With 2014 NFL Draft now just a little more than one week away, there seems to be a consensus of 10 players that could possibly still be on the board when the Pittsburgh Steelers first round pick rolls around that could wind up being the pick.
Below is a look at those 10 players and they’re ranked in the order that Daniel Jeremiah has them on his most recent Top 50 prospects list.
This list of ten players of course will not please all of you, but for the sake of this exercise, I want you to rank these players in the order that you think the Steelers should consider them in the attached poll.
For those of you that think I left a player out, feel free to name him in the comments below and tell me why you think that he deserves to be on the list.
Anthony Barr – Barr would slide right in as a backup outside linebacker in the Steelers system and depending on how many quarterbacks go early in the first round, there’s an outside chance he slides to the Steelers. Barr had 20 tackles for loss last season to go along with 10 sacks and six forced fumbles. He’s already used to playing standing up and that would figure to help him transition quickly.
Mike Evans – 151 catches for 2,499 yards and 17 touchdowns in two seasons at Texas A&M for Evans, who measures in at 6046, 231 pounds. Like Barr, if Evans slides, the Steelers would be hard pressed to pass on him. After Sammy Watkins goes, Evans will likely be the next wide receiver off the board.
C.J. Mosley – If the Steelers have legitimate interest in Mosley, they certainly are hiding it well. He could potentially play during his rookie season on special teams as nickel backer and eventually succeed Lawrence Timmons down the road. Why hasn’t there been any buzz about him over the last few months? Is that concerning at all for a player that is expected to be drafted in the top 15?
Justin Gilbert – Gilbert has all of the measurables that teams look for in a cornerback and he makes plays as well. On top of everything else, he can function as a return man. There are questions about his effort when it comes to run support, but it’s easy to see on tape why he is one of the top cornerbacks in this year’s draft class.
Taylor Lewan – The Steelers have reportedly done a lot a checking up on Lewan’s character and they were front and center for his Pro Day. Like a few other players listed above, there’s an outside chance he falls.
Eric Ebron – Ebron is considered by many to be the top tight end in this year’s draft class. His drops are concerning and he’ll have to focus on becoming a better blocker at the NFL level as well. History hasn’t been kind to tight ends in recent drafts, so there’s a chance he falls when you consider all of his warts.
Odell Beckham Jr. – While he’s not considered a “tall” wide receiver, Beckham is very well-rounded. It’s not too hard to see him being the third wide receiver off the board. How early is too early for him when you consider that this year’s draft class is loaded with wide receiver talent?
Darqueze Dennard – Dennard showed at Michigan State that he can play a physical brand of football. While he doesn’t have blazing long speed, he is good at press man coverage and his stats back that up. He likes to grab, however, and that could hurt him at the next level. In addition to his coverage skills, Dennard also showed in college that he’s willing to help out against the run. The Steelers really seem to like him.
Ryan Shazier – A playmaker that likely best fits as an inside linebacker with the Steelers. Like Mosley, Shazier would likely be able to contribute at some point during his rookie season as a nickel backer and on special teams. He’s at his best when covered up by the defensive line so that he can seek and destroy without having to fight through traffic. He has a great motor.
Kyle Fuller – If both Gilbert and Dennard are already gone, Fuller looks to be the best fit for the Steelers when it comes to cornerbacks. He has an NFL bloodline and excels in zone and off-man coverages. Like Beckham, however, 15 might be too high for him?