These are some of my early prospects to watch for this season that could possibly be Drafted by the Steelers.
1. Louis Nix III, NT, Notre Dame
Nix was arguably more of a reason for Notre Dame's success than Manti Te'o. At 6'3" 326, Nix is a pure zero technique NT in a 3-4 system which could cause him to fall more than he should. He is your classic Casey Hampton-type player. He makes a living off of occupying multiple blockers to free up Linebackers. In 2012, he also had 2 sacks and an astonishing (for a 3-4 NT) 2 Interceptions. He could be a perfect fit for our Defense and he seems to be a player born to be a Steelers (much like Jarvis Jones this year). He should be high on Kevin Colbert's radar this season.
2. C.J. Mosely, ILB, Alabama
Before players declared whether they would be heading to the Draft or staying in school, most people (including myself) had Mosely mocked to the Steelers. He is a good cover Linebacker and has a knack for making plays. If he can improve against the run in 2013 and get stronger in Alabama's 3-4 Defense, he could be someone that the Steelers could be looking at to replace Larry Foote.
3. Stephon Tuitt, DE, Notre Dame
Tuitt has a lot of potential as a 3-4 DE (where he is likely best suited). According to Mel Kiper Jr, he has rare athleticism and explosiveness for a 300lb player. If Ziggy Hood doesn't make any improvements in his contract year, the Steelers could move on from him and go after someone new.
4. De'Anthony Thomas, RB/WR, Oregon
Arguably the most explosive player in college football now that Tavon Austin has left, Thomas just explodes off the screen when you watch him on tape. Coming from a school that is well known for speed, Thomas doesn't disappoint. At 5'9" 176, Thomas is a little smaller than what most teams are looking for, but he is extremely versatile as a player and could add an extra dimension to any Offense. If Reggie Dunn doesn't make the team, the Steelers could take a look at him next year and could see what they were hoping to get out of Chris Rainey.
5. Daniel McCullers, NT, Tennessee
I was upset that McCullers didn't declare for the Draft last year. He is probably the biggest player that has ever come out of the Draft at 6'8" 370lbs. If we don't have a chance to get Nix, McCullers would be my next choice as a zero technique NT. His size alone would be enough to occupy multiple blockers.