1. Kevin Johnson, CB, Wake Forest
I’m moving away from OLB here in the first. I’d still prefer to go that direction, and the team would probably like to if the value’s there, but my hunch is that the best player available will be a cornerback. I’m to the point I’m hoping they take a risk and go with Marcus Peters. I’m starting to think there’s a chance of that, because the Steelers have met with him multiple times. Still though, my gut tells me they go the safe route, and choose Johnson.
Carnell Lake was at Wake Forest’s pro day, obviously to get a good look at Johnson. KJ is a little different than most Steelers cornerbacks… He’s a great athlete and has some serious ball hawking skills. He’s very thin which causes him to miss some tackles. However, he’s not afraid to try to lay guys out. With some time in the weight room he could improve his tackling technique.
2. Danielle Hunter, OLB, LSU
I think the team would prefer to get their edge rusher first, because there’s a lot of cornerback talent in round 2. In fact, I considered doubling up at the position and grabbing Alex Carter here. Instead, the Steelers grab a project that not many people are talking about. I only started looking into Hunter when he had dinner with Mike Tomlin after LSU’s pro day.
Hunter would be a risky pick, but had he returned to school for his senior year, he may have blown up and been selected much higher next year. Here’s what to like. Hunter is big, long, and fast. He’s a tad light at 250 pounds but not as bad as Jarvis Jones. What I like is his frame looks like he could pack on another 10-15 pounds and really be dangerous. Hunter has a relentless motor to go with his impressive physique. He has the things you can’t coach… Here’s the bad though, he’s pretty sloppy technique wise, and the production just wasn’t there in school. He had a good number of tackles for loss, but only 1.5 sacks last season.
Finally, what I think the Steelers will really like, is that Hunter is very young. He won’t turn 21 until October 29th. They have a history of selecting those guys early. It could take some time, but with good coaching he could potentially be one of the most dangerous edge guys in this draft.
3. Senquez Golson, CB, Ole Miss
The Steelers have looked at a ton of cornerbacks in their pre-draft process, from all rounds. I think there’s a very good chance they double up on them. Golson’s skill-set makes him worth of a higher pick than this, but his height will drop him. Golson really fits what the Steelers have liked to do in the past. He played a ton of zone and off-man coverage in college and is a good tackler. Unlike past Steelers corners, Golson has some serious ball skills and was an interception machine, with 10 his senior season. Despite Golson only being 5’9″ I think he could really be an excellent NFL player.
With the departure of Troy Polamalu and Ike Taylor, the Steelers need some future locker room leaders in this draft. Golson was drafted by the Boston Redsox and turned down the decent signing bonus because he loved football.
4. Jesse James, TE, Penn State
If I had to guess on one guy ending up in the black and gold it might be James. The Steelers have really shown a lot of interest in him, and he fits what they look for. James should have returned to school for sure, because he’s really raw. That being said, he’s sort of a mix between Heath Miller and Matt Spaeth. He’s an ok receiver, and an ok blocker, but he has the frame and athleticism to potentially get much better in both departments.
5. Henry Anderson, DE, Stanford
Anderson is projected to go higher but I think he could available this late. I’ve liked a lot of Stanford front-7 guys of recent seasons, and Anderson is similar to a lot of them that have come out. Stanford runs a 3-4 and looks for very intelligent and versatile lineman, that may not be extremely athletic. Anderson fits that. I like a lot about him, and think he’d be a solid rotational backup but lacks the size and athleticism to be a starter. The team is set with Cam and Tuitt but depth needs to be re-stocked.
6. Matt Jones, RB, Florida
I don’t really think the team needs to draft a running back, but they could find a really solid one late in this draft. Under Urban Meyer you saw a lot of scat backs and speed out of Florida like Chris Rainey and Percy Harvin; Jones is not one of those backs. Matt Jones is a power back first, but has some quick (not fast) skills as well. Jones could be a long-term LaGarette Blount-like backup to Le’Veon Bell.
6 (comp). Deontay Greenberry, WR, Houston
Greenberry was a 5 star recruit out of high school, and had a good career at Houston but was one of the bigger combine snubs. He didn’t run a great 40 which is why he’s available later, but he has a nice skill set and all around game. He’d be a nice gamble this late.
7. Quinton Spain, OG/OT, West Virginia
Spain is a nasty guard/right tackle type of mauler. He has position versatility and some quickness in space to go along with weight room strength. He doesn’t always play as strong as he is though because his hand placement is a mess. He could easily wash out of camp, but is worth a shot to see in Munchak can help him put it all together.