nix with the first pick, I will be pissed. There I said it. He is a 2 down player. Our run defense issues this year weren’t caused by the lack of a NT, they were caused by bad plays and 2 LBs starting that were rookies. If I remember right, if you take away the 5 mistake plays which were long runs….this team was basically top 3 against the run this year. Of course some of that was that our secondary was SOOOO bad that no one wanted to try to run against us cause we couldn’t stop the pass.

    I saw a mock today that had Gilbert, Evans, and Lee all still on the board and us selecting Nix. To me…that makes no sense.

    Clinton-Dix, I don’t know about. I haven’t see a ton of tape on him, but I still think we will look at some of the later rounds for S and CB help. I could see us bringing in a FS, someone like Clark, who is under the radar in the free agent pool, and putting him as the starter for 2 years. Shamarko would then start in year 3 replacing Troy with this year’s draft pick starting also in year 3. It is less transition and honestly makes sense.

  • Rob H

    I’m really starting to lean that way myself, you could plug him in right away on passing downs and in the red-zone. I love the options it would give Ben, and the mismatches it could create by putting him in there with AB, Bell, Wheaton, and Miller, I believe our red-zone and third down efficiency would take an immediate step up. On top of that you would now have your long term replacement for Heath on the roster

  • Shannon Stephenson

    I will not rule out a early round NT but I just do not see a decent one to pick as this year is very thin for NT’s. My second thought on this is that Nix isnt a first round talent. I do not mind the Dix pick but still need to look into him more.

  • Bill Sechrengost

    I think their secondary has to be the main priority, especially at cornerback. They have no depth there at all. I don’t think Clinton Dix is worthy of the 15th pick in the draft, only if they traded down would I consider him. We can live with the nose tackle(s) we have on the roster now.

  • AndyR34

    I don’t rule out anything because I don’t know enough. That said…the Steelers usually try to get an elite athlete…are either of these elite? If not an elite athlete…then they try to get one that is special…but we do not know what they mean by special. I question how special either of these two are…although both have their fans. Lastly, until the Steelers deal with their UFA’s…mocking anyone to the Steelers in any round is gross speculation, IMHO. And that’s no disrespect to Dave’s recent mock which I consider entertainment.

  • RMSteeler

    Don’t like either of these choices for Steelers in first round. Not impressed with either, especially Nix and don’t even think they are 1st rnd talent. Draftnix are wrong 90%+ of the time on Steeler picks. Expect a QB frenzy at the top and a couple of reaches by perennial top 10 pickers. Should allow several elite players as options at 1.15, so wouldn’t trade down. My gut says it will be LB, CB, TE or WR available as immediate impact player. Steelers picked Ben at 1.14. Believe he was also a Heisman finalist. I compare Ben’s pick with Russell Wilson. Under the radar top 10 talent that were passed on because of the college teams they played for. I do expect 2 or even 3 potential top 5 overall rated picks to be available at 1.15. The most difficult choice for the Steelers may be which one to pick.

  • moderatelysane

    I don’t mind Clinton-Dix in the 1st, and I wouldn’t be surprised. I would be amazed if they pick Nix. I also agree with RM Steeler. We are at a nice spot in this draft. There should be at least one top flight talent at CB, WR, safety, or LB when we come around. Although McClendon may never be big snack, he does bring a unique skill set. I think Steelers fans that want Nix may not realized that the NFL has changed a bit and that the team is allowed to adapt our defense somewhat to personnel rather than striving to recreate the 2003 defense at all costs.

  • moderatelysane

    Here’s a fun exercise. Project which unexpected talent falls to the Steelers at 15. Even when we’re lower in the order, someone falls to us that really shouldn’t (DeCastro, Jones). So who do you all think it will be this year? Jake Matthews, Greg Robinson, Anthony Barr, Khalil Mack, Sammy Watkins?

  • Jollyrob68

    Calvin PRyor

  • James Kling

    Round 1?

  • Matt Manzo

    I would love to see Troy and Shark on the field at the same time!

  • 243546

    I’m not focused on position in the first round. The most important thing is drafting someone who best projects to become an elite talent. Drafting for need might make the team better this year. Drafting an elite talent can make the team better over the next 5 years.

    By now we should all know how Kevin Colbert operates. He identifies his list of special players. If he has the opportunity to draft one of those players, that will be the pick, regardless of whether the pick fulfills a need or not.

  • 243546

    I 100% agree with you about Colbert, and his list of special players. The team needs to add an elite level talent, regardless of whether it fills a need or not. If that player just happens to play a position where the Steelers have a lot of depth, the team still benefits, because it allows them to release a higher salary player and free up room under the salary cap. Those savings can be used to bring in a FA who does fill a need. For example, I don’t think the Steelers need an OT, but if they draft an OT who they feel will be an elite talent, they don’t have to resign Gilbert when his rookie contract is up. The money not spent to retain Gilbert can be used to bring in a FA Safety or ILB.

  • Iron Cadet

    none of those will fall to us. Decastro fell because he is a guard not an elite tackle. Jones went right where he was projected to go. There is no chance that any of those names that you listed fall to 15.

  • skidboot

    I got no problem with Nix in the 1st as I think it will move McLendon to the DE position and then they can have Nix and Wood man the NT spot…
    Dix could be the pick also and I have no problem with that pick also….the middle of our D needs to be replenished with quality players NOW. Hampton, Farrior and Polamalu when going to SBs, now we have McLendon, Timmons and Polamalu and Clark who have both had better days and are on the downslope.

  • Kevin Gobleck

    I would love to see us grab Deone Bucannon from Wash. St. Imagine having two hard hitting safeties with him and shamarko in the furture

  • LayDownTheHammer

    We need an NT badly; our run defense and our pass rush will suffer as long as we don’t have a stable NT. Most overall important position in a 3-4 defense with possible exception to CBs.

    As I said before, Nix has many problems associated with him but there is no better NT prospect than him this year. People ask about Hageman but he will be raw as a 3-4 prospect; he has the size and just needs to add a tad bit of weight but schemewise he has not experienced it. That being said he could feasibly be coached up for the 3-4 NT or even the 3-4 DE in addition to being a normal 4-3 DT. His consistency (possibly motor although my tape study on him has been less than adequate) is an issue. McCullers has amazing size but is the most raw of all; judging by MT’s latest questionable decision to can him prematurely, not sure if he will be given the patience if he has a minor run-in with the law.

  • RW

    Nope.

  • Brian Miller

    I am not sure what position we will draft in the 1st round, but I can rule out a few positions and make it easier…no way we draft a QB, RB, TE, O-lineman and S in the 1st round with the exception of maybe Pryor from Louisville since I think he is a better prospect and my #1. I also think Alabama players are overrated many times, and wasn’t really impressed with Clinton-Dix this year, and feel like Nix could be had in round 2. I also agree that it is a foregone conclusion that Sanders is gone this year, so I really hope that if Watkins, Evans and/or Lee we grab one of them. I don’t care if we already took Wheaton last year, we still need to reload on WR’s since we won’t have Cotchery around forever.

  • Steelmill 74

    I think Nixs would be the right pick. 3-4 defenses need to stop the run first. McLendon did a nice job in 2013 but is to small. He does not occupy the multiple blockers we need out of our NT. Move him to DE. We need our next Casey Hampton and I believe Nixs is that guy 335 with quick feet. We gave up 4.3 ypc and 116 a game, these are not championship #7 numbers. This guy was projected top 5 last year before his injury and he can push the pocket not just stop the run. Don’t forget about Saragusa and how good Ray Lewis played behind him. When Saragusa retired Lewis went into some down years until he bitched and they drafted Halodi Ngata. Everything changed for the ravens D after they drafted Ngata Not saying Nixs can be as good as Ngata but I would be willing to take the 1st round risk to see. NT in a 3-4 is a very important position.
    I thought he looked great in the blow out win by Alabama against 3 future first round offensive lineman. It was the other 10 irish defenders that didn’t show up.

  • Steve

    USC’s Marquise Lee would be a Great pickup at WR for another Weapon or Kevin Benjamin from Florida St.

  • Axe Skot

    Especially given the fact that Nix is not exactly a sure thing. He has had huge weight fluctuations and injuries that make me question longevity. I wonder despite what the front office and coaches might say about the importance of the nose, given the nature of the position against pass effective offenses if they would still rate Big Snack as a first round worthy pick. This kid ain’t Big Snack

  • JAMESH

    Ebron. Ebron. Ebron.

  • JAMESH

    Of course, only if Mosley is not available……………

  • SFIC

    Nix is totally overrated. If everyone here wants a Terrence Cody then hop on the Nix bandwagon. Those thinking we would be getting a Raji, Poe or Lotulelei you are sadly mistaken. Nix is just a big body that’s hard to move. That’s all. Zero explosion. His only production was against weak opponents. Good linemen kept Jim in check one on one. Watch the tape people.

  • gene mann

    Terrible Picks

  • Shawn Winbush

    No way we should take either player, with same or similiar talent available rounds later,or later in the first. Nix is a no-no period to me.Too many injury concerns for a two – down player. And I think Hageman is better. I’d rather groom Carrethers,Ellis, or the DT from Penn State.More upside and raw talent.
    As far as Dix is concerned, I like Pryor better,Jean- Baptiste is a hybrid who is intriguing and higher ceiling,and Boston from UNC is a ball hawk who is only going to get better.Plus Hadler from Vandy and Buchannon from Washington St. fill our needs just as well. I just see Dix as overrated.

  • Kenneth Wilt

    It wouldn’t surprise me if despite his talent, Nix slips…and I mean REALLY slips down into the 4th or 5th round.

  • Luke Shabro

    It’s the offseason before we’ve even had the combine. Of course it’s pure speculation. Some people just have to have something to complain about.

  • Luke Shabro

    I agree with you wholeheartedly. I don’t want Nix at all. I think Ha Ha could be very good but I tend to agree with you that he’s not a Troy or even Eric Berry instant starter so don’t spend the 15th pick overall on him. As much as I love Dick LeBeau I still do lament the fact that it takes us so long to bring rookies along when so many seem to have an instant impact on other teams. Just my thoughts though. Would Eric Reid have made a bigger impact than Jarvis Jones last year?

  • Anthony Renzelli

    LOL at people on this site thinking McClendon is the future at nose tackle because they read one article with stats that said he’s good. Stats, numbers, data, etc. can always be twister to fit an agenda. What does the eye test tell you?

  • Anthony Renzelli

    Nix or Clinton Dix would definitely immediately improve the defense. Shamarko Thomas looked decent at best in coverage last year and McClendon is McClendon.

  • SteelersDepot

    Watched every game at least 10 times this year from the all-22 view. How about you? Also, it’s McLendon, not McClendon.

  • Chad H

    I’m not high on either one of those picks. At this point I think it will be a surprise pick unless someone falls like DeCastro did. I’m not high on any DB in the 1st rd only because none of them seem like a can’t miss pick.

  • Chad H

    That’s why it’s called a mock draft. Heck I could say we will take Manziel in the 1st!

  • Chad H

    If any fall I think it would be Barr.

  • Anthony Renzelli

    Pretty good job correcting my typo considering you blocked me on twitter for correcting one of yours LOL. And okay, he’s really good, let’s see how the run defense performs next year if we don’t upgrade. He simply does not take up as much space or as many blockers as a bigger guy which is the key to the 3-4 defense.

  • SFIC

    Neither of them would start year one. Ha Ha could eventually start. Nix is destined the Ta’amu route. Not any better than a later rd pick. Wasting our 15th overall pick on the so-called best NT in the draft is totally against the Steelers model. DO NOT REACH FOR NEED!

  • SFIC

    McLendon >>>>>Nix. Except when it comes down to fat. Then Nix>>>>>>>>>McLendon

  • SFIC

    Do we need a NT? Yes. Wasting our #1 pick on a NT who not worthy a 1st let alone a 2nd rd pick is erroneous. Just like Ta’amu, many called for us to take him in rd2. I LMAO. I even received flack when I questioned taking him rd4. Sure enough even aside from his off field issues, he still sucks. Nix is destined the same.

  • William Weaver

    Did you see him against Alabama? He was the only ND player that not only belonged on the field but played very well. That was against a great line. Very good athlete/feet. Not saying he will be our pick but he will be a really good pro. If he stays healthy (like everyone else) he will go to multiple pro bowls.

  • SFIC

    Terrence Cody was a big guy with quick feet too. How did he turn out ? Zero explosion. Enough said.

  • Jason Chadwell

    I think people over look that we were in nickel so much last year that Troy played LB alot of time and though Troy is an animal you need a true LB to take on linemen and stop the run. Also we had two rookie LBs playing which didn’t help matters. A NT would be a wasted pick unless they think McClendon can be a force at DE and we can’t resign our other free agents along the d-line

  • 243546

    I’ve watched the Alabama game numerous times, and the one thing that stood how was that Nix didn’t face many double teams, and Barrett Jones doing a very good job handling Nix one-on-one. Tuitt received most of the double teams.

  • 243546

    Having a NT who takes up space, or multiple blockers is not the key to a 3-4 defense. It can be, if the D-line has 2-gap responsibility, which isn’t done a lot anymore. Playing 2-gaps doesn’t work with the zone blitz, and it doesn’t work against a spread based offense.

  • Geoff Cordner

    Why not draft a TE in RD1?

  • Geoff Cordner

    Reading articles and comments I see a lot of “3-4 NT are rare and the Steelers need one” – but considering how rare they are why take a chance in Rd 1 on a player that may or may not turn out to be a good NT. Lots of questions about Nix, why not go with more of a sure thing wiith the 15th pick? If the Steelers are in love with Nix (not saying they are), they should just trade down (ala Hampton draft) and get him then. Sounds like this is a deep draft and the Steelers might want to have a few more picks…

  • Reg Sayhitodabadguy Hunt

    I believe the steelers are going cb in 1st because like three teams at least in top ten needs a qb and either gilbert or dennard will fall in our laps unless they are off the board then they will look at other positions of need via b.p.a

  • Cody Younkin

    Deone Bucannon would be a good choice in the second

  • joed32

    1.11 for Ben.

  • steeltown

    Agreed. They will truly pick the best player on the board (or whomever they feel is the best player)

  • Brian Miller

    Since Miller is still around and should have a couple of years left in him (even if he has lost a step) and with Spaeth playing well in his return from injury this year, and with the multitude of other needs, I just don’t think that Pittsburgh values TEs as much as other teams to draft one in the 1st. I can see them taking one later in the draft…I have big questions/concerns about Ebron so they may not be sold that there is a 1st round TE out there either. Just my opinion.

  • Saif

    I can agree at this time that we don’t need a S in the first round. But we sure do need a NT no matter what. If you watched the games this year and last year.
    Last year Larry foote was a great run stopper. Why? because a big NT like hampton can handle 2 O-line men at same time and make way for the MLBs to come in and stop them.
    This year: Vince williams and Timmons were good run stoppers but this is also of the reasons why our run sucked and we gave up such big plays in the running games because a NT like Mclendon who is not big cannot take 2 O-line on his own. Nix at this time will be a good addition but just not in the first round because of his injury he might not do good in Pro-day/combine and his stock might fall to second round.
    Markus wheaton is a good WR but we still need to see more from him instead of expecting from him based on his college work.
    I agree we need a CB like Gilbert he is a really good CB.
    Im not a professional but if I had to choose it would be Sammy Watkins, Gilbert or Dennard in the first.
    People might think im crazy because of watkins falling to second. Remember 2012? Decastro was a top 10 pick during combine he fell to 24th pick. remember 2013? jarvis Jones was a top 5 pick. he fell to 17th because of his combine.
    If we want watkins at 15 we just have to hope he has a terrible combine ;) and he falls to 15th. if he doesn’t fall I think we should go with gilbert or Dennard.

  • 20Stoney

    Don’t forget Mendenhall! He also “fell”.

  • 20Stoney

    I just don’t see Nix warranting mid first round pick. Elevating a guy out of need is usually a bad idea. I just don’t see him as a rare talent, just the best of a weak class.

  • LayDownTheHammer

    Spot on. Trading down is another issue.

  • LayDownTheHammer

    Dennard’s cover skills are miles ahead of Gilbert’s. By the tape I am not impressed with Gilbert at all. He is just big and fast and a good ST guy which is why his technique and form are overlooked. I have Verrett ahead of Gilbert in my CB list; the former gets overlooked because he is 5’10 but is better in coverage. That’s the problem with draftniks grading CBs. They only look at the height and 40 time and project that onto their cover skills. Just wait until the Combine (AKA the Hype Train) when the 6′ CBs will shoot up the draft boards. Not saying they can’t be good, but for every good CB that’s turned out, another busts out. Depends on their work ethic and team scheme/system in the end.

  • SFIC

    I’m not sure what game you were watching. I just rewatched the game and Nix had 2 tackles for a loss (1 was when the RB slipped) and was kept in check on mostly single coverage. He does not offer anything more to the NT position than a mid-late rd pick would. Again, many wanted us to take Terrence Cody, aren’t you glad we didn’t? Nix = Cody IMO.

  • 74757879

    Then trade roethlisberger to the browns for joe haden

  • 243546

    Ebron would be huge for the offense, because of everything you stated, plus he opens up the ability of the offense to run no huddle.

    The no huddle is the most effective when the offense can put a personnel group on the field that is just as dangerous in the passing attack, as they are in the run. With 2 TE’s and 1 RB on the field, the offense has the personnel on the field to run the ball with 7 blockers. If also gives the offense the ability to spread the WR’s and TE’s, move the RB to the slot, and force the defense to cover 5 WR’s. Unless guys are getting gassed, there’s no need to make substitutions, which means that the defense is stuck with what ever personnel they put on the field at the beginning of the drive. If the defense on the field is best suited to stop the run, then spread out the formation, and force them to match up with 5 receiving options. If they are set up to defend the pass, then condense the formation, and force the defense to stop the run with 5 or 6 DB’s on the field.

  • Josh Knepshield

    He has no coverage ability whatsoever.

  • Josh Knepshield

    1a) Mike Evans
    1b) Justin Gilbert
    1c) Eric Ebron
    1d) C.J. Mosley
    1e) Louis Nix III Top 5 options

  • Iron Cadet

    there is no chance of watkins falling to 15. Decastro fell because he is a guard and guards are not one of those flashy positions. Jarvis Jones went right where he was projected to go because of medical concerns. Sammy Watkins is the most talented reveiver in the draft and will not make it out of the top 10. Dennard would be a reach at 15, he only plays press man coverage, and we play a lot of zone. He didnt go to the senior bowl because he did not want to look bad in a zone defense.

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