In most recent years, by the time the draft had finally arrived, it seemed more often than not that a near consensus had been reached on who the Pittsburgh Steelers would ultimately draft. At least, that was my reading.
This seemed to be the case when they drafted Maurkice Pouncey in 2010, and Cameron Heyward the year after. Last year, if he was available, it seemed likely that Jarvis Jones would be the pick. David DeCastro was an exception because he fell much further than expected.
With this draft, however, there seems to be a consensus growing more around a position rather than a specific player as to where the Steelers are likely to be headed with their first-round selection, which this year happens to be the 15th overall.
That it seems more geared toward a position rather than a player this year is not particularly surprising, given the unusually deep draft class available, where a single prospect that stands head and shoulders above the rest isn’t as prominent at most positions, with the possible exception of Jadeveon Clowney.
The cornerback position is one of those positions not only with no clear front-runner but also with a fairly healthy group at the top, which could potentially yield as many as four, perhaps even five first-rounders, depending on how things play out.
The Steelers have done little to throw the media off the cornerback scent, either, having met or are scheduled to meet with most of the top prospects.
Darqueze Dennard was in for a pre-draft visit at the beginning of this month. Both Mike Tomlin and Kevin Colbert were also in attendance for his Pro Day as well. As the draft approaches, he may indeed be honed in on as ‘the one’ destined for the Steelers.
Though not, as of yet, scheduled for a pre-draft visit, the Steelers did meet with Justin Gilbert during the Combine and they also attended his Pro Day. Kyle Fuller, gradually making his way up the list of mock drafts, is scheduled to be in for a pre-draft visit soon.
They’ve also brought in Bradley Roby and Jason Verrett for pre-draft visits, both of whom could squeeze into the back end of the first round. Roby has even been mocked to the Steelers in the first round at 15 once or twice, though crazy things tend to happen every now and then when it comes to analyzing mock drafts.
With Ike Taylor in his last season and very little depth behind Cortez Allen and William Gay, current personnel on hand dictate that the cornerback position must be addressed in significant fashion, and soon.
The Steelers’ pre-draft interests in many of the top prospects at the position strongly indicate that that is indeed a prime target area. The way the draft is likely to play out, there’s an excellent chance that at least one of the top three prospects will be available to them at 15. Are the stars beginning to align?