Sep 14, 2013; College Station, TX, USA; Texas A&M Aggies receiver Mike Evans (13) runs after a catch against Alabama Crimson Tide cornerback Deion Belue (13) at Kyle Field. Mandatory Credit: Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports

The Pittsburgh Steelers #15 NFL Draft Pick: Who Would I Take?


My rundown through the entire first round of the NFL draft continues as I examine the Pittsburgh Steelers who hold the #15 pick in the first round.

The Pick:  Mike Evans – WR – Texas A&M

I wasn’t sure the Vincent Jackson comparisons were warranted for Mike Evans, especially since he’s coming out of college after just two year.  After watching some tape and the scouting combine I’m beginning to understand why the two are often mentioned in the same breath.  Evans is every bit of 6’5″ with deceptive quickness and speed.  He has a variety of ways to gain separation from defenders and the explosion leg power to go up and get the football at the high point.  He is a nightmare on third down and in the end zone.  As he continues to hone his discipline and technique, he is only going to get better.

Why:  Ben Roethlisberger needs a reliable big target

The thing to remember about the Pittsburgh Steelers offense is they got by a lot in 2013 with smaller receivers.  Antonio Brown (5’10″) had an outstanding year while Jerricho Cotchery (6’1″) offered a slightly bigger and reliable target outside of tight end Heath Miller.  However they never truly had that imposing presence on the outside, the one who forced defenses to adjust their assignments in order to put their bigger corners in a specific place.  Ben Roethlisberger could do a lot of damage with such an advantage at his disposal.  It also would ease up the pressure on a struggle Steelers ground attack, opening up chances for Le’Veon Bell.

Argument:  Justin Gilbert offers help in aging Steelers secondary

There is no doubt the Pittsburgh Steelers defense needs attention as well.  Their once dominant core has slowly depleted due to age and the team has to continue bringing in young talent.  One area that seems to especially need it is the secondary.  Troy Polamalu and Ike Taylor are both well into their 30s and can’t be expected to carry the load anymore.  With Keenan Lewis gone, the team could really use a press corner who can assume the mantle once Taylor retires.  OklahomaState product Justin Gilbert would fit perfectly.  He’s lengthy, strong with great athleticism and the instincts to know when to get his head around to play the football.

Counter-argument:  Dick LeBeau and deep corner class can manage

There is no denying Gilbert would help but the truth is despite their struggles at times last season the Steelers defense still finished better in the rankings compared to the offense.  They have Dick LeBeau for their coordinator, one of the best in the business and most importantly the 2014 NFL draft class is reportedly very deep in corners.  It is not deep in a talent like Evans however.  Ben Roethlisberger is now their best hope to reach the Super Bowl and giving him such a big, athletic weapon will only help.

That is why I would take Mike Evans if I were in charge.  What are your thoughts?

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Tags: Ben Roethlisberger Dick Lebeau Justin Gilbert Mike Evans NFL Draft Pittsburgh Steelers

  • bk

    I agree that it is a deep corner class, but, with a mid second rd pick then nothing until rd 4… (unless they get a 3rd comp for wallace which most think will be a 4th) by the time the middle and end of rd 4 comes along all that depth will be gone…
    Still need a safety, DL help, young TE (which I think they can address in Rds 4-6)
    Losing that 3 from last year really hurts this year.
    I am still wondering what the draft fallout from the Tomlin sideline fiasco is going to be..I could see them dropping a Comp pick down a round for that..

    • mathew doakes

      The steelers will get a 3 gor Wallace trust snd believe if they take a pick would be a 6

      • mathew doakes

        For sorry typo

  • [email protected]

    Erik – neat, logical, and WRONG (as an old boss of mine used to say)!!! In reality, I think either one of these picks would do us wonders. Obviously, Evans is a unique talent and just to be clear, we NEVER have had ‘an imposing presence’ as long as I can remember – and I saw my first Steelers game live at Pitt Stadium in 1965!!! So, that would be truly unique for a Steelers offense. I have to disagree though, that the WR class won’t allow us to get a very good wideout after rd1 – we have a knack for getting great WRs very late in the draft (ABrown is a perfect example). Our offense’s ranking is a bit misleading in that they were AWFUL the first half, but made up some ground in the rankings by being OVER 28 POINTS PER GAME during the last 9 games.
    Besides, we have the kid from Oregon State who is a burner, and he easily will replace Emmanuel Sanders, so not sure the WR position is a true first round, burning platform.
    Now that we have Worilds for another year (and likely longer) no need to draft a pass rushing OLB high in the draft, and we have 3 young studs competing to play alongside Lawrence Timmons inside including Sean Spence who was awesome before he had a gruesome knee injury. So, if we draft a true NT in round 3 or 4 (Carrethers, or Tennessee’s McCullers), move Steve McClendon from NT (not his natural position) to DE, and allow some of our young DL-men to play this upcoming year (hope they allow Hood to walk), we are pretty solid at the first two levels – that leaves, SECONDARY. So with Troy back, Will Allen and Shamarko Thomas what position is really left to address? CB.
    Gilbert looks like a Steelers CB – long, fast, a bigger, faster version of Ike Taylor. We draft him, pay him rookie salary, can Ike T (something like a $7 million pickup on salary cap), done. Can Woodley (a given now that Worilds is signed), another $8 million pickup on salary cap and we’re set.
    So, Evans would be great, and the Steelers typically draft using BPA so we may end up taking him, but CB is the single largest need on the entire roster right now.

    • Erik Lambert

      Which is why I referenced it heavily. I just feel Evans offers more immediately than Gilbert does. Roethlisberger isn’t getting any younger and they have to maximize him NOW. I’d trust Dick LeBeau with a 2nd round corner way more than I’d trust Todd Haley with a 2nd round receiver.

  • Stanley Turner

    I fear Evans will be gone by the time we pick unless we trade up. I can see the Rams going offensive line with their first pick and taking Evans with the 13th pick. Also look out for the Bills and Jets as possible takers of Evans. I hope not cause I would hate to see a reciever of his pedigree on those teams.

    • Erik Lambert

      It’s possible but a lot can happen in the draft. If he’s there I feel the Steelers can’t pass on him.

  • gdubb

    Evens or gilbert would be nice additions and should help instantly