Holding only six picks at present, the Pittsburgh Steelers must make sure to get their off-season right. Here is a look at their 2014 NFL mock draft.
Round 1 – Justin Gilbert – CB – Oklahoma State
The late-season surge by the offense signals the Steelers can take their opportunity to keep reloading the defense with young talent. Getting a quality cover corner is a must. Justin Gilbert has the height, athleticism and instincts of a front line starter and should be a perfect fit for the Pittsburgh system.
Round 2 – Louis Nix – DT – Notre Dame
A lot of people vehemently believe Louis Nix won’t make it out of the first round. I am not one of them. The defensive tackle needs of the 3-4 teams aren’t strong enough that early, and coupled with his injury history it will be enough to drop him into the second where the Steelers gleefully await to commit highway robbery.
Round 4 – James Hurst – OT – North Carolina
Before suffering an untimely leg break, James Hurst was projected as a day two pick with loads of size and athleticism to hold his own against the best defensive linemen. His setback should drop him to the fourth. Even so the Steelers, who need to continue loading up the trenches will enjoy having him as a project.
Round 5 – Brandon Coleman – WR – Rutgers
Ben Roethlisberger has a number of quality weapons but he doesn’t really have a big receiver he can throw the ball up to on key downs and in the red zone. Brandon Coleman is not fleet-a-foot but the Rutgers standout is hard to miss at 6’6″, 220 lbs. His surprising speed and long arms will make him a downfield threat provided he fine tunes his technique.
Round 6 – Dontae Johnson – FS – N.C. State
N.C.State gets overlooked a lot for their talent production, especially at defensive back. Dontae Johnson is the latest example. A former cornerback, he shifted to safety for the team last season and stood out immediately for his tackling, body control and range. He needs more experience but the upside is obvious on tape.
Round 7 – Howard Jones – OLB – Shepherd
He played defensive end in school but scouts who have had a chance to watch Howard Jones play see a kid that is tailor made to play outside linebacker in a 3-4. He has the ability to explode off the edge and is among the fastest players on the field every game. The Pittsburgh Steelers thrive through their linebackers. Another pass rusher never hurts.