ESPN draft analyst Mel Kiper Jr. released another three-round mock draft Tuesday morning and it’s his first since the big trade took place last week between the Los Angeles Rams and Tennessee Titans that included the first overall selection being swapped.
As for the three selections Kiper made for the Pittsburgh Steelers, he mocked them Ohio State cornerback Eli Apple, Arizona State guard Christian Westerman and Duke safety Jeremy Cash and he writes of his choices:
The secondary is the top priority in this draft if I’m drafting, and the availability of Apple late in Round 1 makes him an easy call. He has length, outstanding athletic ability and a willingness to tackle. He needs to refine his cover skills, but that goes for just about any young cornerback, and Apple has tremendous talent. Westerman fills a need at guard where the Steelers could use a rookie with the ability to compete for a starting spot, and Cash is an outstanding box safety. The secondary could be the difference between playoff contention and Super Bowl contention, so I’m hitting it hard.
Kiper’s latest offering is realistic in the fact that the Steelers could come away from the first three rounds with a cornerback and safety. However, the chances of Apple being the Steelers first-round selection probably aren’t great as he will likely be off of the board come the 25th overall selection. Apple has been mocked to the Steelers in the first round quite a bit during the offseason.
In case you’re wondering, Kiper has Houston cornerback William Jackson III going 12th overall to the New Orleans Saints.
Kiper’s choice of Westerman for the Steelers in the second round is quite mind-boggling due to the fact that Ramon Foster was signed to a new three-year contract just prior to the start of the new league year. Additionally, right guard David DeCastro is expected to have his contract extended later on during the offseason. In short, drafting any offensive lineman before the sixth round probably shouldn’t be in the Steelers plans.
As for Cash, who finally was able to do a full workout for scouts last week now that he’s fully recovered from his minor injuries, he has already come to Pittsburgh for a pre-draft visit. Additionally, the Steelers had representatives present at his recent workout.
Cash is the only player mocked to the Steelers who has come to Pittsburgh for a visit. The Steelers, however, were present for Apple’s pro day.