Steelers general manager Kevin Colbert wrapped up the 2014 NFL Scouting Combine before it had even started when he said this is one of the best drafts he's seen in his 30 years of evaluating pro talent.
The top of the draft is chock-full of intrigue, given the wide array of players who could potentially be taken in the top three. This is a draft that could legitimately see a defensive end who ran a 4.53 40-yard and a 1.56 10-yard split taken as late as sixth overall.
The projection of where Jadaveon Clowney will land in the 2014 NFL Draft will be a compelling storyline over the next few months. The projection of the Big Three quarterbacks, Blake Bortles, Johnny Manziel and Teddy Bridgewater, will be equally compelling.
The outstanding performances of Taylor Lewan and Greg Robinson boost their stock to nearly the same height as projected first tackle taken Jake Matthews. Add in the guy BTSC's own scouting team referred to as "the best defensive player in the draft," outside linebacker/defensive end Khalil Mack, and that's nine players who could land in the top 10, without even mentioning the supreme talent of wide receivers Sammy Watkins and Mike Evans.
Those are just the headliners in what appears to be an incredibly deep wide receiver group. Something would have gone horribly wrong for either Watkins or Evans if they are on the board when the Steelers select 15th overall.
Getting to cornerbacks, Oklahoma State's Justin Gilbert and Michigan State's Darqueze Dennard both had excellent performances in their workouts, with Gilbert, as expected, taking the win in athleticism. His 4.37 40 time led all cornerbacks and his 20 reps of 225 pounds on the bench press is certainly attention-grabbing.
That puts three players with the kind of film and workout combination that generally lands him in the top 10 falling out of the money, so to speak. Then there's North Carolina tight end Eric Ebron, fast-rising defensive tackle Aaron Donald of Pitt, Alabama linebacker C.J. Mosley, Ohio State linebacker Ryan Shazier and UCLA outside linebacker Anthony Barr.
Logically speaking, one of those 18 players will be on the board when the Steelers are on the clock. Some may fit better than others, but generally speaking, the crop of talent available in this draft is impressive.
Colbert and the Steelers' scouting department has its work cut out for them.