2014 Steelers Draft Exercise – Rank These 10 Potential First Round Targets

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?

  • blackandgoldBullion

    Oh, this is gonna be good. The opinions will vary immensely, I’m sure.

  • Steelers12328882

    I don’t think anyone would pass on Mike Evans over any of the CBs if he’s still on the board.

  • joed32

    I can’t draft another UCLA pass rushing LB because of Bruce Davis. It’s a jinxed pick.

  • Steelers12328882

    If I had a player(s) I felt was left out I’d say probably the 2 Safeties, Clinton-Dix and Pryor, and even though I don’t think the Steelers will draft either I also don’t think they’ll go TE, OT or ILB either, so might as well include them.

  • Asmitty56

    I’d really be fine with any of them. In order I’d say
    Mike Evans, Odell Beckham Jr., Anthony Barr, Justin Gilbert, Darqueze Dennard, Kyle Fuller, Ryan Shazier, CJ Mosley, Taylor Lewan, Eric Ebron. I’d also throw in Brandon Cooks and Jason Verrett.

  • grw1960

    1 -Evens, could be the difference maker the offense needs.
    2-Barr, appears to be a faster version of Jarvis Jones
    3 – Fuller, seems to be the the best fit for the Steelers D.
    4 Dennard, good cover CB, but stiff hips , not a good in the back pedaling department. Could replace Ike in the 2nd half the season. But could he fill in elsewhere if needed?
    5 – Gilbert , is the CB with the most upside of the 3. But what if the upside doesn’t show up?

  • Randy Neff

    1 Lewan
    2 Evans
    3 Gilbert
    4 Beckham
    5 Z. Martin-will go higher than expected
    6 Barr
    7 Fuller
    8 Dennard
    9 Shazier
    10 Ebron

  • John21

    Mike Evans
    Anthony Barr
    Justin Gilbert
    Taylor Lewan
    Kyle Fuller
    Darqueze Dennard
    Odell Beckham Jr.
    C.J. Mosley
    Eric Ebron
    Ryan Shazier

  • Biggie

    If going strickly by the ten listed and BPA I’d say.

    1 Evans – Not happening but close to a can’t miss prospect. Brown/Evans/Wheaton/Moore would be outstanding WR core. Ben would be smiling.
    2 Barr – Dominate guy who’d give us great OLB rotation and depth.
    3 Mosley – Would start immediately opposite Timmons inside.
    4 Gilbert – Can switch Gilbert/Dennard at 4 and 5 would be happy with either.
    5 Dennard
    6 Beckham – A reach at 15, WR depth to good to reach for receiver.
    7 Fuller – 3rd best CB, also a reach at 15, maybe in a move back.
    8 Shazier – Very interesting jack of all trade, but later round guy, maybe after 20.
    9 Ebron – One dimensional, poor blocker. TE can be had in Rds 2 and 3.
    10 Lewan – Overated, headcase. I’d have Martin ahead of him.

  • Eric MacLaurin

    Interesting results so far. I had ebron, Lewan and Evans at the top followed by Barr and then the cb’s

  • Wing t

    I would go Gilbert, Evans then dennard

  • treeher

    I might include Bradley Roby, although his brushes with the po-lice give me pause.

  • michael

    This was a fun exercise, thanks

  • Shannon-Paul Martin

    R. Hagemann should have been on it imo.Look @ our D-line depth chart. Besides 97 & 90 we mediocre. Evans 2. Fuller 3. Dennard 4. Barr 5. Shazier 6. Gilbert 7. Beckham 8. Mosley 9. Ebron 10. Lewan

  • Steve

    The best LB this year should be Kalib Mack from Buffalo. He should also be in the top 10 and could fit right in our 3-4 system should someone go down. Watched tape on Shazier and Mosley and Mack has both beat IMO.

  • j m

    My thoughts exactly. It’s like an RB from Illinois — forever dead to me.

  • Travis Brockie

    Aaron Donald, dont care how big he is. if he is there, you take him. period.

  • Travis Brockie

    Mack could very well be the No. 1 Overall pick. this list is based on projected people available. IMO you should read the article before commenting. LOL

  • j m

    Complete misfit for a 3-4.

  • Shannon Stephenson

    I am always an odd ball
    Gilbert-size and versatility plus he makes big plays
    Mosely-cant miss pick. as solid as they come
    Ebron-gives you the big receiver plus the miss matches it would bring
    Beckham-versatility here as well as he can also play in the return game
    Dennard-I do not feel he is a good fit for our defense but he is IMO the best CB in this draft
    Evans-I love his size but I feel he is over rated
    Lewan-he could be a huge steal in this draft but I do not know his entire life history
    Barr -I am always worried about a DE going OLB in any round…big risk
    Fuller-not on the bandwagon quite yet
    Shazier-where has this guy popped up from? I would not even consider him till the 2nd

  • Steel LJ

    at 15 if there all gone trade back if you can
    and get

  • Kyle Owens

    1. Kelvin Benjamin

  • Travis Brockie

    why couldnt he play as a DE