CBS Sports draftniks Rob Rang and Dane Brugler have both released a new set of mocks of the first round of the 2014 NFL Draft and both have gone in entirely different directions with the Pittsburgh Steelers 15th overall selection.
Rang, who in his last mock draft had the Steelers drafting Alabama safety Ha Ha Clinton-Dix even after they had signed free agent safety Mike Mitchell, now has Michigan State cornerback Darqueze Dennard landing in Pittsburgh.
The once-proud Pittsburgh defense has fallen off in recent years and reinforcements are needed at all three levels. Given his polish, aggression and schematic fit, Dennard would make a lot of sense.
As for Brugler, who previously had the Steelers taking Dennard in round one, he now has Michigan tackle Taylor Lewan slotted as Pittsburgh’s choice.
I fully expect this pick to be a defensive player, either a nose tackle like Louis Nix or cornerback like Darqueze Dennard. But if a talented offensive tackle like Taylor Lewan is still available, it would be tough to pass him up, giving them a cornerstone on the line – the Steelers aren’t one player away from the Super Bowl.
You cant help but wonder if the recent report about Lewan by fellow CBS Sports college football analyst Jeremy Fowler swayed Brugler’s choice this time around. Fowler wrote a few days ago that the Steelers have really been doing their homework on the Michigan tackle, who was recently charged with one count of aggravated assault and two counts of assault or assault and battery stemming from an incident on Dec. 1, 2013. In addition, both Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin and new offensive line coach Mike Munchak were present for the Michigan Pro Day, so Brugler might be factoring that into his choice as well.
As for Rang’s choice of Dennard, he’s not really going out on a limb there, but it’s good to see him finally get off of the safety bandwagon.
Let’s talk more about Dennard and Lewan in the comments below.