NFL.com draft analyst Bucky Brooks has now released his fifth mock of the offseason and this time around he has tackled the first two rounds of the 2014 NFL Draft.
Brooks has the Pittsburgh Steelers taking two defensive backs with their selections and his second round choice might surprise you.
In the first round, Brooks has the Steelers taking Michigan State cornerback Darqueze Dennard with the 15th overall selection.
The Steelers need to find a replacement for Ike Taylor as the designated No. 1 corner in the lineup. Dennard is an ideal fit with his grit, toughness and ball skills.
As you have seen over the course of the last few weeks, Dennard has become the favorite of several of the major media draftniks when it comes to the Steelers first round pick, so there is no shock value here.
With his second round selection for the Steelers, Brooks goes off of the beaten path as he has Washington safety Deone Bucannon tabbed as going to Pittsburgh with the 46th overall selection.
With Troy Polamalu nearing the end of a distinguished career, the Steelers need to groom a young, athletic safety to take his place. Bucannon is the ideal guy for the job with a strong nose for the ball and a penchant for delivering teeth-rattling shots in the hole.
Brooks obviously doesn’t see Shamarko Thomas as being Troy Polamalu’s successor. However, in his defense, the Steelers did bring Bucannon in for a pre draft visit. They’ve also had safeties Calvin Pryor and Brock Vereen in for visits as well, so perhaps Brooks thinks there’s a fire that is letting off all of this smoke.
The Steelers of course traded up last year to draft Thomas, so drafting another strong safety early this year would on the surface make that deal look bad. Perhaps, however, the Steelers see Thomas more as nickel/dime/quarters slot/backer defender for the long-term than they do a true strong safety.
After the Steelers signed Mike Mitchell early on in free agency to replace Ryan Clark, I had pretty much ruled out them drafting a safety this year, but it’s hard to ignore how many that have been brought in for visits.
This should make for some pretty good discussion. How many of you are now thinking that a safety will be drafted next month?