2014 NFL Draft: Steelers Big Board (by ranking)

Spruce Derden-USA TODAY Sports

A complete breakdown of prospects leading into the 2014 NFL Draft, organized by ranking. This is a living table with all updates being published in real time as draft day draws closer.

This list shows players by their overall ranking and value. Click here for our Big Board by position list.

RULE 1 - Order is based on value to the Steelers. I start from a prospect's highest realistic grade and then mark downwards for failure to fit the Steelers' openings, system, or other requirements. Positions with an enormous downgrade are moved to the "Ain't Gonna Happen" list at the end. No one ever gets marked up because of need.

RULE 2 - Organized by Highest Value ("HV#"). An HV of 4:116 means the player is a reach at any point before Pick # 16 of the 4th Round, but good value at any point thereafter. Players with the same HV# are more-or-less equivalent, so within that rank they are grouped by position: Defense, then Offense, inside to out and then alphabetically. The rounds are subdivided for the sake of easier comparisons:

  • 1st Round grades: HV 1:5, 1:10, 1:15, 1:20, or 1:25. The Steelers pick at 1:15.
  • 2nd Round grades: Early (HV 2:33), Mid (HV 2:44), or Late (HV 2:57). The Steelers pick at 2:46.
  • 3rd Round grades: Early (HV 3:65), Mid (HV 3:77), or Late (HV 3:84). The Steelers pick at 3:97 (comp).
  • 4th Round grades: Early (HV 4:101), Mid (HV 4:116), or Late (HV 4:128). The Steelers pick at 4:118.
  • 5th Round grades: Early (HV 5:141) or Late (HV 5:156). The Steelers pick at 5:157 and 5:173 (comp).
  • 6th Round Grades: (HV 6:177). The Steelers pick at 6:193 and 6:215 (comp).
  • 7th Round Grands (7:216). The Steelers pick at 7:231.
Click here for a running list of every 2014 NFL Draft prospect the Steelers have spoken with since January.

ROUND 1 GRADES

HV 1:01

Jadeveon Clowney, OLB, South Carolina - 6'5-1/4", 271 lbs. Otherworldly talent speaks for itself. No true human can be that big and still run a sub-4.5 40 yard dash. Yes, there are questions. Yes, he would fit best as a 4-3 DE. But why bother thinking about such things when it isn't going to happen?

HV 1:01

Khalil Mack, OLB, Buffalo - 6'2-1/2", 251 lbs. A tremendous athlete that might be compared to the early 2013 picks Mingo and Jordan. Mike Mayock has him as the #1 defensive player, even ahead of Clowney. So does our own Steel34D, as shown by this BTSC Scouting report. Here is a similarly complimentary scouting report by a retired NFL Defensive End.

HV 1:01

Sammy Watkins, WR, Clemson - 6'0-3/4", 211 lbs. The consensus pick as this year's top receiver. In his "Short List" article Neal wrote: "There's a difference between "fast" and "explosive" as far as scouting clichés go. Watkins isn't going to leave scorched turf after his feet hit the ground, but he has such a powerful stride, he becomes a tough cover for weak cornerbacks. He's aggressive and competitive with the ball in the air, but he can still get himself open. His development as a player will be very interesting; seems like a great fit in a Ben Roethlisberger-led offense."

HV 1:05

Anthony Barr, OLB, UCLA - 6'4-7/8", 255 lbs. A tremendous and special athlete comparable to the early 2013 picks Mingo and Jordan. He'll require a redshirt year to develop physically and skills-wise, but the general athleticism is off the charts. A great but not stellar Combine left us with an idle dream that he might fall to 1:15, but then came the pro day Barr where did absurd things like run an (electronically timed) 4.45. [Sigh]. Here is the BTSC scouting report. Here is a fun SBNation scouting report/article on Barr's extraordinary nonstop motor and why it will make him a great pro. And this is the scouting report from Walter Football. With the release of Lamarr Woodley the Steelers have a real lack of depth at OLB. Barr would have been a dream come true, but it's not going to happen. Came to Pittsburgh for a private visit.

HV 1:05

Mike Evans, WR, Texas A&M - 6'4-3/4", 231 lbs. At the Combine Mike Evans proved that he is the best big receiver in this class. He leaped out of the building, caught everything, ran surprisingly well, and basically answered every question you could ask. He even has great body control from his basketball days, and is used to improvising for a QB who extends plays. My only remaining qualm is the question of how he got handled so easily by the 5'10" EJ Gaines (CB out of Missouri). That is not enough to keep him from being a true steal at 1:15. Click here for a BTSC scouting report, or go here for the SB Nation report, or click here for Walter Football's scouting report. It would be hard to design a better receiver for what the Steelers want.

HV 1:10

Justin Gilbert, CB, Oklahoma State - 6'0-1/8", 202 lbs. Justin Gilbert reminds you of a certain CB of the 1990's ... but it's Deion Sanders more than Rod Woodson. Gilbert is a certifiable athletic genius with a flair (and lust) for the big interception, the big return, and the spotlight. He even likes the occasional big hit, though he's not so big on formal "tackling." The question is, would the next Prime Time Show really be a hit with the blue collar Steelers? Especially since it will take Gilbert a year to learn the position, and we have to expect him to pull a Mike Wallace when free agency rolls around? Keep in mind that the learning year is not optional. Gilbert has all the talent in the world but some of his skills (like a truly bad backpedal) are severely shy of the line and it will take some real, focused effort if he wants to be Sanders (or Revis) instead of Antonio Cromartie. Thus the actual grade is two-fold: early 2nd as a cornerback, and top-of-the-world as a prospect who looks "as if he was physically molded by Dick LeBeau" to be a star. Neal reached a similar conclusion in this more recent and careful scouting report where he acknowledged that Gilbert "could be one of the 20 best athletes in the NFL the minute he steps on a field," but hesitated nevertheless because he "may be just an athlete, not a football player." Bottom Line For The Board: Justin Gilbert's all-world potential combined with his superb skills as a kick returner earns a top grade, BUT ONLY with the understanding that interviews and background checks will really matter. Coachability and Prima-Donna-ism could either cement that grade or knock him off the Board completely; two vital evaluations that we can't do at BTSC. The Steelers are exploring him for sure, since they had a private visit. If you want more information, try this scouting report from Walter Football. Or just don't bother, because it's not going to happen. Mel Kiper considers Gilbert the top cornerback in this draft. OTOH, the BTSC consensus was much less supportive during the SB Nation Mock Draft where Neal and Steel34D chose Aaron Donald instead.

HV 1:10

Jake Matthews, OT, Texas A&M - 6'5-1/2", 308 lbs. An elite tackle who would be a real upgrade even if we trust Mike Adams to "get it". I hate to put any offensive linemen on the Board before Round 6, but Matthews could be special.

HV 1:10

Greg Robinson, OT, Auburn - 6'5, 332 lbs. Robinson blew up the Combine so thoroughly that he moved from "we don't need an offensive lineman" to "this kid is too good to ignore if he's there. He and Jake Matthews are the only offensive linemen I would take before Round 6.

HV 1:15

Aaron Donald, DE, Pitt - 6'0" 285 lbs. A potentially great Tackle in the 4-3 who doesn't fit the physical prototype for a 3-4 defender, but has so much talent that the Steelers could easily pick him anyway on the premise that talented coaches can find ways to use talented players. Donald has great strength, excellent technique, top-notch intangibles and performance, plus truly extraordinary speed to get penetration off the snap in a 1-gap scheme. He was almost the first entry to the Ain't Gonna Happen List, but has been rehabilitated in deference to Paper Champions' recent article. Nor has PC been the only person to make the Geno Atkins comparison. See this article from the NFL Network's Bucky Brooks. But I'm still playing Doubting Thomas to some extent; if the Steelers played a 4-3 I'd have Donald all the way up as a potential top-10. Came to Pittsburgh for a private visit but don't read too much into that: local colleges don't count against the permitted total. This is the SB Nation scouting report, which I can particularly recommend since it comes from retired NFL DE Stephen White, and which starts like this: "The truth is, if Donald was three inches taller he would easily be my No. 1 overall draft pick in May." For a detailed discussion of how the Steelers might use a player like Donald, see the SB Nation Mock Draft pick by Neal and Steel34D, including some very thoughtful Comments. Aaron Donald may be an out-of-the-box idea for the traditional Steelers 3-4, but that doesn't mean it's a bad one. The pass rush must get better one way or another.

HV 1:15

C.J. Mosley, ILB, Alabama - 6'2", 234 lbs. Why does he rank so high? You can start with the SB Nation scouting report (Mosley "grades out as one of the 10 best players in this class. Few players are better at their position than Mosley is at inside linebacker. Furthermore, no inside linebacker in this class is even close to Mosley. He should make an impact as a rookie in the NFL."). Now go here and look at the December 26, 2013 comments from Rob Rang ("a coach's dream at linebacker ... terrific diagnostic skills ... a virtual coach on the field whose athleticism and quick hands make him equally dangerous in pass coverage and run support, [etc.]"). Now look at Steel34D's scouting report, which ends with a comparison to Luke Kuechly. And now go look at this article on who Mosley is and what he is like. Finally, see my comment in an early thread on "Why Mosley is #1 on my daydream Board." Why doesn't he rank even higher? There is exactly one question about Mosley as a prospect: health and durability. This grade assumes he passes all medical checks and then drops him a tiny bit out of phantom terrors that the doctors don't know their jobs. If the medicals come back with question marks, his grade would of course drop even further. The Steelers already have Sean Spence, Vince Williams, Arthur Moats, and Terence Garvin vying for the spot next to Lawrence Timmons, so it isn't a gaping hole. But if Colbert & crew agree that Mosley's career floor is "Twilight Ray Lewis for 10-15 years" that is run-to-the-podium stuff for a #15 pick. His stock used to be even higher, but came down a small notch when the Steelers retained Arthur Moats for linebacker depth. Mosley was also one of the four players discussed in this article on playing chess with the "other" positions.

HV 1:15

Darqueze Dennard, CB, Michigan State - 5'10-7/8", 199 lbs. Dennard ran okay at the Combine but gave ammunition to the opinion that he is a corner who will excel in press coverage but might struggle in zone. The Steelers play a LOT of zone, which pushes him down a bit. A Patriots' draft page did an adoring write up in this nice article. Profootballspot.com has a similar review here. For a more thorough, professional, reliable, and less glowing but still positive viewpoint, look at this BTSC scouting report by Steel34D. Walter Football's scouting report can be found here. And this is a very admiring scouting report from our sister site for NY Jets. Note that I had Dennard’s grade all the way down into Round 2 until Paper Champions published this article, which explained that zone and man coverage schemes have become much less distinct, and discussion ensued in the comments of this article, where people explained that Dennard's skill set would pair well for the Steelers if he was covering the short (boundary) side of the field while Cortez covered shiftier players in the broader areas of green. Given that understanding, he would still be a reach at 1:15 but not an extraordinary one. Dennard on the boundary side, Allen on the field side, and a shifty player in the slot would make a dream secondary for many years to come. The Steelers scheduled a visit with Dennard April 3. Dennard has been falling in the final weeks of the draft process, but not enough for BTSC to vote him as the community choice in our annual mock draft.

HV 1:15

Kyle Fuller, CB, Virginia Tech - 5'11-3/4", 190 lbs. A good, fluid and fast athlete who is willing to tackle. He also gets points for the family connection: brother Vincent Fuller who played 5 years as a Titans Safety. Fuller was lauded as a "complete" package in this nice article on a Patriots site, with a similar analysis noting his lack of elite speed in this article. He started as the surprise #3 CB on Mike Mayock's Board and has now cemented himself as the #1. The most interesting thing is that Mayock fits a pattern. You can find Neal's BTSC scouting report here, which had Fuller at about the #3 CB, and now he too has Fuller as the best CB fit for Pittsburgh. There appears to be something subtle about this kid's game, where the more you look the more you like what you see.

HV 1:15

Odell Beckham, Jr., WR, LSU - 5'11-1/4", 198 lbs. Neal's BTSC scouting report sums things up nicely: Odell Beckham, Jr. "plays bigger than he is, he has good hands, good athleticism, toughness and good route-running skills. Add in intelligence to that." Beckham may not be as big as the Steelers want for a red zone weapon, but he gets open, catches the ball, makes plays when he gets it, and blocks for others when he doesn't. And like the cherry on top, Beckham is also a top option as a a kick returner. A realistic projection for OBJ would include years very similar to Antonio Brown's performance in 2013. His ceiling could be anything. And just imagine what Ben would do with "only" two AB's on the field at the same time. This Walter Football scouting report basically sums Beckham up as Mike Wallace plus exceptional hands and route running ability, but I have to agree with our own Greig Clawson who said Beckham is more "like a combination of Holmes and AB. Nothing wrong with that." The quote came from BTSC's discussion about Beckham in this article about a Kiper mock draft. Beckham was also discussed at length in this article where Daniel Jeremiah also mocked him to the Steelers at #15. These led to a proper By the way, about those hands... Beckham is responsible for my single favorite highlight clip - you have to see it to believe it. The Steelers took him out for dinner at his pro day, which indicates a genuine interest. Odell Beckham, Jr. may not be the Steelers' actual pick but he is certainly on the short list.

HV 1:15

Kelvin Benjamin, WR, Florida State - 6'5", 240 lbs. Kelvin Benjamin is the prototypical "big receiver who is not a Tight End," and we know the Steelers are interested because they met with Benjamin privately at his pro day. Just to compare, Plaxico Burress' measurables at the Combine were 6'6", 232 lbs. and a 4.59 second 40-yard dash. Benjamin is an inch shorter, a bit heavier, and ran almost exactly the same (4.61 with a bad start). So ... is the next Plaxico (#8 overall in 2000) worth our 1st-Round pick? Benjamin is both bigger and older than most draft picks (23), but he still has a lot of puppy to him, which means he should be moldable in a good environment like the Pittsburgh locker room. The big knock in college was the occasional drop, but he looked great in the Combine shuttle and the film watchers universally agree (shocking but true - the reports are totally consistent) that the drops came from looking upfield too soon. Walter Football did a scouting report you can find here. Here is a recent BTSC scouting report in which Neal confirms that Kelvin Benjamin has a truly awesome boom potential, but is so raw from the skills and mental point of view that danger lurks as well. Finally, this is an excellent scouting report from a retired NFL player. The overall verdict seems to be clear: Benjamin is not just big, he's physically huge; the size fools people into thinking he's a one-trick pony but it isn't true because there's a lot of skill there too; he grades out at the very edge of "worthy" for our pick at 1:15; he would be a very likely pick in a trade down scenario; and he would be a major steal if he somehow falls to 2:46.

HV 1:16

Taylor Lewan, OT, Michigan - 6'7", 309 lbs. Steel34D did a fine scouting report on Taylor Lewan in early April, with some derivative analysis in this article on playing chess with the "other" positions (such as Offensive tackle). For a slightly more critical outlook ("good but not great") see this scouting report from 34D's favorite on-line expert, former NFL defensive end Stephen White. Those discussions (and the Comments) do an admirable job of explaining why Lewan is such a divisive option. On the upside, he's a tremendous athlete in general (proved at the Combine with some amazing stats) and a blue-chip pass protector with almost unique movement skills that could fit a Haley offense perfectly. On talent alone he is as good a pick as any of the OT's who went Top-5 last year, and close behind Matthews and Robinson in this year's draft. The downside is equally well known, however. Taylor Lewan has a big reputation for "serious a--hole" behavior on and off the field, and is currently under a criminal indictment for aggravated assault (a misdemeanor), with more serious smoke swirling about from earlier accusations by a young woman. Bottom Line: if the Steelers hesitate about signing Gilbert when he becomes a free agent next year, and bigger worries than BTSC about Mike Adams' struggles or Beachum's physical limitations (two out of the three), AND the professional scouts green flag the character issues despite the swirling smoke, Lewan's talent is enough to justify a pick at 1:15. But the team will be doing triple-checks to be sure there is no fire beneath that smoke, and will probably want to double check those results as well. The odd grade is there to reflect these question marks.

*** STEELERS PICK AT 1:15 ***

HV 1:20

Ryan Shazier, ILB, Ohio State - 6'1", 237 lbs. The #2 ILB prospect on the Board after Mosley. Shazier started with a 3rd Round grade on this Board because he played his college ball as a slightly taller version of Sean Spence - light, fast, but very iffy as a run stuffer. The available research described him as a superb prospect to play the weakside linebacker in a 4-3 because he is fast, instinctive, and a good playmaker in space, and then went on to add that those same traits might have made him a great fit as an inside linebacker for the 3-4 if only he wasn't so light. For a particularly thoughtful example, see this BTSC scouting report by Neal Coolong. Fast forward to the Combine, where Shazier showed up with 12 pounds of muscle that hadn't been there during his college career, and put up vertical- and broad-jump numbers that show no loss of explosiveness. Then go to his pro day, where he ran faster than almost every WR and DB in the draft. But can he pack on a dozen pounds more than he's built up now? And does his background as a coach's son really guarantee that can he handle the "field general" part of the job? All of this makes Ryan Shazier a fringe contender for the Steelers' 1st round pick, and an all-but-must if he falls to the 2nd. His stock used to be even higher, but came down a small notch when the Steelers retained Arthur Moats for linebacker depth. Here are a recent SB Nation scouting report and a Walter Football scouting report ("For the NFL, Shazier is an ideal run-and-chase linebacker") to round things off. The Steelers had Shazier in for a visit on April 3, so he may be a very real target in the 1st and a favorite for the Pittsburgh pick if he falls all the way to 2:46. Shazier was also one of the four players discussed in this article on playing chess with the "other" positions.

HV 1:20

Bradley Roby, CB/KR, Ohio State - 5'11-1/4", 194 lbs. Roby had a lot of hype going in to the 2013 season and then underperformed. The big question is why. Profootballspot.com provides a nice, concise summary. Mike Mayock and Deion Sanders thought the problem lay with "poor eye discipline" and a lack of training in the fundamentals. If so, that would go far toward explaining how he got beat so resoundingly by the guys like Jared Abbrederis who run great routes. This scouting report from Walter Football explores those issues as well as some others. Bottom line: the kid has lightning speed and good reflexes, but he lacks either the neural connections (ability to split his eye concentration in multiple ways) or the training to put those talents to use. That makes him much more of a boom-or-bust candidate than I was hoping to see and makes him a fringe contender for the Steelers' 2nd-round pick. Came to Pittsburgh for a private visit, and has been rising up Boards consistently throughout April. The respected Daniel Jeremiah recently mocked Roby to the Steelers at 1:15.

HV 1:20

Jason Verrett, CB/KR, TCU - 5'9-1/2", 189 lbs. If Verrett was 4" taller and 20 lbs. heavier he'd be a top-10 prospect - and maybe in the top 5. Here is one scouting report from Walter Football, and here is another scouting report from SB Nation (who has Verrett as its #1 corner). As Mayock said, Jason Verrett is a straight-out football player. With these size limitations, however, Verrett will be limited to covering the slot. He's the ideal counter to a Wes Welker type (or an Antonio Brown), but would be sorely abused by any of the modern goliath-sized WR's or uber-athletic TE's. OTOH, he's an ace kick returner, which restores some of that value, and we should have a shot at several full-sized corners in the 4th-5th range, which helps him even more. He had a pre-draft visit with the Steelers April 2.

HV 1:20

Eric Ebron, TE, North Carolina - 6'4-3/8", 250 lbs. A quote from Mike Mayock: "[Ebron] is a better athlete than Vernon Davis. Not as fast, but a better athlete. I think he'll make an impact much faster than Vernon Davis did. I wouldn't blink an eye if this kid went in the top 10." Ooookay... In this gif-supported scouting report Neal summarized him as a "phenomenally gifted athlete" with many similarities to Heath Miller, concluding as follows: "When he grows into his frame and refines his blocking technique, he'll be an excellent all-around tight end. Until then, he may just be a great receiving option. Tough to have too many of those." 'Nuff said. The Walter Football scouting report echoes that, with phrases like "extremely rare speed and athleticism," "supreme receiving tight end," and "mismatch nightmare." The SB Nation scouting report says "he is poised to be the next game-changing tight end in the pros," and makes the important point that "Ebron isn't quite as behind as a blocker as some make him seem." If you want a more skeptical view, see this review on a Ravens site. Ebron was one of the four players discussed in this article on playing chess with the "other" positions. Bottom Line: Eric Ebron has been criticized on BTSC by people would prefer other players and positions at #15 overall. That may be the right conclusion but it does not alter the fact that this is an exceptional prospect, and if the mental side checks out he would make a great and productive Steeler for many years to come.

HV 1:20

Jordan Matthews, WR, Vanderbilt - 6'3-1/8", 212 lbs. He's tall; he has good speed; he has great hands; he has top-notch body control; and he broke the all-time receiving record for the SEC. Or to put it another way, freakish production and all-but-great measurements in every other way. Here is Steel34D's BTSC Scouting Report, and here is Walter Football's scouting report. The words you see most often? "Smart" and "cousin of Jerry Rice." Your author would dearly love to see Matthews in Black & Gold - more than Kelvin Benjamin if the truth be told - but putting hunches aside it must be admitted that he's a minor reach at 1:15 and he killed off any dream that he'd fall to 2:46 by running an exceptional time (4.46) at the Combine. Alas.

HV 1:25

Kyle Van Noy, OLB/ILB, BYU - 6'3-1/8", 243 lbs. The more you read about Kyle Van Noy, the more he seems like the profile you read about Lawrence Timmons before he got drafted at 1:15 back in 2007. Timmons was 6-1 and 234 lbs., Van Noy is 2 inches taller and the same weight; they are both tremendous athletes (though Timmons may have a little edge there); and both create(d) "fit" issues because they are 'tweeners' who are half 3-4 OLB and half ILB. Timmons ended up on the inside and no one in Steeler Nation has ever regretted the pick. Van Noy looks like he'll end up as a tremendous something too. But what? See this scouting report from nflmocks.com, and this other (more questionable) one from optimumscouting.com for longer discussions of the same thing. If you want to know even more, check out this article on Van Noy's personal background. Finally, here is a scouting report from Walter Football. So ... is it a lack of "fit" or the asset of versatility? I say Kyle Van Noy is a flat-out football player who would, at the very least, be able to save us a roster spot by ably backing up both the ILB and OLB positions. A huge 2nd-round bargain.

HV 1:25

Jace Amaro, TE, Texas Tech - 6'5-3/8", 265 lbs. Getting a true counterpart for Heath would be sooo cool. On film, Amaro is a TE who has WR skills who is even bigger than Mike Evans (the WR) but looked just as fast. The only questions were about his blocking skills, mostly because Texas Tech never used him that way. Then he went to the Combine and produced results 180 degrees opposite to the film. He ran poorly; he dropped passes he shouldn't have; but he looked every bit the NFL-sized blocker and put up a ton of reps on the bench press. Go figure. Look for a flurry of new scouting reports from all the experts going back to review his film in more detail. Here is a BTSC scouting report from April 1 that describes Amaro as "the next Joker." The experts have been flip-flopping Jace Amaro back and forth with Austin Seferian-Jenkins as the #2 and #3 TE's, but the overall grades are consistent: both should go between the early to mid 20's and the mid to late 50's. Both would make fine additions to the Steelers at 2:46.

HV 1:25

Austin Seferian-Jenkins, TE, Washington - 6'5-1/2", 262 lbs. This scouting report reflects a consensus view: ASJ is one of those newfangled basketball player/TE types, with very good speed, very good hands, fantastic size, and average blocking ability. Here is a recent and thorough scouting report from Walter Football, that deserves to be quoted at length:

Seferian-Jenkins looks like he could develop into a receiving tight end who is among the elite of the NFL similar to Jimmy Graham, Vernon Davis or Rob Gronkowski. Seferian-Jenkins is a dangerous weapon who has mismatch size and speed. He has excellent quickness to get open running down the field and uses his size to make catches over defensive backs. Seferian-Jenkins is superb in the red zone as he can make acrobatic receptions in the back of the end zone. Because of his size and speed, Seferian-Jenkins is a nightmare for defenses; he is rarely truly covered.

Not only is Seferian-Jenkins a dynamic receiver, but he is a decent blocker entering the NFL. Seferian-Jenkins still has room for improvement, but last year, he was a real contributor to Sankey having a big season. Seferian-Jenkins has the size and strength to push defenders and uses his athleticism to hit blocks on the second level.

This recent scouting report from SB Nation is just as positive: "He's so smooth for his size, he often looks like he's jogging, but he eats up a ton of field." Compared to Amaro and Ebron, ASJ is the most "Tight-Endish" of the three, if you take my meaning. The biggest issues are (a) his college breakout year was 2012 while the other two peaked in 2013, and (b) there are hints on tape that he might be a little "soft." Pittsburgh fans desperately want our TE's to be legitimate receiving options, but we flat-out demand that they be hard-nosed tone setters that put the fear of Lumber into DB's coming over the middle. A receiver's mindset at the TE position is not going to fly unless we're talking about Anquan Boldin or Hines Ward as the receiver. These questions are enough to put ASJ in the category of "Very intriguing but requiring research beyond our ability into intangible things that even the scouts can only project." Other Notes: ASJ won the 2013 Mackey award nevertheless, but it is a minor-league scandal because Amaro and Ebron outplayed him from a statistical point of view. A fractured foot bone prevented him from running at both the Combine and his pro day, but the pundits reports that he has dropped some weight and is in tremendous shape. And just to put rumor to rest ... in March of 2013 ASJ was arrested on a DUI. That isn't good, but his high-quality reaction to that arrest speaks volumes more. IMO it's an overall plus: character that came through the fire well tempered gets an edge over kids who have never been tested (or caught) in a similar mistake.

HV 1:25

Brandin Cooks, WR/KR, Oregon - 5'9-3/4", 189 lbs. Brandin Cooks has a lot going in his favor. He's as fast and shifty as you could ever ask for; has great hands, body control, etc.; and has top notch intangibles and production. There's really just a single flaw - 5'9". By all rights he should go in the mid-1st. But the question is, should the Steelers take him if he somehow falls to 2:46? The answer depends on a matter of pure opinion: are three shifty, Brown/Wheaton-types as valuable to the team as two Brown/Wheaton's and a taller counterpart? If the Steelers think the answer is "yes," they should leap on the chance to draft Brandin Cooks in the 2nd. If the answer is "no," another player might fit better. Here is the BTSC scouting report.

HV 1:25

Allen Robinson, WR, Penn State - 6'2-3/8", 220 lbs. He's tall, productive, has good hands and body control, and he's a local. The essential "but" is that he's a tweener. He's not quite tall enough to be that elusive "big receiver" and he's not quite fast enough to be a top receiver who also happens to be tall. Robinson's 40-time at the Combine was only "okay" (a 4.60), but his cone drills, vertical, broad jump results were all excellent. So people were thinking, "slower than expected, but very agile and explosive." Then came his pro day, with a 4.47 dash and similar improvements on the other tests (most notably a ridiculous 42" vertical that would have been tops at the Combine by a whole inch). So what are people supposed to think now? The answer is, "go back to the tape" that showed a solid 1st-round talent. In another year he would be gone by 2:46, but with this year's depth Allen Robinson has to be considered a prime target. In addition, the Steelers had a private visit with Robinson, and Coach Tomlin was at his pro day. This scouting report from Walter Football compares Robinson to Anquan Boldin, as a receiver who is "polished ... well-put-together, physical, quick, and dangerous to pick up yards after the catch."

ROUND 2 GRADES

HV 2:33

Ra'Shede Hageman, DE/NT, Minnesota - 6'5-7/8", 310 lbs. A remarkable athlete who could probably play both Defensive End and Nose Tackle in the 3-4 if he stays motivated. With the loss of both Ziggy Hood and Al Woods, that skillset would make him a more than welcome addition! OTOH, he's very raw and will require at least one redshirt year to develop. Bucky Brooks of the NFL Network did a thorough scouting report right after Christmas, in which he described Hageman as an ultimate boom-or-bust prospect. Two other articles include this scouting report, which compares very well to what Steel34D has said about Hageman, and the now-famous "freaks list" showing Hageman as #2. At one point the BTSC consensus had Hageman as the next best thing to Jadeveon Clowney, but that enthusiasm cooled a lot when he looked great but failed to flat-out awe at the Combine. We discussed Hageman him at some length pre-Combine in this Mock Draft post and Neal's gif-supported scouting report. For an outside view you can find the Walter Football scouting report here, and the SB Nation scouting report here. Note that all the buzz on Hageman has been positive from the Combine on: good interviews, maturity, coachability, etc. He won't fall all the way to pick 2:46, but he might well be a primary target in a trade-down scenario. Finally, here is a new and thoughtful scouting report from retired NFL defensive end Stephen White. White is one of the best analysts out there and I encourage that read. Here are some quick quotes to give you a capsule idea:

To say that Ra'Shede Hageman is raw would be disrespectful to sushi ... I don't know that he will ever be dominant as a defensive tackle, but I do see the potential for dominance from defensive end... That's a Captain Obvious move if you run a 3-4...

HV 2:33

Stephon Tuitt, DE, Notre Dame - 6'5", 304 lbs. In his "Short List" article Neal wrote: "He's an incredibly quick and large lineman who could probably play a three-technique defensive tackle spot as well as a 5-technique defensive end. His versatility makes him so attractive - look at what Cincinnati did with pre-ACL tear Geno Atkins." Click here for the full BTSC scouting report. Tuitt visited the Steelers April 3 and is slowly climbing the Board in general BTSC opinion. It helps that he's only 20 years old, which means there is still some real physical and mental growth that could occur.

HV 2:33

Dee Ford, OLB, Auburn - 6'2-1/8", 252 lbs. A highly effective 4-3 edge rusher in college, for the Steelers he would convert to a 3-4 OLB. Everyone agrees that Ford has a fantastic first step. The issues were more with the rest of his game, including the run game in particular. More recent reviews indicate that he got better with the edge-setting part as the year when on, and that first step was impressive enough to earn repeated praise in the reports coming out of the Senior Bowl. A dominant MVP performance in the actual game, plus better and better reviews as the bandwagon moves along has him all the way up here. A good Combine and an awesome pro day even had some people treating him as a fringe target for 1:15, especially given our lack of OLB depth after the loss of Lamarr Woodley. This scouting report from Walter Football probably sums things up well: Ford would be an ideal prospect as a 3-4 OLB and he ought to be picked early in Round 2 by a team that could use him that way, but he will probably go in the 1st because of all the hype. Here is a comparable scouting report from former NFL defensive end Stephen White.

HV 2:44

Jeremiah Attaochu, OLB, Georgia Tech - 6'3", 252 lbs. There is a whole cluster of OLB prospects with 2nd-to-3rd round grades and Attaochu, who played 3-4 OLB as a Junior and 4-3 DE as a Senior, is the best of the group. With the release of Lamarr Woodley he may actually be a target for our 2nd-round pick. There are some basic but fixable flaws in his game, like overpursuing, but very good reports out of the Senior Bowl showed that he is both athletic enough and coachable enough to make his odds of success a "likelihood" more than a "risk." Here is one scouting report to consider; here is a scouting report from our sister site for the Eagles; here is a scouting report from Walter Football; and here is another Internet scouting report that notes how he played OLB prior to the 2013 switch to DE. That might explain his comfort in coverage at the Senior Bowl. The basic critiques are that he should add weight to hold up better against the run, and that he has to learn to control a ferocious temper - both coachable.

HV 2:44

Scott Crichton OLB, Oregon State - 6'2-7/8", 273 lbs. Mike Mayock loves this kid, and calls him "a poor man's Chris Long." That matches the description contributed by NoVaBurgher: "An OLB conversion prospect ... great candidate [who was] super productive at Oregon State ... been known to bat down a pass every now and then and forced 10 fumbles over his 3 year career." I've also heard one pundit compare him to Jared Allen. Chricton looked solid but not spectacular at the Combine conversion drills, and performed the linebacker drills even better at his pro day, so we can assume that he is firmly on the radar. Does this sound like another Lamarr Woodley to anyone else? Bottom line: Crichton might be a target in the 2nd and would be an ideal pick in the 3rd if the team obtained one in a trade-down scenario. Here is a longer scouting report from July of 2013 which, like several other preseasons sites, had Crichton listed as a potential 1st-Round pick. And here is a recent scouting report from Walter Football that says the same thing: solid 2nd rounder who might sneak into the 1st. That might still happen for a 4-3 team seeking a solid Defensive End. The Steelers met with Chrichton at the Combine and also had him in for a visit.

HV 2:44

Demarcus Lawrence, OLB, Boise State - 6'2-7/8", 251 lbs. He was certainly able to rush the passer in college, and earned some praise for holding the edge against the run. A solid option if the Steelers are looking for someone who could convert to OLB after a year of learning under Coach Butler. This is a short but decent scouting report. Here is another scouting report from our sister site for the Eagles, and a similar scouting report from NFL Draft Geek. More indirectly, in February Dane Brugler of CBS Sports promoted Lawrence to his Top 50 based on what he heard from offensive line prospects. A few weeks later, after looking at more film, Brugler tweeted "Demarcus Lawrence is a first rounder." The consensus opinion is that late 1st would be a bit much, but he is very likely to go in the 2nd. Demarcus Lawrence is certainly a player the Steelers will carefully scout.

HV 2:44

Phillip Gaines, CB, Rice - 6'0-3/8", 193 lbs. Excellent speed (2nd-fastest CB at the Combine), excellent height, and comparisons to Cortland Finnegan get him on the Board. Per Mike Mayock: "For a guy that's going to be a mid- to late- developmental corner, I'm not sure you're going to get any better value than Phillip Gaines." I've seen many comments on how raw he is and the limited level of competition, but the only physical drawback is a lack of bulk and questions about his hands. Nevertheless, the Steelers will be fishing the mid-round waters for a CB or two, and it wouldn't be a surprise if Phillip Gaines gets scooped up in the net. Start your research with this BTSC scouting report by Steel34D. And this is an interesting article comparing Walt Aikens and Phillip Gaines. Finally, here are three source for more detail: a scouting report from our sister site at Gang Green Nation; a scouting report from a Browns site; and a scouting report from Bleacher Report. Phillip Gaines was the BTSC 2nd round pick in the SB Nation bloggers' mock.

HV 2:44

Davante Adams, WR, Fresno State - 6'1", 212 lbs. Davante Adams had an eye popping year in the wide-open Fresno State offense. For a quick summary see Steel34D's Dec. 21 article on upcoming Bowl games. He was a high school basketball star as well as a football player and boasts some impressive film. At "only" 6-1 he consistently looks bigger and faster than the players around him and was rarely even challenged when it came to jump balls. He confirmed why at the Combine when he jumped an absurd 39.5" vertical. Adams has some professional growth to do and needs to work on his route running, but he is a tremendous talent who would make a fine Steeler. Here is a link to the full Walter football scouting report.

HV 2:44

Jarvis Landry, WR, LSU - 5'11-1/2", 205- lbs. By the end of the year LSU had a strong theme on offense: "Find some way - any way - to get the ball into the hands of Odell Beckham Jr. ... But in the clutch just throw the ball somewhere close to Jarvis Landry. He will find a way to get it." Jarvis Landry has okay height, not enough mass, and no more than average-plus speed, but he may have the best hands in this year's draft class. He also has very superior body control and, above all, he will fight like a wolverine to get a contested ball. The highlight clips are chock full with scenes where he went over, around and through defenders to make the catch - sometimes all at the same time on a single play. He lacks the measurables expected of a #1 receiver, but will make some team ecstatic to have the league's best #2. Hyperbole? This is a direct quote from Mike Mayock: "He reminds me of a faster, bigger, just as tough Hines Ward." Landry had a very poor 40 time in his first run at the Combine and then pulled a muscle that prevented him from atoning. That may cause him to be the unfortunate "guy who falls" this year. It's something to keep an eye on for his pro day. OTOH, Landry ran a Hines Ward time at his pro day (4.58 vs Ward's 4.55), which more or less matches his apparent speed on tape.

HV 2:44

Cody Latimer, WR, Indiana - 6'2", 215 lbs. Cody Latimer projects as a good, solid possession receiver with above-average height, good hands, and a nice, likes-to-block attitude. Before his pro day I'd added, "Where he's lacking are the physical assets like top-end speed or quickness." Then he ran a 4.38 dash, jumped through the roof, and looked marvelous in the drills, all two months after missing the Combine because of foot surgery. Oh, and he was a basketball player before football, so he knows something about body position and boxing people out. This pre-pro-day scouting report expressed the common opinion that Latimer could be a steal for someone in the start of Day 3. Time to move that up to Day 2, especially if interviews reveal the obsessive drive to hone his craft. If so, the sky might be the limit. If not, he will end up as a classic "Could'a been but never was."

HV 2:44

Marqise Lee, WR/KR, USC - 5'11-3/4", 192 lbs. People differ dramatically on whether Lee should be up there with Sammy Watkins as a top-10 pick, or back with the dense pack of receivers that will go in the 20's and 30's. The BTSC intelligentsia may be leaning toward the first opinion, as illustrated by Neal's "Short List" article: "At the risk of being too dramatic, he looks like a bigger version of Antonio Brown. Catches well, runs nice routes (and he'll only improve in that area) but he looks as fast running straight ahead as he does coming immediately out of a break. Not a tree-topping mega-freak athlete, but Lee is going to be a very solid-to-outstanding receiver. I may even be downplaying him a little bit. Lee playing the wide receiver position looks as natural as a duck in water." Steel34D described him in this way: "Lee won the Biletnikoff Award and was a unanimous All-American in 2012. He toyed with the idea to enter last year's draft. This year Lee was plagued with a knee injury causing him to miss three games and wasn't the explosive player he was in 2012. He had only 50 receptions, 673 yards and 2 TDs." A longer BTSC scouting report appears here. This link goes to an SB Nation scouting report, and this is a link to the full Walter Football scouting report. Lee is discounted slightly for having only average height, but enhanced by being an ace return guy. Heck, he even likes to block. He has been discounted more in this final version of the Board because of some serious and oft-repeated questions about his hands, as former NFL player Stephen White described at length in this scouting report.

HV 2:44

Donte Moncrief, WR, Ole Miss - 6'2-3/8" 221 lbs. Possessing good size and decent speed, great things were expected of Donte Moncrief in 2013 but nothing seemed to happen. Moncrief is one of those players who require more study, and to date the Web has been not all that helpful. For some personal observations by a fellow BTSC member who knows Donte personally and has followed his career more closely, see the comments posted by Nozzy43 at this article. FWIW, the scout at NFL.com has him rated as a 1st or 2nd Round talent, and Moncrief had a great combine, putting up 4.40 dash, an 11' broad jump and a 39.5" vertical, though he showed a few issues on the cone drills that test lateral agility. Nevertheless, with that size and that speed he has earned a 2nd-round grade on this Board. Moncrief visited the Steelers April 2.

*** STEELERS PICK AT 2:46 (#46 OVERALL) ***

HV 2:57

DaQuan Jones, NT/DE, Penn State - 6'3", 320 lbs. A potential defensive lineman out of Penn State? Expect the drums to start pounding. It's a real possibility, because if he can keep his weight down in the 310-320 range DaQuan Jones has the athleticism to play DE as well as NT. Our own Steel34D pegs Jones as a late 2nd-rounder with that exact idea. But it's not a small concern because Jones has shown some Big Snack tendencies in the past, and his play suffered when he did.

HV 2:57

Carl Bradford, OLB, Arizona State - 6'0-3/4", 250 lbs. A conversion option from DE to OLB. The obvious knock on Bradford is his size, but the Steelers have known an occasional player to do okay at OLB despite a lack of expected inches. If memory serves, the last one even scored a touchdown on a pick-6 a few years back. Bradford has a reputation for being that kind of workout warrior too, and for the ferocious temper. OTOH, it hasn't (yet) translated into functional strength on the field. Here is a nice little scouting report. The good folks at cbssports.com suggest he might have more success as a play-making ILB than a pass-rushing OLB, but they seem to be the only ones with that idea. Here is a scouting report from Bleacher Report (from an Atlanta pov). This is a scouting report from a third source that lauds Bradford's relentlessness and the physicality of his game, while noting that he has essentially no experience at falling back in coverage.The Steelers had Bradford in for a visit so we know the team is intrigued by his prospects.

HV 2:57

Marcus Smith, OLB, Louisville - 6'3-3/8", 251 lbs. Quick and accomplished, but undersized for a 4-3 DE. Sounds like a traditional Steelers conversion option, and he looks like one too. Some dominating practices at the Senior Bowl moved him up a small notch, in part because he proved his ability to cover and in part because he succeeded as a pass rusher against the better competition. The Combine only confirmed that he has the necessary athleticism to play OLB. Marcus Smith has a really good speed rush but few other moves. The knock is that he padded his stats against weaker teams. This scouting report from our sister site for the Eagles seems a bit amateurish but coincides with what you read elsewhere: he would have been a major bargain if we had an early 3rd, but will almost certainly be gone by 3:97. Alas.

HV 2:57

Pierre Desir, CB, Lindenwood - 6'1", 198 lbs. A Division II player with all the measurables but no experience until he played (and looked good) in the Senior Bowl. A Cortez Allen waiting to be discovered? See this article for a long description of his history. I have to admit that this is one of my favorite mid-round picks, and thus may be too generous, because running that history and talent level through my Stereotype Machine yields a prospect who will work like a fiend to make a 53-man roster. It might take him a few years and he might bounce around, but I believe Pierre Desir will get there in the end. This scouting report from Niners Nation is equally enthusiastic ("Draft Desir [in the 3rd] and reap the rewards! I've seen enough on film that screams 'sleeper!' and 'high value pick!'"). This scouting report is a bit more even-headed but also gives Desir a solid 3rd-round grade (with a chance to "sneak into the second"). My favorite, though, may be this gif-supported scouting report from the Chargers SB Nation site. Once again, a 2nd-3rd round grade (alas).

HV 2:57

Troy Niklas, TE, Notre Dame - 6'6-1/2", 270 lbs. Everybody agrees that Niklas is a great blocker, but early scouting reports such as this one raised real questions about his receiving ability. That would be a nonstarter IMO. More recent scouting reports from the like of cbssports have caused me to change my mind. Consider: "[Niklas] has height and strength to get open against tight coverage, consistently winning the physical battle with opponents to create space. Good leaping ability, flashing the ability to extend and pluck. Used in a variety of roles for the Irish, including as an inline blocker from both sides, split out wide and even used as an occasional H-back or as a third tackle in pass protection. Secures the football quickly and turns aggressively upfield, dragging would-be tacklers along the way. Good bloodlines. Nephew of Hall of Fame offensive lineman Bruce Matthews." Now THAT is a man I'd like to see in a Steelers uniform.

ROUND 3 GRADES

HV 3:65

Jackson Jeffcoat, OLB, Texas - 6'3", 247 lbs. His Dad, Jim Jeffcoat, was a heck of a player for Dallas. The son has that level of talent too, but managed to be injured for half his college career and to underwhelm in his final season. Why? Opinions vary, but the biggest issue has been an inability to shed blocks once he is engaged. Several mocks have him going as early as the late 1st nevertheless, but he has not shown enough to bump into that range for a team with the Steelers' needs. If he falls to the 3rd, however, and the Steelers gain a pick, there will be a lot of people pounding the table. With that said, there's something I can't identify that bugs me about this kid, and I've downgraded him about half a round because of that hunch.

HV 3:65

Trent Murphy, OLB, Stanford - 6'5", 250 lbs. Murphy has slipped down the Board a bit due to a poor showing at the Senior Bowl. He seems to be the sort of player who earns a "B" in every category: good at everything with very few weaknesses, but great at nothing that would allow him to dominate at the NFL level. Check out this Sports Illustrated Article; Murphy is a legitimate tough guy who will add a hard edge to whichever team picks him up. This scouting report came from Walter Football.

HV 3:65

Chris Borland, ILB, Wisconsin - 5'11-1/2", 248 lbs. Here is a nice scouting report from Walter Football. It basically says that Borland is a great 2-down thumper against the run, a great player to have on your team, and a young man with the far-off potential of maturing into a Zach Thomas or London Fletcher. On the other hand, Mike Mayock absolutely adores the kid and has him listed as the #4 linebacker in the entire class, right in front of Ryan Shazier. He has that knack for always being near the ball regardless of whether the numbers say he could get there. A very tough kid to grade from a purely Steelers point of view, especially since we won't be drafting any ILB who doesn't promise to be a 3-down player.

HV 3:65

Bashaud Breeland, CB, Clemson - 6'0", 185 lbs. Supposed to be athletic and a willing hitter who is leaving college as a sophomore, and is therefore very raw. Mayock has mentioned that he'll effectively need a professional redshirt year. But his talent has the various pundits singing his praises. Here is a scouting report from our sister site for the Niners ("an aggressive player who attacks the run, is physical with receivers, plays special teams," and who is a "solid 2nd-round candidate"), and here is the NFL.com scouting report ("Very good football-playing instincts" and "extremely athletic," with a "potential starter" grade).

HV 3:65

Ross Cockrell, CB, Duke - 6'0", 191 lbs. Cockrell was the guy on a so-so team who always got locked up with the other team's top receiver, and did that well enough to contain the college versions of both Mike Evans and Kelvin Benjamin. That is an excellent sign. So is running in the 4.3's at his pro day. Then there's this great quote that Mike Mayock got from a college coach: "Cockrell has all the tangibles you could want and, more important, all the intangibles too." Here is a scouting report from the Bleacher people, but it is consistent with the others: good measurables, good technician, great intangibles, but only "okay" athleticism and a real need to fill out his frame in order to get better on run support. This is an article from a local paper. And this is an article with several brief reports, including one on Cockrell.

HV 3:65

Stanley Jean-Baptiste, CB, Nebraska - 6'2-5/8", 218 lbs. Jean-Baptiste gets top grades for size and for being a fluid, agile athlete. He played two years as a WR before moving to CB, so he probably has some decent hands as well. Some reports, such as this otherwise fawning article, suggest that he is less vulnerable to quickness than he is to pure speed. His 40 time at the Combine might actually mean something. Jean-Baptiste had a very solid performance in the Senior Bowl and supported that with a solid show at the Combine. Mayock's major knock was that he needs to learn how to use his size advantage better, which will come as he learns technique. Just don't be surprised if the Seahawks' success pushes his stock all the way up to the 2nd round, which would put him out of the. Steelers' reach. This scouting report came from December, before he showed such improvement at the Senior Bowl. It should also be noted that Jean-Baptiste has played some Safety though everyone seems to assume his future will lie in being a CB capable of countering some of the towering modern receivers.

HV 3:65

Rashaad Reynolds, CB, Oregon State - 5'9-7/8", 189 lbs. As contributed by NoVaBurger: "Decent size, decent speed, nothing that really jumps out at you, but from watching him play (which I've done a lot), the kid is a ball hawk. [I]f we're looking for a mid round flier or a double dip candidate for CB, this guy could be a steal." That is looking like a very accurate summary. Here is a nice scouting report from preseason (May of 2013). It describes Reynolds as a very smart player with limited athleticism and "top-notch intangibles." Sounds like a very safe pick for someone who will be a long term contributor who won't make mistakes, and possibly a starter if a professional training regime is what he really needed. Interesting trivia: his dad was Ed Reynolds, a Parcells linebacker in the 1980's. No relation to the Ed Reynolds who is coming out this year as a Safety candidate from Stanford. More recent reviews include this admiring gif-supported scouting report from our sister site for the chargers, which ends with an early-2nd grade; a Bleacher Report scouting report that ends with a 4th-round grade; a more summary and cynical scouting report from National Football Post; and the NFL.com scouting report that sums things up by calling Reynolds "An underrated clingy cover man with a natural feel for the game."

HV 3:65

Brandon Coleman, WR, Rutgers - 6'6", 225 lbs. Some people have speed, and some have size. Brandon Coleman would be one of the biggest receivers in the NFL, and they say he is faster than you'd think. The issues, as discussed in this scouting report and also in this one, go to the fundamentals; specifically, catching the ball reliably. He will make a great circus catch on one play and then inexplicably miss an easy catch on another, and no one seems to know why! There are also a few health questions but they don't seem so severe. This preseason SB Nation scouting report is another decent place to start if you want to look into his prospects more, as is this end-of-the-process article from the same source. Bottom line: Brandon Coleman is a distinct possibility for the Big Ben's Big Receiver Sweepstakes. This rating gives him the benefit of the doubt, but Coleman is likelier to go down as the process moves forward rather than up. OTOH, show me a workout where he's catching short range fastballs from the jugs machine and Mssr. Coleman will be pushing a 1st round grade.

HV 3:65

Paul Richardson, WR, Colorado - 6'0-3/8", 175 lbs. Richardson is hard to grade because there are a lot of unknowns, and what is known can leave you thinking "1st Round" or "4th Round" depending on what you value. The big upsides? Liquid speed and really good athleticism. As in F-A-S-T fast. He is also plenty tall ... which is a problem when you're a bare 175 pounds! Ryan Clark might have split a guy like that in half the first time he went over the middle. No wonder people say he hears "footsteps," and reasonable people wonder if he could ever win a contested ball in the NFL. On the other hand, with that kind of speed he might not need to. For an even fuller view see this longish scouting report. The verdict here? Paul Richardson is an ideal prospect for a team that wants someone to take the top off the defense. God help us if he makes his way into Brady's hands. But I don't know if that is what the Steelers really want for a Haley offense.

HV 3:77

Chris Smith, OLB, Arkansas - 6'1", 266 lbs. A conversion option from DE to OLB. According to this October, 2013 scouting report, Smith has a lot of talent for rushing the passer but has been mediocre at best against the run. Sounds like one of those players whose true ranking will depend on Coach Butler's evaluation of his issues and his ability to learn.

HV 3:77

Shayne Skov, ILB, Stanford - 6'2", 245 lbs. For a really great read, check out this Sports Illustrated Article. I walked away thinking, "Skov is going to end up as President of the NFLPA." That's a distinguished group of men who were also fine players. Not necessarily game changers, but locker room pillars with long and proud careers. As shown in this scouting report, Skov is and always will be the ideal sort of field general who is more than his own physical parts, will make a lot of tackles, will miss very few, and will raise all boats around him - a multiplier and not a divider. In short Skov is a team-builder's dream from waist up ... but does he (still) have the physical tools from the waist on down? Skov suffered a hideous and grisly knee injury at the start of his junior year - ACL, MCL, and broken bones. According to the NFL.com scouting report, it has reduced him from one of the top ILB prospects in all of college football to, "A ballhawking, two-down Mike linebacker with a natural feel for the game, [but who] has still not returned to pre-injury form and does not have full plant strength in his knee." If the Steelers had a true hole at ILB, he'd be in contention for the pick at 2:46 because his floor is so high. At this point, however, we only want the Shayne Skov who'll be there if he recovers his full burst and coverage ability. That drops him - from a purely Steelers point of view - to a 3rd or 4th round guy.

HV 3:77

Walt Aikens, CB, Liberty - 6'0-1/2", 205 lbs. The second small school gem who might be the next Cortez Allen. I have him ranked just a little behind Pierre Desir, but they both had tremendous showings at the Senior Bowl and its practices. Definitely a candidate to watch for the Steelers' mid-round picks. Here is something close to a scouting report. "He's moldable clay" may be a nice takeaway. A more recent scouting report can be found at this link (more skilled at man coverage than zone, and "far more suited to play on the outside and near the sideline"). And this is an interesting article comparing Walt Aikens and Phillip Gaines. NOTE: Aikens has some old baggage that got him kicked off the Illinois team by Ron Zook (a former Steelers assistant as Special Teams Coach). As summarized by the CBS sports scouting report, "Pleaded guilty to misdemeanor theft charges in July 2010 and served two weeks in Champaign County jail for possessing a computer taken from a dorm room." The details behind that story could remove him from the Board completely, or make no difference whatsoever. This grade ignores that baggage completely.

HV 3:77

Keith McGill, CB, Utah - 6'3-3/8", 211 lbs. Has all the size you could want and some good raw talent, but reported to be extremely raw skills-wise. A JUCO player for two years, he suffered a severe shoulder injury that cost him all of 2012. Reports out of the Senior Bowl had him competing very well at CB, however, so the lack of experience may be less of an issue. He ran very well at the Combine which cements him as a 3rd round grade who will get over-drafted by teams looking to copy the Seahawks' winning formula. The Steelers might do some copying as well if he falls to 3:97. Jean-Baptiste and McGill are the Evans and Benjamin of the CB class, albeit less polished than their WR counterparts. This scouting report has a questionable source (Bleacher Report) but looks fairly complete, and makes an excellent point about the distinction between straight line speed and agility.

HV 3:77

Devin Street, WR, Pittsburgh - 6'2-7/8", 198 lbs. A good, tall possession receiver with everything but top end speed and some necessary thickness. Great hands though. The Steelers might well draft him in the middle rounds. Here is a scouting report from our sister site for the NY Jets.

***[ STEELERS PRE-PICK ... SHAMARKO THOMAS. HOORAY!] ***

HV 3:84

Brent Urban, DE, Virginia - 6'7", 295 lbs. He has the measurables and the talent, but as cbssports put it, he "is not yet the sum of his parts." An ideal pick for coach Mitchell to take apart and reconstruct. If he learns as well as he measures we could have a rising star for the 2016-2017 seasons.

HV 3:84

Jaylen Watkins, CB/S, Florida - 5'11-1/2", 194 lbs. Disclaimer: I love players with the experience and willingness to play both Safety and Corner. It shows exactly the sort of intelligence, grit, and playmaking that matter most in a Dick Lebeau defense. Jaylen Watkins is that guy. And you can assume he has good athletic genes since he's the brother of going-in-the-1st WR Sammy Watkins. Ran well at the Combine but did not participate in the field drills. He looks very slender, but the numbers indicate that "wiry" may be more accurate. Bottom line: IMO you can expect Jaylen Watkins to be a serious mid-round target for the Steelers as either a CB or a center-field FS.

HV 3:84

Martavis Bryant, WR, Clemson - 6'3-3/4", 211 lbs. Bryant is a puzzle. He has 1st-round height, 1st-round speed, decent hands, and 6th or 7th round production even though he played across the field from Sammy Watkins. BTSC's Greig Clawson watched his film and thought enough of him to use the words "AJ Green-lite." I've also read comparisons to the Jets' Stephen Hill-lite. Here are a number of links you can explore to get a better idea: Report #1, Report #2, Report #3, Report #4, Report #5, Report #6. It is a real shame he didn't go back for another year in college. The Combine and his pro day did less to help his stock than some people expected, but the speed, height, and hands are real nevertheless. I love the way the NFL.com site put it: "A better tester than football player at this stage of his development." My bottom line: some fool will probably grab him in the 2nd Round because of his astonishing potential, but like Stephen Hill of the Jets a few years ago it is hard to imagine how he could play until at least his second year. I watched some film; I saw the hands-catching, the speed, the use of his height, and even the willingness to act as if he's blocking. Some impressive stuff against Ohio State. But even after all of that I can't see him as a Steelers pick until the end of day 2, at the earliest. Came to Pittsburgh for a private visit.

*** STEELERS PICK AT 3:COMP (#97 OVERALL) ***

ROUND 4 GRADES

HV 4:101

Will Clarke, DE, West Virginia - 6'6-1/8", 271 lbs. He has the build and athleticism to be a 3-4 DE, but hasn't shown that he can put it all together. Here are several late-in-the-process scouting reports: one from our sister site for the Cowboys; one from Bleacher Report; and one from an Eagles fan site that actually projects him as an oversized OLB. All agree that he's a solid 4th-round talent.

HV 4:101

Morgan Breslin, OLB, USC - 6'2", 250 lbs. USC's top pass rusher in 2013. He would be a conversion option for the Steelers. He is described as a smart player with several pass rushing moves, good but not over-the-top athleticism, and every intangible you could ever want. Downgraded a bit because of season-ending hip surgery and some earlier foot trouble, but it wouldn't surprise me at all if the Steelers chose him with a mid-round pick.

HV 4:101

James Gayle, OLB, Virginia Tech - 6'3-3/4", 259 lbs. A solid, mid-round prospect. After summarizing Gayle's tremendous physical talents, our own Greig Clawson summed it up this way: "I see a player with the physical tools to make the conversion from DE to OLB successfully. He needs to get coached up, develop some pass rush moves, and learn to convert his speed and strength into power. The foundation is there though." This link and also this one will lead you to some more background. Coachability and football IQ will be the key questions when the Steelers do their due diligence.

HV 4:101

Ronald Powell, OLB, Florida - 6'3-1/8", 237 lbs. A tremendous natural athlete with a bad knee injury that cost him all of 2012 and clearly limited both his production and his growth in 2013. Talent-wise, though, he could be a real sleeper. If Powell clears the medical checks he could be a 3rd-Round value. 3-6 is probably fair to account for that risk. He looked good at the Combine.

HV 4:101

Christian Jones, ILB, Florida State - 6'3-1/8", 240 lbs. All the measurables in the world, but repeated questions about his ability to use them. The knock you read is that his athleticism is wasted by the need to make up for bad angles, overpursuit, and a lack of "instincts." No one could put it better than the scouting report at NFL.com: "Play will reach another level if/when his processor speed catches up to his physical talent." So which Christian Jones will you get? The one who needs athletic brilliance to break even, or the one who puts it all together and becomes a force in the middle?

HV 4:101

Terrence Brooks, S, Florida State - 5'10-7/8", 198 lbs. Terrence Brooks should probably be off the Board completely after the signing of Mike Mitchell, but I couldn't bring myself to do it. A BTSC favorite who grades out as a solid 2nd round pick and the 3rd-best Safety in the draft, Brooks is an excellent athlete with good agility, good long speed, and that special acceleration that makes a Free Safety extra effective. He also played well in a quality program, where he started out as an effective CB and 'made his bones' on the coverage side. He isn't the biggest tackler, but he's no slouch either and the only complaints I've seen are coachable matters of technique. The main issue is a bad case of "Ike Taylor hands." Brooks is so good that he gets himself into a position to make interceptions, but tends to end up with "prevented passes" instead - and some of those were gimme's so it's not a question mark you can just ignore. Here is a brief scouting report from our sister site at Gang Green Nation; here is an even better and more thorough scouting report from our own Steel34D; and here is an enthusiastic post-Combine article on BTSC. Mayock gives him a 2nd-Round grade and so do I. But after Mitchell's signing, I don't think the Steelers will consider him before the 4th.

HV 4:101

E.J. Gaines, CB, Missouri - 5'10", 190 lbs. Good speed (but only good) with some questions about his size, hands, and overall athleticism. Made a big splash toward the end of the year by shutting down Texas A&M's 6'5" Mike Evans, and had similar success at limiting the 6’3" Jordan Matthews. Snark erupted and continues on whether that ought to raise Gaines' stock, plummet Evans', both, or neither. This is a very extensive scouting report though I can’t vouch for the author, who concludes that Gaines might shine better as a Strong Safety because of his "outstanding" skills at run support. OTOH, the descriptions sound a lot like William Gay and several other Steelers CB’s over the years. That report gives E.J. Gaines a 2nd-Round grade while predicting that he’ll go in the 4th. This scouting report reaches a similar conclusion, adding that Gaines has had a variety of nagging injuries such as a hip that might have made him look stiffer in his senior year than he really is. This scouting report is more critical and concludes that Gaines should not be picked until Day 3. The strength of this CB class probably force E.J. Gaines' draft stock down into Day 3, but that shouldn't change the big picture. He is a young man with a solid chance to make an NFL career with a team such as the Steelers.

HV 4:101

CJ Fiederowicz, TE, Iowa - 6'5", 265 lbs. and his school listed him as running a 40-time of 4.85. The #4 Tight End on most boards, with a lot of notes about his powerful blocking. The scouting reports, such as this one from Walter Football, sound an awful lot like Matt Spaeth to me, but I'm willing to be convinced if someone shows he also knows how to be a receiver.

HV 4:101

Jared Abbrederis, WR, Wisconsin - 6'1", 195 lbs. Everyone talks about his "lack of athleticism," but he still gets open an awful lot. And he was a walk-on, so he earned his way up to being the #1 target and a major producer. He made the news as a Senior Bowl success story, so it's looking like he has the requisite physical skills. (One reporter even noted "superb route running skills"). The question is whether he could ever be more than good-to-very-good and, if not, whether the Steelers will pick any receiver without the promise to be a #1 or #2 starter to pair with Antonio Brown. Any receiver picked in the 4th has got to be a notable improvement on Moye and Justin Brown. Here is a Walter Football Scouting Report.

HV 4:101

Bruce Ellington, WR/KR, South Carolina - 5'9-3/8", 197 lbs. As CBS put it, Ellington was the guy who "proved a difference-maker at receiver and returner while also juggling starting point guard duties for the Gamecocks' basketball team." Quoting that same scouting report, "Ellington is shorter than scouts would prefer and lacks polish in some of the most elementary phases of playing wide receiver. He is tough, instinctive and cat-quick, however, making him one of more intriguing slot receiver and return specialists of the 2014 draft." As shown by this article about a scheduled Steelers draft visit, Ellington will definitely be on the radar as a combination slot receiver and kick returner.

HV 4:101

Robert Herron, WR/KR, Wyoming - 5'9-1/8", 193 lbs. Herron ran two blistering times at his pro day (4.25 and 4.29) and he flashed some good, precise route-running at the Senior Bowl practices. Kevin Colbert apparently was there and commented on it. The only issue is height. Not size, just height. He is 5'9" but a very stocky 193 lbs. Herron will definitely be on the radar as a combination slot receiver and kick returner.

HV 4:101

Josh Huff, WR, Oregon - 5'11-1/4", 206 lbs. Huff came onto the Board because of a great first day of practice at the Senior Bowl. He continued that as the week went on, earning praise for his good body control and overall level of effort. After searching around the Web for a scouting report, the information shows a solid prospect who doesn't excel or fail in any particular aspect. Fast but not very fast; neither tall nor short; a good but not great route runner; etc. If the Steelers go Defense with all of their first four picks, Huff would be a very interesting prospect for the pick at 5:157. The FO has found gems in that range before.

HV 4:116

Ben Gardner, DE, Stanford - 6'4", 277 lbs. This nice writeup at Walter Football compares Gardner to Brett Keisel without the years of experience. This is a higher grade than you see on most Boards because Gardner lacks the ideal measurements for a 3-4 DE (not ideally long) or a 4-3 DT (not ideally huge), but I stand by it because I love players that are sneaky-quick at getting a good angle, and put a lot of stock in major contributors whose importance becomes clear when they disappear. That is exactly what happened to the Stanford defense when Gardner tore a pectoral muscle in 2013. FWIW, Gardner was a Combine snub who went out and killed all the measurables at Stanford’s pro day – as in a 39.5" vertical (would have been second for DE's at the Combine), a 10’2" broad jump (would have been fifth), and equally impressive dash and cone-drill times. I’m a lot less surprised than many supposed "experts." Gardner is the sort of prospect who could tumble all the way down into the 5th or 6th rounds and then leave behind a cadre of GM's who kick themselves for years when he becomes someone else's long-term starter.

HV 4:116

Taylor Hart, DE, Oregon - 6'6", 281 lbs. Based on this cbssports.com writeup, Taylor Hart is one of those players who Coach Mitchell would take apart completely and then reconstruct into something totally unexpected. But he's shown enough to believe that the "unexpected" might be pretty good. He's been largely invisible in the draft process because of a broken foot, but the Steelers did meet with him at the Combine and he has ideal length.

HV 4:116

Josh Mauro, DE, Stanford - 6'5-7/8", 271 lbs. He looks like a 3-4 DE, but supposed to have average physical skills. He would make a great depth pick in any of the later rounds. Here is a scouting report.

HV 4:116

Ed Stinson, DE, Alabama - 6'3", 280 lbs. He's very short compared to the Steelers' preferred model at DE, but he's got very long arms and has demonstrated an ability to use them over a long career at the highest collegiate level. As CBS says, "He's a bit of a tweener" but not enough to justify removing him from the Board completely. Bottom line: Ed Stinson is another mid-round DE prospect the Steelers will examine with extra care because of both need and a paucity of more ideal candidates.

HV 4:116

Shaquil Barrett, OLB Colorado State - 6'2", 250 lbs. A candidate to convert from DE to 3-4 OLB. Barrett was one of the better pass rushers in the NCAA in the 2013 season putting up 12 sacks and five hurries. At 6-foot-2 and 250 pounds he projects nicely as a 3-4 OLB. He has a good first step, active hands and a great motor. He was used as both a stand-up OLB and a hand in the dirt pass rusher for Colorado State. Barrett had the chance to go against elite competition when his team played Alabama this season. He was primarily match-up against Cyrus Kouandijo (a potential top 15 pick in the 2014 draft). Barrett gave Kouandijo all he could handle putting up 1.5 sacks, 1 QB hurry, 1.5 TFL and 5 total tackles. [Lifted from Steel34D's Dec. 21 article on upcoming Bowl games]. The general theme from around the Web is that Barrett has a good first step; is very good at setting the edge; is a student of the game; and made good use of having Joey Porter as a coach in his Senior year. The issues go to inconsistency and a real need for professional strength training.

HV 4:116

Adrian Hubbard, OLB, Alabama - 6'6", 257 lbs. Another player with all the physical tools but who would require a year or two under Coach Butler before we'd be sure what we had. The size is great, but he's a questionable fit because he looks quite stiff in coverage and lacks an elite get-off in the pass rush. Projects best as a 4-3 DE with heavy duties against the run.

HV 4:116

Aaron Lynch, OLB, South Florida - 6'5", 249 lbs. All the talent in the world, but some serious questions about the internals. See this article from National Football Post for a list of the reasons why a 1st-round talent gets a questionable 4th-round grade. CBS has similar things to say: "Questions abound as to whether or not he has the attitude, team-first mentality and dedication required to succeed at the next level. Does not play to the whistle, and often cuts his pursuit short when a play is moving away from him." Etc. He is exactly the sort of player who needs to be thoroughly vetted by a professional scouting staff - which we of course don't have.

HV 4:116

Jordan Tripp, OLB/ILB, Montana - 6'2-3/4", 234 lbs. Dominated the competition at a smaller school. Supposed to be a superb athlete and a top "sleeper" as a 4-3 OLB. Questions arise about where he would fit in the Steelers system, but he is firmly on the radar screen. Performed well at the Combine, albeit a little stiffly in the change of direction drills.

HV 4:116

Kevin Pierre-Louis, LB (4-3 Will), Boston College - 6'0", 232 lbs. A 4-3 Will linebacker, and possibly a very good one. He was entrenched on the "Ain't Gonna Happen" list until the Steelers had him in for a visit. Now people are thinking that the team might be looking for a 3rd-day hybrid Safety/Linebacker type to play in Big Nickel packages. Both Pierre-Louis and Telvin Smith would excel in such a role, which gets them both on the Board starting in that 3rd-day range. Here is a scouting report from Bleacher Report.

HV 4:116

Yawin Smallwood, ILB, Connecticut - 6'2-1/4", 246 lbs. A very good ILB prospect with severe questions about his ability to be more than a 2-down thumper who will have to come off the field for passing downs.

HV 4:116

Telvin Smith, LB (4-3 Will), Florida State - 6'2", 218 lbs. A 4-3 Will linebacker, and possibly a very good one. He was entrenched on the "Ain't Gonna Happen" list until the Steelers had Kevin Pierre-Louis in for a visit. Now people are thinking that the team might be looking for a 3rd-day hybrid Safety/Linebacker type to play in Big Nickel packages. Both Pierre-Louis and Telvin Smith would excel in such a role, which gets them both on the Board starting in that 3rd-day range.

HV 4:116

Jimmie Ward, S, Northern Illinois - 5'9, 189 lbs. Click here for a scouting report to get you started, and click here for one from Walter Football. Ward is a player who has been highly touted by the national media, including Mike Mayock who has him as a 2nd-round talent. He has very good speed, agility, and explosion once he identifies the play. A little small though, and not as big a hitter as you'd like. This will take you to a scouting report from a self-avowed Jimmie Ward fan on our sister site for the Jets. He's downgraded into the 4th because of the Mitchell signing and because the descriptions make him sound a lot like a 2014 version of Shamarko Thomas. From that point on, however, the value might be too good to ignore.

HV 4:116

Dontae Johnson, CB/S, North Carolina State - 6'2-1/8", 200 lbs. This ranking may be a little high because Johnson is quite raw, but I am giving full credit for size, exceptional speed, and general athleticism; he was also a fine college basketball player, and he has a reputation for being a good and willing tackler. If nothing else those skills should help him excel on special teams. Here is a quick scouting report from a Cowboys fan site, and here is another scouting report that seems more thorough. He played several DB positions in college but will probably make his money as a tall CB capable of countering goliath WR's in a defense bent on copying the Seahawks.... or in a defense like the Steelers, which would love to have a big, fast corner-safety hybrid for various sub-packages.

HV 4:116

Xavier Grimble, TE, USC - 6'4", 257 lbs. He can block, and he does it very well. But can he run and catch? Walter Football acknowledges some decent speed and "natural receiving ability with quickness and athleticism." Definitely someone the Steelers will carefully scout.

HV 4:116

Arthur Lynch, TE, Georgia - 6'5", 258 lbs. The Steelers have two working Tight Ends: Heath Miller, who can both block and catch, and Matt Spaeth, who can block well enough but (to put it kindly) is a bit lumbering as a receiver. Any Tight End would be expected to be the next Miller, not the next Spaeth. If Lynch can be that guy he might be a mid-round target. Walter Football describes him as a "reliable" but not a "big play" receiver who "did a nice job of blocking in the ground game." Other scouting reports have called him compared him to a poor man's Heath Miller or Ben Coates, a "throwback player stuck in a modern era." That probably goes way over the top, but it at least lands you a grade in the 4th Round.

HV 4:116

Dri Archer, KR/RB, Kent State - 5'8", 173 lbs. Think super-fast, super-tiny, and agile as a superball bouncing around a closet lined with marble. This is Reggie Dunn all over again with a much better pedigree. Indeed, every review I've seen includes the words "Tavon Austin." The downside is size, pure and simple. He was already injured in college and there are real questions if he could survive the NFL. But it he can, that 4.26 speed and kick return ability could be really special.

HV 4:116

Cody Hoffman, WR, BYU - 6'3-7/8", 223 lbs. Who is Cody Hoffman? If he lived up to more of his promise he would be the receiver that the Ravens would draft in Round 2 if they go O-Line in the 1st. This is a particularly admiring scouting report. But others such as this one and this one and this one from our sister site for the Eagles more or less agree. Everything you read reminds you of an unfinished Anquan Boldin. Good size, very physical, good route runner, good work ethic; but only average for long speed and not a quick accelerator. But as the NFL.com scouting report put it, Hoffman can be a "monotone route runner" who displays "limited agility to shake defenders releasing and does not create in space." In sum, if it 'clicks' he can become a dominant possession receiver and go-to guy, but it hasn't clicked yet. In particular, he did anything but live up to his promise at the Senior Bowl and was constantly stuffed at the line by smaller men. Nevertheless, the size is there, someone is going to bet that his coaching staff is up to the job, and if they're right then Cody Hoffman could be a genuine steal in the later rounds.

HV 4:116

Jeff Janis, WR, Saginaw Valley State - 6'2-7/8", 219 lbs. The top Division II Wide Receiver in the draft. He has the size and he can run in the 4.4 range. He flashed those talents effectively at the Senior Bowl, the East/West Shrine Game, and the Combine. But he also showed that he's still heavier on the potential than anything else. He gets half a round of bonus here for being on the tall side.

HV 4:116

Kevin Norwood, WR, Alabama - 6'2", 198 lbs. A decent prospect from a top notch program. The biggest knock is that he's a 5th year Senior and never managed to stand out in Alabama's run-first offense. Moved up a tad on this Board because of a good performance at the Senior Bowl. Seems to know something about how to get open. Demonstrated great hands at his pro day too, showing off with any number of casual one-handed grabs. If the Steelers miss out on a WR in the first 3 rounds, Norwood is a very likely target at 4:118 as the next Jericho Cotchery. Here is a late-process scouting report from SB Nation.

HV 4:116

DeAnthony Thomas, KR/RB, Oregon - 5'8-1/2", 174 lbs. Your stereotypical fast and elusive scatback. Here is a scouting report from Walter Football. Thomas is a terror in open space if he can survive the hits from NFL-sized players. Thomas had a truly spectacular career at Oregon and will probably go much earlier to a team that offers the perfect fit. Major upside as a kick returner too. Size is literally the only problem. He ran poorly at the Combine, but then made up for it with a 4.34 at his pro day. So yes, he is what his tape says he is.

*** STEELERS PICK AT 4:118 (#118 OVERALL) ***

HV 4:128

Jeoffrey Pagan, DE/NT, Alabama - 6'4", 310 lbs. I kind of like the cbssports.com scouting report as an introduction to Mr. Pagan: "Built like a Coke machine - wide and heavy - and just as difficult to move." Not much of a pass rusher, but might be able to move inside on sub packages. Also a few maturity issues. Quoting from the same article: "Surprised many with his decision to leave Alabama early. Showed similar impulsive decision-making earlier in his football career, committing to Florida, then Clemson and finally landing with Alabama." Nevertheless, Pagan has the raw talent and if it develops he would be a solid contributor for many years. Pagan might also be NT-capable in a pinch but probably not as a starter (think Al Woods).

HV 4:128

Caraun Reid, NT, Princeton - 6'2", 302 lbs. Reid is a Nose Tackle in the Steve McLendon mold: huge but not Hamptonesque, and with enough quickness off the snap to sneak through the line when the team shifts to a 1-gap scheme instead of the traditional 2-gap hold-at-the-line approach. As you can see from this article on his background, Reid is also a smart, well-rounded human being. An excellent week of Senior Bowl practices followed by some spurts of dominance in the game got him a fair amount of buzz. The measurables he put up at the Combine only confirmed it. It's hard to see the need, but at some point in time a player like Caraun Reid becomes too good a bargain to pass up. Especially because Reid is coming from a program where he never had the benefit of intense training and coaching. There is a lot of upside that might be tapped.

HV 4:128

Kelcy Quarles, DE, South Carolina - 6'3-3/4", 297 lbs. This grade may be a little harsh, but if you play opposite Jadeveon Clowney and he is getting triple-teamed all the time, you should rack up some impressive stats. Quarles' stats were just "okay." One could also question his lack of ideal length. But with the loss of both Ziggy Hood and Al Woods, Quarles needs to be on the Board as a mid- to late-round prospect.

HV 4:128

Shamar Stephen, DE, Connecticut - 6'5", 309 lbs. The NFL.com scouting report seems to sum things up nicely: "Big, athletic, raw interior defender with underachiever traits who had a fairly nondescript career at UConn, but has crude physical tools for a defensive line coach to mold. Developmental prospect who potentially fits ... as a 3-4 five-technique."

HV 4:128

Aaron Colvin, CB, Oklahoma [DOWNGRADED FOR INJURY] - 5'11-3/8", 186 lbs. at the Senior Bowl. Early mocks had Colvin going as high as the 1st Round and as low as the Steelers pick at 2:46. The excitement peaked after the 1st-day reports from the Senior Bowl had scouts "raving about his cat-quick feet." Then, on the 2nd day he blew an ACL. Subsequent scouting reports like this one from Walter Football argue that he was being overhyped to begin with and never was a realistic 1st round prospect, though it should be noted that Mike Mayock continues to refer to him as "a 1st or 2nd round talent." So...Where does he grade post ACL? In 2013 the Niners chose Marcus Lattimore in the 4th Round. Lattimore was an even better prospect than Colvin, but he was coming back from a second catastrophic knee injury. So I put Colvin, with injury, at about the same spot. With modern medicine a knee injury like this will force an involuntary redshirt year as a pro, but a recovery can be expected. And a redshirt year would have happened anyway in the Steelers system - both because he needs to bulk up and for the mental side. Colvin can do both physical training and playbook study from the IR List so it's not as big a problem as it could have been for other teams, especially if Colvin is a double-dip at the CB position. That way we'd have a playable draft pick for 2014 (as much as they ever are) plus a bargain-priced 1st- or 2nd-round talent back and ready to compete for 2015. Not a bad idea at all...

HV 4:128

Demetri Goodson, CB, Baylor - 5'11", 194 lbs. Interesting guy. He played 3 years of basketball as a starting Forward at Gonzaga, and then transferred to Baylor where he became a starting CB. Clearly has the athletic talent he needs, including the necessary speed, which he demonstrated at the Combine. Supposed to be quick and sure handed too. And he even has good genes - his older brother is Mike Goodson, a starting RB for the Panthers and now for the Jets. NOTE: This is a more speculative grade than most, based almost purely on athletic upside.

HV 4:128

Andre Hal, CB/KR, Vanderbilt - 5'10-3/8", 188 lbs. A solid cover corner from a program that trains them well, who has played well against good SEC competition. Supposed to fit best as a zone or off-man cover player rather than a press corner because he's a little stiff in the hips, an athletic limitation that good NFL receivers could burn him with. On the other hand, he is a smart, high-character guy with good leadership skills and a willingness to contribute on special teams. He also returned kicks in his freshman and sophomore years when he was backing up at the CB position. All of that fits the Steelers to a tee and gives him every chance to contribute even if his CB skills fail to mature beyond dime packages. The main issue other than the stiff hips was a question about his long speed. He answered that directly by running well at the Combine. Bottom Line: Andre Hal seems to be flying under the radar because the CB class is so deep this year. Picking him up in the 4th should be good value; in the 5th a genuine bargain; and after that an outright steal.

HV 4:128

Mike Davis, WR, Texas - 6'0", 197 lbs. Another player who started to stand out at the Senior Bowl practices, with notes about crisp cuts and good routes. That was particularly encouraging since the rap on him had been "good straight line speed, but not too nimble." On the other hand, he had a so-so pro day. I found this scouting report floating around the Web. The bottom line: Mike Davis looks suspiciously like the sort of mid-round WR gem the Steelers have found so successfully in recent years, and if the first three picks don't include a WR he would slot in well at 4:118 or 5:157.

ROUND 5 GRADES

HV 5:141

Ryan Carrethers, NT, Arkansas State - 6'1", 337 lbs. A solid performance at the Combine plus prototypical measurements gets him onto the Board as a solid Day 3 pick.

HV 5:141

Justin Ellis, NT, Louisiana Tech - 6'2", 357 lbs. Do you believe in a Nose Tackle who ought to shrink? The thought is that he might have the athleticism to be really special if he could only shrink to around 330. A fine Day-3 flyer for depth.

HV 5:141

Ego Ferguson, NT, LSU - 6'3", 310 lbs. The Steelers might have a slot for the next Casey Hampton, but between Steve McLendon, Hebron Fangupo, and our new free agent Cam Thomas there is little room for another player who would "only" be good. Ego Ferguson has the athleticism to play multiple positions, but lacks the height and arm length to be a true 5-technique DE. As Ziggy Hood proved, general athleticism isn't enough if the other guy can latch on to you while you can't push him back.

HV 5:141

Devon Kennard, OLB, USC - 6'3", 255 lbs. If you care about bloodlines, his father Derek played 11 years in the NFL as an Offensive Lineman. Missed the 2012 season with a torn pectoral.

HV 5:141

Kareem Martin, DE/OLB, North Carolina - 6'5-7/8", 272 lbs. A very athletic guy with up and down performance that improved over the course of the year. He has the measurables, and the talent is in there somewhere, but can he put it all together? A lot of people thinks so, since Martin keeps sneaking into the late 1st as many analysts' "surprise pick for pure potential." Here is a decent preseason scouting report from July of 2013. Here is a more recent scouting report. This is a Bleacher Report version, but it's consistent with the others and clearly written. And here is a fourth spot, plus a pretty good Walter Football scouting report that sums it all. The reason for so many links? Kareem Martin is such a tantalizing prospect that he will get a really thorough look from the Steelers FO and coaches even though it's hard to figure out what position he would play in the Pittsburgh defense. Martin is very inconsistent and projects much better as a 4-3 DE than he does as either a 3-4 OLB (not fluid enough for coverage) or a 3-4 DE (not stout enough against the run), but he might be ideal as a sort of hybrid pass rusher who could get stronger. This possibility got discussed a bit in the Comments of this BTSC fanpost. In the end I've decided to downgrade Martin all the way to a 5th round option because of all the questions, but I acknowledge that the grade isn't really valid because he won't last anywhere close to that long. He'll either be gone to a 4-3 team, or the Steelers scouting and coaching staff will see through all the fog and deem him worthy of the pick at 2:46.

HV 5:141

Trevor Reilly, OLB, Utah - 6'5", 245 lbs. Here are the downsides: Reilly may be very athletic but he is also an underperformer, according to cbssports a "finesse" player, and because of serving his Mormon years-abroad mission he is also 26 years old. The positives? He seems like one of those players who could blossom under an NFL strength & conditioning regime, and there is little doubt he has the athleticism to move from DE to OLB. For once, it is the pass rushing ability that raises more question marks than the conversion itself. He could be a sneaky good Day 3 pick for a team that really needs some bodies in the OLB pipeline.

HV 5:141

Chidera Uzo-Diribe, OLB, Colorado - 6'3", 250 lbs. A very solid 3rd-Day pick for OLB depth. See this article for a brief but decent writeup.

HV 5:141

Larry Webster, OLB/DE, Bloomsburg - 6'5-3/4", 252 lbs. This Larry Webster is the son of Larry Webster, Jr. who played DE for the 2001 Ravens among others. He had only one year of college against inferior competition, which makes him hard to judge, but as you can see from this scouting report, there is something there that's worth developing. From the Steelers point of view he is a "tweener" who might be able transition into a very tall OLB, or might be able to add the 40-50 pounds he'd need to play as a 3-4 DE. It's an opinion that requires careful and professional scouting, and that may lead different scouts to drastically different conclusions. Consider this a very approximate grade.

HV 5:141

Jordan Zumwalt, ILB, UCLA - 6'4", 235 lbs. Grade based on this National Football Post article, and the fact that he sounds an awful lot like Vince Williams and Arthur Moats - run stuffers who are already on the team. OTOH, Zumwalt could be a real sleeper because he suffered from being used all over the field so much that it's hard to peg a position. No exaggeration - he reportedly played every linebacker position during more than half of the UCLA games. There's something you have to like about that.

HV 5:141

Tre Boston, S/CB, North Carolina - 5'11-5/8", 204 lbs. Has played a lot of Corner, but the consensus seems to be that he's a better fit as a centerfielding Free Safety with advanced coverage skills. The big knock seems to be tackling. You can find a scouting report here. According to Mike Mayock, Boston has a "chirpy" attitude (in a good way), fine ball skills, and a very good football IQ. At the East-West Shrine Game he jumped right in and took charge of on-field organization for things like alignments and assignments. Encouraging. He will probably go in the Round 2-3 range, but if he falls to the 5th (like some boards project) the Steelers might pull the trigger.

HV 5:141

Antone Exum, S/CB, Virginia Tech - 5'11-5/8", 213 lbs. A very good athlete who would probably excel in a Steelers-type zone system. Described as an "over-sized hybrid CB" package in this nice article on a Patriots site. I make him a 3rd-round value as a FS, and a 5th-round option at CB. He missed a lot of 2013 games with a nasty and nagging ankle problem, and more games last year with an ACL. Downgraded because of the Mike Mitchell signing.

HV 5:141

Craig Loston, S, LSU - 6'0-3/8", 214 lbs. at the Senior Bowl. Has a reputation as a big hitter with top measurables, but also some issues in coverage. In other words, he is a better fit at SS than FS. Profootballspot.com explains this well in a nice, short scouting report. And here is a February scouting report from Walter Football. The decision makers on this one will be Coach Lake and Coach Lebeau. If they see ways to fix the coverage questions, Loston would make a great addition as a late-round flier if, by some miracle, he falls all the way to the 5th.

HV 5:141

Brock Vereen, S, Minnesota - 6’0", 200 lbs. A tough player to call because he has everything going for him except physical size. As the nfl.com scouting report put it, Vereen has "tiny hands, short arms and lacks overall bulk [and the] length to match up with NFL tight ends in coverage." The scouting report at CBS pretty much agrees with both that drawback, and the presence of every other asset you could ask for: intangibles ("outstanding work ethic," "team leader," etc.), pedigree (brother and father both played in the NFL, position flexibility (has played corner, nickel back, and safety), football IQ ("good smarts on and off the field"), special teams talent, work ethic, etc. He also destroyed virtually every drill at the Combine. Here is a brief scouting report from a Kansas City Chiefs site. The Steelers brought Vereen to Pittsburgh for a private visit. This is a relatively low grade for him because the Steelers don’t have a lot of room for another Safety.

HV 5:141

Ty Zimmerman, S, Kansas State - 6'2", 205 lbs. Deserves a 3rd-Round grade but the Mike Mitchell hiring downgrades him to the 5th from the Steelers' point of view.

HV 5:141

Deion Belue, CB, Alabama - 5'11", 182 lbs. A decent cover corner with some much needed speed.

HV 5:141

Shaquille Richardson, CB, Arizona – 6’0", 188 lbs. A sleeper who shined at the East-West Shrine game because of the measurables: tall, fast, maneuverable, and with excellent 10-yard acceleration for recovery speed. The downside is that he’s more than a little raw, not at all physical, and a very poor tackler. The Steelers had him in for a visit so it’s safe to say he’s on the radar.

HV 5:141

Marcus Roberson, CB/KR, Florida - 6'0-1/4", 191 lbs. Like his teammate Loucheiz Purifoy, Roberson had a disappointing season including a suspension for "violation of team rules." Dane Brugler of CBS provides the best scouting report I've found to date. Brugler gave him a 1st-2nd Round grade as a cover corner, but that was before an underwhelming Combine and pro day. Walter football subsequently provided another good scouting report, which concludes by saying that a poor Combine dropped him from fringe-1st to solid-2nd. This agreement, plus the indications that he isn't as willing in run support as you'd like, are enough to slide him down. While Roberson is not implicated in the recent troubles that got Purifoy dropped from the Board, guilt by association drops him down this Board a good bit more because they are supposed to be close it sounds like the sort of thing that could be a broader, team-level issue. If you believe that is unfair, grade him back up accordingly.

HV 5:141

Brandon Thomas, OL, Clemson - 6'3", 316 lbs. Imagine this: a very successful college offensive tackle with a nasty attitude, who's got tremendous feet and great hands but who projects as an elite Guard at the NFL level because he's considered a bit too short to fit the NFL mold. In earlier years I would have jumped up saying "Willie Colon!" but this year it's Brandon Thomas. Make no mistake - Thomas is a 3rd round talent who many had down for the late 2nd. But all that changed when he tore up his knee during the pre-draft workouts. Now he's going to fall ... and maybe even to the point where bargain shoppers like the Pittsburgh Steelers could get the steal of the draft.

HV 5:141

Blake Annen, TE, Cincinatti - 6'4", 247 lbs. Blake Annen appeared suddenly on people's boards when the news circulated about a legitimate and confirmed 4.41 time in the 40. That's a downright absurd time for a Tight End, but the cone drill times were equally good. And as I said, it's confirmed through multiple sources. The production numbers don't begin to match up, but that could easily be the result of system and QB problems versus anything particular on Annen. I haven't been able to find more, which makes him a very intriguing prospect. But it's hard to imagine that the Steelers didn't do a similar double-take and then scurry to find some actual answers.

HV 5:141

Rob Blanchflower, TE, U. Mass. - 6'4", 260 lbs. BTSC author Simon Chester did a nice writeup in his article reporting Blanchflower's visit to the Steelers:

Blanchflower seemed to be a jack of all trades at UMass. During his time at college there he lined up as an H Back, out in the slot as well as the more traditional inline position. He has good size for the position ... and what he may lack in speed and agility he makes up for it with his strength and blocking ability.

While his qualities in the run game are what gets him noticed he has a decent pair of hands and is a good route runner and while he is not going to bust a play wide open with his speed he looks to have enough pace to create separation and will lay a lick on any defender looking to take him down. ... He was unable to take part in the UMass pro day as he was still recuperating from a bilateral sports hernia.

HV 5:141

Joe Jon Duncan, TE, Dixie State - 6'3", 268 lbs. It's not often a Tight End at any level can be called "the focal point of the offense." I hesitate to use any Bleacher Report hyperbole as a reference, but I think that means he can at least be relied on to catch the ball and he has the mass to block better than David Paulsen. He also had a very impressive Combine. The main issues are height (it would be nice if he was 3" taller) and durability, since he's been banged up a lot throughout his college career. Nevertheless, Joe Jon Duncan is a young man the Steelers will definitely scout if they want to spend a third day pick on a TE - think David Paulsen with "unknown" added to the blocking category.

HV 5:141

Crockett Gilmore, TE, Colorado State - 6'6", 260 lbs. Crockett Gilmore began to appear on draft boards after a good showing at the East/West Shrine Game, then continued to rise when he shined at the Senior Bowl too. All the news reports said basically the same thing. He is a very good pass catcher, a good blocker, and an okay route runner who lacks the speed and athleticism that would move him into contention for a top-100 pick. OTOH, he is a true multi-purpose TE in a class where that is rare. It would not be a shock if the Steelers called his name in the first half of Day 3.

HV 5:141

Richard Rodgers, TE, California - 6'4", 257 lbs. A receiver who blocks well - for a receiver. As a Tight End, not so much. If he has even the potential to learn, he would be a solid mid-round pick. Should he get extra points because Rebecca Rollett would call him the 20th century's greatest writer of waltzes?

HV 5:141

Tyler Gaffney, RB, Stanford - 6'0", 220 lbs. A grind-it-out type who is good at everything and special at nothing. A serious baseball candidate as well, which indicates good all-around athleticism. And Stanford smart, which never hurts. He would compete with LeGarrette Blount as a backup for Bell.

HV 5:141

Marion Grice, RB, Arizona State - 6'0", 208 lbs. An excellent receiver and blocker who has the dawdle-and-slash skills to be perfect in a zone blocking system.

HV 5:141

Jerick McKinnon, RB, Georgia Southern - 5'9", 209 lbs. McKinnon is an option QB who will convert to RB in the pros; the hands-down winner of the underwear Olympics; and quite possibly my favorite realistic option in the draft for a Steelers' running back. At the Combine McKinnon actually ran the second-fastest 40-time for a running back (after Dri Archer) and tied Archer for the fastest 10-yard split. He also had the best bench of all the RB's, and put up phenomenal numbers in the vertical and broad jumps. In other words, the kid is an absolute physical specimen who is way, way bigger than his height. Aside from that, he's known as the best receiving back in the draft. If you could paint a better scouting report for an outside-zone, 3rd-down back I'd like to know what it is!

HV 5:141

LaDarius Perkins, RB/KR, Mississippi St. - 5'7", 195 lbs. Can you spell scattback? Here is a scouting report from our sister site for the NY Jets. An accomplished kick returner in his Sophomore and Junior years.

HV 5:141

Lache Seastrunk, RB, Baylor - 5'9", 201 lbs. Seastrunk isn't going to fall this far, but if he does he would be a good value-pick as a backup to Le'Veon Bell. He is a smaller version of the same guy; a hard running, just-fast-enough cut-and-slasher with great hands coming out of the backfield. Not exactly a change of pace ... but how, exactly, does it hurt to have two starting-caliber backs that fit your offensive scheme (or three with the addition of LeGarrette Blount)? The Steelers scheduled a visit with Seastrunk.

HV 5:141

Michael Campanaro, WR, Wake Forest - 5'9-3/8", 192 lbs. As summarized by cbssports.com, "Campanaro is a smart football player and has an extremely detail-oriented skill-set. Flashes natural hands with excellent focus and tracking ability." He ran an above average 40 at the Combine too. The downside is a low ceiling. He's the size of Antonio Brown without the blazing quickness. That drops you down, in this class especially.

HV 5:141

Shaquelle ("Shaq") Evans, WR, UCLA - 6'1", 213 lbs. A quality prospect to be the next Jericho Cotchery. He has good hands, runs good routes, and has been consistently productive, but lacks the special speed or quickness that would allow him to be much more than a consistent move-the-chains guy. Which is not a slam - we all loved Cotchery, and for very good reasons.

HV 5:141

Ryan Grant, WR, Tulane - 6'0-3/8", 199 lbs., and neither particularly fast or particularly slow. This HV rating is unfair and some team will probably snap Grant up by the early or mid-4th. But the Steelers are in an unusual position for Wide Receivers. We could use a true #1-quality weapon to pair with Antonio Brown or Heath Miller, but we actually have good depth after that with Wheaton, J-Co and Moye. Hence the lower HV # than he probably deserves. According to our own Steel34D: "Grant catches the ball well. He also runs good routes but there are concerns about his overall athleticism and level of competition he faced in college. He also has dealt with issues of holding on to the football after the catch. Overall Grant is a late round WR prospect with some upside to make a roster." He impressed at the Senior Bowl practices too. This scouting report from our sister site at Gang Green Nation says much the same thing.

HV 5:141

Alan Hurns, WR, Miami - 6'1", 198 lbs. There is a reason we all loved Jericho Cotchery. Solid, consistent, move-the-chains possession guys fit the Pittsburgh style. Add 10 pounds of muscle and some edge to Alan Hurns and you'll have that guy. As discussed in this February scouting report from out sister site for the Jets, Hurns has good hands, runs good routes, and has been consistently productive, but lacks the special speed or quickness that would allow him to be much more than a consistent #3 with pretentions to #2. But there is a reason we all loved Jericho Cotchery...

HV 5:141

T.J. Jones, WR/KR, Notre Dame - 5'11-5/8", 188 lbs. To quote from the cbssports.com scouting report, "He has strong, aggressive hands and attacks the ball at the catch point, selling his routes with coordinated footwork and a veteran presence. Jones lacks ideal size, strength or speed for the NFL game, but is reliable at all levels of the field and there is a place at the next level for him." Speed may have been answered at the Combine with a 4.48. That's very good, if not great, which may explain why he's been such a sneaky-good kick returner. That prowess also speaks well of his spatial awareness, a subtle but important skill for receivers who will make their living finding a hole in the zone. Would rank a lot higher if he was 2"-3" taller.

HV 5:141

Tevin Reese, WR, Baylor - 5'10", 170 lbs. Reese is super fast enough and slick enough to deserve a higher grade, but he lost most of his final year to a wrist surgery, he suffers from being a very good receiver in a very deep class, and he has enough questions in his game to send up warning signs. There's no big, glaring flag - it's more along the lines of a long series of small flags that could add up into something more serious. Here is a nice scouting report from our sister site for the NY Jets. If the Steelers ignore WR all the way into the 5th, however, he could easily be their next late round success story.

HV 5:156

Deandre Coleman, DE/NT, California - 6'5", 314 lbs. A mass of potential who never managed to be more than that. Here is one very brief scouting report, and here is a slightly longer one.

HV 5:156

Derrell Johnson, OLB, East Carolina - 6'1-1/2", 258 lbs. An immensely strong bull-rusher type who played 3-4 OLB at a Division II school. The scouting reports say he's been iffy in coverage even there, though not awful. Relatively reliable in run support. The big issue is his ability to transition from the much lower level of competition. Reports say he had a great pro day and looked good in all the drills, which moves him up a notch.

HV 5:156

Cassius Marsh, OLB, UCLA - 6'4", 252 lbs. He's a fine athlete but maybe more of a 4-3 DE. For the Steelers he would have to convert to OLB. That is asking a lot, but it is hard to imagine what other position he would fit on a Steelers defense. Here is a newspaper puff piece with some background.

HV 5:156

Khairi Fortt, ILB/OLB, California - 6'2", 248 lbs. One of the guys who left Penn State in the wake of the Sandusky scandal, Fortt underachieved at Cal. He's a tremendous athlete capable of growing into a true, 3-down linebacker if he can only master the mental side of the equation. Delays in recognizing plays constantly force him to use that athleticism to catch up to a play instead of blowing it up early. But that's a teachable offense. A good 3rd-day pick who should be thought of as a boom-or-bust guy that will require at least one and probably two redshirt years to figure out what's going on.

HV 5:156

Dion Bailey, S, USC - 5'11-1/2", 201 lbs. Decent to good size, decent to good speed, and better than good performance. Profootballspot.com provides a summary scouting report that explains why he might be a target. Downgraded because of the Mitchell signing.

HV 5:156

Ahmad Dixon, S, Baylor - 6'0", 212 lbs. Known as a big hitter with good athleticism and excellent speed, but some sloppy technique. If he was 2" taller and 20 pounds heavier he might be a 1st round pick. With the hiring of Mike Mitchell, the Steelers will only take him as a later-round flier. Here is a quick scouting report. Dixon may have a temper that will require some exploration. He was cleared by a grand jury from assault charges but it sounds like he really did punch the guy - just not at a level deserving criminal prosecution.

HV 5:156

Travis Carrie, KR/CB, Ohio - 6'0", 206 lbs. A find by Psycho Kuz. This is the closest thing I have found in the nature of a scouting report but it seems to give a review similar to PK's: Carrie is a fast and fluid athlete with starter-quality tools, but without the proper understanding of how to use them. The biggest issues are a lack of strength, some grabbiness, and a need for intense study of the position's mental side, but those are all solvable with time. Carrie is probably a good 2-3 years away from challenging for a position player role but could contribute immediately by getting Antonio Brown off kick return duties.

HV 5:156

Brandon Dixon, CB, NW Missouri State - 5'11-1/2", 203 lbs. A Division II prospect who shined at the Combine enough to thrust his way onto the Board. Ran a 4.41 40, etc. According to the reports he dominated the competition at his level, including a great game against WR prospect Jeff Janis and an excellent game against the speedy John Brown from Pittsburg State. This Bleacher Report scouting report gives him a 4th round grade, but seems to be much more upbeat about his abilities than other reviewers such as this scouting report from a Detroit Lions site, which ends with a 7th-round grade. Dixon will be solidly on the Steelers' Day 3 watch list.

HV 5:156

Nevin Lawson, CB, Utah State - 5'9-1/2", 190 lbs. At the Combine he proved to have adequate long speed (4.48) but didn't wow in any particular way. Contributor Psycho Kuz describes him as a "poor man's Jason Verrett." A nice 3rd-day developmental prospect in a very strong class.

HV 5:156

Terrance Mitchell, CB, Oregon - 5'11-1/8", 192 lbs. He had a lot of opportunities because he played opposite from next year's 1st-round pick Ifo Ekpre-Olomu, and he took advantage of them to get five interceptions. Here is a cbssports.com scouting report. He had to show long speed at the Combine and came back with a 4.63. That's not terrible, but it is a resounding "meh." The CBS report made a note that Mitchell was a little grabby in coverage at Oregon; this level of long speed may shift the bar a bit from "lack of technique" (teachable) toward "compensating for a physical weakness" (not).

HV 5:156

Bryan Stork, OL, Florida St. - 6'4", 315 lbs. From Psycho Kuz' mock draft. A good and versatile inside lineman who'd be worth a pick if the Steelers can't resign Velasco or Wallace.

HV 5:156

Kain Colter, WR, Northwestern - 5'10", 198 lbs. Played QB in college but will convert for the pros. According to this very entertaining puff piece he is a very smart kid and every inch the 'winner' who will find his way on to the field. Supposed to have okay speed and good quickness, but he's never played WR so there is a good bit of projection in this rating.

HV 5:156

Alex Neutz, WR, Buffalo - 6'3", 205 lbs. Good size, good hands, questionable speed. Don't know much more.

HV 5:156

Jalen Saunders, KR/WR, Oklahoma - 5'8-7/8", 165 lbs. I believe he is the smallest player in the draft, which means he might get killed if anyone can catch him. But that's a big "if." As you can see in this scouting report, and this smaller one, he is a flat-out electrifying presence on the field who plays a lot bigger than he measures. And he is not the next coming of Reggie Dunn. The reviews emphasize that he is a good route runner (improvable, but good) who has reliable hands despite their tiny size. He would make the team as a kick returner but would actually have a chance to contribute as a slot receiver too.

HV 5:156

L'Damian Washington, WR, Missouri - 6'3-7/8", 195 lbs. In other words, he his tall and thin. According to this scouting report, he also suffers from having good long speed (ran a 4.46 at the Combine) but poorer agility (only a 4.35 in the 20 yard shuttle) and a severe lack of polish. For better or worse, he's also had to play in the long shadow cast by his Sophomore teammate, the soon-to-be-a-1st-round-pick Dorial Beckham-Green. Still, that kind of height is hard to teach.

*** STEELERS PICK AT 5:157 ***

*** STEELERS PICK AT 5:173 ***

ROUND 6 GRADES

HV 6:177

Daniel McCullers, NT, Tennessee - 6'7", 352 lbs. A massive run-stuffer. He won't be catching any quarterbacks, but on true running downs he'd be ideal. A question for the film-watchers will be if his height causes leverage problems that will make him vulnerable at the next level. This scouting report from Walter Football hedges on that issue by noting that McCullers does, occasionally, play with good leverage and speculating that proper coaching might solve the problem.

HV 6:177

Michael Sam, OLB Missouri - 6'2", 261 lbs. A candidate to convert from DE to 3-4 OLB. Michael Sam was one of the better pass rushers in the SEC and beat out CJ Mosley as Defensive Player of the year. Seems to be smart and experienced, but may lack elite athleticism. He needed a good Combine but failed at it badly from a Steelers' point of view. In the NFL Michael Sam will be a situational, undersized DE in a 4-3 defense and not a 3-4 OLB. Get him in space and he's lost. In case you somehow missed it, Michael Sam is also the player who just came out about what he likes to do with whom in his bedroom, which makes him a potential press & chemistry issue. Still, if the Steelers see some hidden abilities that we did not, he might be in the cards as a 5th or 6th round pick. Here is a pre-Combine scouting report from Gang Green Nation, our sister site for the NY Jets. And here is a scouting report from Stephen White at SB Nation.

HV 6:177

Ethan Westbrooks, OLB, West Texas A&M - 6'3-1/2", 267 lbs. Westbrooks dominated during 2013 but against inferior Division II competition. Earning the defensive MVP at the East West Shrine Game put him firmly on the map with the big boys. As discussed in this scouting report, Westbrooks is totally raw but demonstrates both the athleticism and the raw talent you want to see. That makes him an ideal candidate for a 3rd day pick. Here is a more recent Bleacher report scouting effort, and here is the NFL.com scouting report. He didn't move particularly well at the Combine, though such a statement has very limited value with a kid who has so much left to learn. The bigger concerns are that he projects much better as a 4-3 DE (he would be a huge OLB), and he has a reputation for an on-and-off motor.

HV 6:177

Howard Jones, ILB/OLB, Shepherd - 6'2", 234 lbs. One of those "potential small school gems" we always want to know more about. He absolutely blew up the Combine which got him on a lot of radar screens.The follow up studies, like this scouting report from Bleacher Report, confirm the central message: his tape as a college DE is all but useless for projecting his abilities in the NFL, but there can be no doubt that he has the athleticism to succeed after a 2-3 year training period. It is even hard to tell if he would fit better as a 3-4 ILB, or an OLB in the 4-3, or a 3-4 OLB who needs to add a lot of size.

HV 6:177

Maurice Alexander, S, Utah State - 6'1", 220 lbs. Suggested by Psycho Kuz, who notes that he ran a 4.54 at the Combine, looked relatively good in the coverage drills, and certainly has the measurables. More a Strong Safety than a Free Safety, but a fine option for a 3rd day depth pick.

HV 6:177

Marqueston Huff, S/CB/KR, Wyoming - 5'11-1/8", 196 lbs. Huff has great measurables, played well statistically, and he is versatile. In college Huff played running back, cornerback, safety and return man at different times. But there appear to be some issues with a physical appearance that struck at least one person as overly casual to the point of looking indifferent or even lazy. Is that an actual attitude or just the way he looks to a single reviewer?

HV 6:177

Isaiah Lewis, S, Michigan State - 5'9-7/8", 211 lbs. The consensus seems to be, "solid but unremarkable." And well coached. Downgraded because of Mike Mitchell's free agent signing.

HV 6:177

Jemea Thomas, S/KR, Georgia Tech - 5'9-1/4", 192 lbs. Thomas played some slot corner in college, but according to both this scouting report and this scouting report he will be an in-the-box safety for the pros. On the upside, he's apparently an aggressive and competent tackler with good hands, who might be able to return kicks, and would be useful as a gunner. Sort of a Shamarko- or Robert Golden-lite. His ranking would have been too low to bother with if the Steelers had not brought him in for a visit.

HV 6:177

Marcus Williams, S/KR, North Dakota State - 5'11", 192 lbs. Poster bmoody gets credit for the find. Here is a scouting report. And here is an earlier one from September. He was a CB in college, but based on the reports he sounds like a better candidate to learn the Free Safety slot. Played okay as a CB in the East-West Shrine Game and practices, but didn't stand out - and that might be because he ought to move inside at the pro level. I am quite sure there is a file on him at Steelers Central. We have room for a developmental ballhawk who might be able to return kicks, and would be useful as a gunner.

HV 6:177

Ricardo Allen, CB, Purdue - 5'9-1/8", 187 lbs. This is an unfair grade since most sites have him graded as a Round 4-6 talent, but the Steelers traditionally prefer bigger CB's.

HV 6:177

Bene Benwikere, CB, San Jose State - 5'10-3/4", 195 lbs. Supposed to have some decent athleticism and coverage ability, but also quite raw and maybe lacking in top-end speed.

HV 6:177

Chris Davis, CB/KR, Auburn - 5'10", 203 lbs. Chris Davis will go down in SEC legend as the guy who made the big, last-second return to win the 2013 game against Alabama. But he also started for three years as a Cornerback. In that capacity, however, he has flashed more potential than achievement. He is "not accomplished" at man coverage, zone coverage, tackling, and run support. According to reports, he was holding for dear life at the Senior Bowl practices because of extremely stiff hips that made him vulnerable to every shifty- and double-move the receivers tried to pull. If Coach Lake thinks he is trainable, Chris Davis will be a target on Day 3. The ranking would be even lower if he wasn't an ace kick returner.

HV 6:177

Keith Lewis, CB, Univ. of Va. Lynchburg - 6’0", 197 lbs. Lewis was one of those secret prospects known only to professional scouts until his name started appearing on the private visit lists of various NFL teams. By all accounts he is another of the small-school gems who have all the athleticism in the world but lack anything close to the training they’d have gotten in Division I. A good 3rd-day flier if the Steelers want an athletic insurance policy.

HV 6:177

Ryan Groy, OL Wisconsin - 6'5", 316 lbs. Ran a very fast 10 yard split at the Combine - a 1.75. That's as good as top talents like Joe Thomas! Groy has played every position on the O-line as well as FB. Is he Kelvin Beachum 2.0? That wouldn't be a bad pick at all.

HV 6:177

Weston Richburg, C, Colorado State - 6'3", 298 lbs. According to Steel34D: "Richburg has NFL size at 6-foot-4, 300 pounds and nice display of athleticism. In a weak class for his position he may very well be the second center taken in the draft. He excels in pass blocking showing a good ability to mirror his opponent. Richburg needs to improve his strength but could be an intriguing pick for a zone team around the third round." The Steelers signed Cody Wallace as their backup but Pouncey's contract does come up in 2016. Richburg might be good insurance if they have any thought of going in a different direction.

HV 6:177

Seantrell Henderson, OT, Miami (Fla.) – 6’7", 331 lbs. For a pretty good discussion of both the ups and downs, see Neal’s April article "the sad story of Seantrell Henderson sinks to an even lower level." Henderson has all the size and native talent you could ever hope for, but it all hinges on whether some coach can find and stoke the competitive fire he’d need to be a pro. The Steelers are at least looking since they brought him in for a visit.

HV 6:177

Austin Wentworth, OT, Fresno St. - 6'5", 306 lbs.

HV 6:177

Marcel Jensen, TE, Fresno State - 6'6", 259 lbs. The Steelers have two working Tight Ends: Heath Miller, who can both block and catch, and Matt Spaeth, who can block well enough but (to put it kindly) is a bit lumbering as a receiver. Any Tight End would be expected to be the next Miller, not the next Spaeth. If Jensen can be that guy he might be a mid-round target. Random reports have said that he is nimbler than you'd expect, but Fresno State runs a wide open offense and that significantly reduced Jensen's playing time. That leads me to believe he's more of a blocker than a catcher, which is why I've moved him below some other players who offer more balance. If he really is a dual purpose guy, the grade is unfair.

HV 6:177

Jordan Najvar, TE, Baylor - 6'6", 256 lbs. According to cbssports.com, he is a "bruising blocker with soft hands." You could do worse. Somewhat less reliable sources tout his tremendous athleticism and length, while acknowledging that he is s-l-o-w. The Steelers may well be looking for a late-round Tight End who can catch and can at least learn to block. Najvar could be that guy, at least for routes that don't require actual running.

HV 6:177

Henry Josey, RB, Missouri - 5'8", 194 lbs. Here's the key figures to keep in mind about Josey: 4.43 dash at the Combine; 6.7 y/p/c average in 2013; and two-year layoff from 2001-2012 recovering from a gruesome knee injury. So ... if the doctors green-flag the knee, he'd be a great pick when he falls to the third day. But if the knee is any kind of an issue at all, he wouldn't be.

HV 6:177

Lorenzo Taliaferra, RB, Coastal Carolina - 6'0", 229 lbs. Tremendous production as a Division II school. Made his mark with a superior Senior Bowl, where he displayed good balance, vision, strength and potential as a blocker. Plays like he ‘wants it.'

HV 6:177

Terrance West, RB, Towson - 5'9", 225 lbs. A compact Division II rusher who dominated the lower level of competition. Lacks top speed but supposed to have "a nose for the end zone" according to the NFL.com review.

HV 6:177

James White, RB/KR, Wisconsin - 5'9", 204 lbs. A jack-of-all-trades who is does everything pretty well but nothing great. Hard to tackle but not a pile-pusher; just-okay straight line speed; good but not special as a receiver; competent as a college blocker but will have trouble as a pro; etc. Best asset is a great stop-and-start ability, which made him a decent kick returner despite 4.56 speed. Here is a scouting report from Bleacher Report, and another from a Wisconsin fan site.

HV 6:177

James Wilder, Jr., RB, Florida State - 6'3", 232 lbs. Wilder (son of the Buccaneers star) is not a 3rd down change-of-pace back. He is a classic Steelers power back with shifty enough feet and good enough body control to find extra yardage where none was to be had. The questions are health (he runs with a high-impact style and had some concussion and shoulder issues in 2013), explosiveness (despite a 5.8 y/p/c average, Wilder was the #2 back at FSU behind Devonta Freeman and was arguably demoted to #3 by year's end), and system fit (LeVeon Bell is a pretty big guy himself). But he's projected to fall into the 3rd day, and I project him to be a player capable of handling the load if Bell goes down.

HV 6:177

John Brown, WR/KR, Pittsburg State - 5'10", 175 lbs. A Division II player who ran a ridiculous 4.34 at the Combine, and caught almost all that was thrown his way. If I was his agent you'd be hearing the Mike Wallace comparisons already. The limitation is size, which is only okay, and level of competition, which was weak. The NFL.com site adds: "Playmaking ability as a receiver and return man. Has worked as a gunner. Well respected, coachable team captain." Nice.

HV 6:177

Quincy Enunwa, WR, Nebraska - 6'2", 225 lbs. Enunwa is a player who only came on the radar screen when news came that the Steelers were having him in for a visit. I encourage you to follow some of these links because you will rarely see a player who receives dead serious comparisons to Terrell Owens, Anquan Boldin, Michael Crabtree, and Brandon Marshall...and who also gets universally ranked as a back-of-the-3rd-day option. Here is the most thorough scouting report I've found (the one that compares to Owens and Donte Moncrief). The upsides are size, amazing YAC, character, leadership (team captain), and willingness to block for a totally run-oriented offense. The downsides are like Owens, Crabtree, and Marshall - the occasional boneheaded, inexcusable drop. Then there's this scouting report on measurables aptly titled "Quincy Enunwa is the Ultimate Lottery Ticket". Enunwa ran a 4.45 dash at the Combine, which is borderline freaky for a man that size, but couldn't do anything else. So this article digs deeper into various metrics. Here's the basic point to look at, however: "For his career he converted 11 of 23 red zone targets into touchdowns, which is an elite rate." In fact 10 of the 12 touchdowns in his senior year came in the red zone ... which is where the Steelers are weakest. The downside pointed out in this article? Fears that he only produced in his Senior year. Do a Google search and you'll find a number of comparable discussions. And here is a third scouting report, this one from our sister site for the Eagles. Same positives. The negatives: mental errors plus "He has stiff hips, is not a route runner [and] his hands are very inconsistent as he will make hard catches but drop easy ones." My conclusion: that the world hasn't yet seen the real Quincy Enunwa yet, good or bad, because he never played in an offense that knew how to train and use receivers. It's that unknown factor that makes him so intriguing, and so risky. Bottom line: he would be an ideal 3rd day flier if the Steelers get a smaller receiver early and decide to dip back in to this extremely deep class later on. The boom could be off the charts. The bust could be total and complete.

HV 6:177

Benny Fowler, WR, Michigan State - 6'1", 217 lbs. Fowler has the physical potential to be great. He topped out the broad jump at the Combine, which is just one of the indicators for his really top-notch athleticism. Also has good hands and can run good routes. The knock is that he's been less physical than he should be, and may have the sort of mindset that settles for "good enough;" which never is in the NFL. If the scouts can certify his upstairs components and attitude, Benny Fowler could prove to be yet another late round Steelers theft at WR.

HV 6:177

Matt Hazel, WR, Coastal Carolina - 6'1", 200 lbs. There is a lot to like about Matt Hazel. He's tall enough; has decent hands; has excellent body control; and he has good speed and quickness. What knocks him down is a concern about his internals: the reviews include a reputation for hearing footsteps and short-arming plays when he does. The plan here would be to add 10-15 pounds of muscle on to the kid, and to convince him that this new size makes him strong enough to withstand NFL impacts. Do that, and he could grow into a solid #2 receiver with pretentions to being even better. A late round boom-or-bust prospect with a moderate ceiling on the boom.

*** STEELERS PICK AT 6:193 ***

*** STEELERS PICK AT 6:215 (COMP) ***

ROUND 7 GRADES

HV 7:216

Jamie Meder, NT, Ashland Univ. - 6'2", 305 lbs. This is a tiny Division II school, but Meder earned some serious recognition as a guy who can bench press 500 pounds. He was also productive - a four-time All-GLIAC (the conference) first team pick and the GLIAC defensive lineman of the year in 2012 and 2013.You could do worse with a late round flyer. Bmoody gets credit for the find.

HV 7:216

Tim Jackson, DE, North Carolina - 6'5", 295 lbs. An entry suggested by poster Dom Kay, who has watched a lot of film and suggests that Jackson would have an easier time converting to the elusive 5-technique DE than many players the pundits have higher ranked. Here is highlight reel if you want to look. Cbssports.com has him ranked all the way down at #571 on its Big Board, so we may be looking at a UDFA treasure more than a 7th round pick.

HV 7:216

Elhadji Ndiaye, OLB, Nebraska-Kearney - 6'5, 255 lbs. Out here in boom or bust land you can find some very strange critters ... like 255 pound linebackers that run a 4.48 40-time. Ndiaye is a true, late-round flyer but if he booms instead of busts he could be an all-star. Check out this article for some background. As a draftnik's analysis said, if the reports are true then Ndiaye is this year's Ziggy Ansah. If my amateur opinion matters, I view him as a pure redshirt year OLB option. I see no way he will even sniff playing time in 2014 on anything but special teams. But that is not a serious price to pay for the Steelers because it is equally true for players with vastly more playing experience. Come Year 2 he might be ready to be a backup and situational player, but I acknowledge that a LOT can change in a year if you have a kid who is willing to learn. And he's had some training from a cousin who played D-Line for several teams - Ogemdi Nwagbuo, who saw the potential in Elhadji and got him into football.

HV 7:216

Roosevelt ("Deebo Clone") Nix, OLB/ILB, Kent State - 5'11, 260 lbs. Roosevelt Nix may be the most puzzling player on my Board. His upside? James Harrison, right down to the height (within an inch), the weight, the same college, and even the likelihood that he'll be a UDFA. If those comparisons aren't enough to make you love him, every account I've found - including this one, and this one, and this one - agrees that Roosevelt Nix has one of (and maybe the) best first steps in all of college football. Despite the lack of height and weight he played dominant enough football as a 4-3 Defensive Lineman to earn praise like "elite interior penetrator." I project him as a linebacker, but beyond that it's baffling. One thing does seem to be clear, however: Roosevelt Nix would be a fantastic prospect for wherever he manages to fit.

HV 7:216

Cqlin Hubert, ILB, Southeastern Louisiana - 6'1", 250 lbs. An entry in the BTSC sweepstakes for "favorite UDFA," suggested by poster Dom Kay. He plays ILB, but DK's suggested position was "special teams assassin." Check out this video highlights article and this highlights article to see why. Fun stuff.

HV 7:216

Alden Darby, S, Arizona State - 5'11", 195 lbs. In another year he'd get a lower ranking, but Darby is actually two things: a genuine football player and a young man who plays safety. That will ensure he gets drafted in this class. At the East-West Shrine Game he snagged two interceptions and showed a fine range. That will get the Steelers attention too. Downgraded because of Mike Mitchell's free agent signing.

HV 7:216

Bennett Jackson, S/CB, Notre Dame - 5'11-7/8", 185 lbs. A classic DB 'tweener' who ran well at the Combine. Notre Dame is pretty good about requiring at least a modicum of smarts, so I assume he has a good football IQ as well. That would make him a fine developmental candidate for a 3rd-day pick.

HV 7:216

Hakeem Smith, S, Louisville - 6'1", 180 lbs. The consensus seems to be, "solid but unremarkable." Downgraded because of Mike Mitchell's free agent signing.

HV 7:216

Kendall James, CB, Maine - 5'10-1/2", 180 lbs. This preseason scouting report emphasized that he is primarily a zone player (which is the Steelers forte) and that the primary question marks had to do with long speed. He answered that with a resounding 4.44 dash in the Combine. He is still a late-3rd or UDFA candidate, but I include him because the Steelers may want to stock up on prospects late in the draft.

HV 7:216

Lavelle Westbrooks, CB/S, Georgia Southern - 5'11", 186 lbs. Has all the physical tools but is extremely raw, played against a much lower level of competition, and it showed at events like the Senior Bowl where he looked a little lost and slow at recognizing the situation. Westbrooks has the athleticism to be a very solid pro, but coachability will be everything. This appears to be a decent scouting report despite the source. Westbrooks did play some Free Safety at Georgia Southern and has the capacity to do it in the pros as well, but we can discount that for now because Free Safety takes an even higher football IQ than Cornerback. Give him some time. OTOH, the Safety experience may indicate a good foundation for tackling, and thus an edge toward contributing via special teams.

HV 7:216

J.C. Copeland, FB, LSU - 5'11" 271 lbs. Former DT converted to FB. According to our own Greig Clawson, Copeland moves really well for a guy with his size. Would probably get a 5th round grade if the Steelers didn't have a good Fullback already in Will Johnson. Still, a man that size who moves that well is definitely going to find his way onto the field somehow, in Special Teams if nowhere else.

HV 7:216

Senorise Perry, RB/KR, Louisville - 6'0", 206 lbs. Good acceleration, sub-4.4 speed, some kick return ability, and the endorsement of poster SteelersFan814 earn him a late round spot on the Board. The downside is that he's purely a one-cut player who lacks some shiftiness, he had limited production, and his lack of bulk is a little worrying. As the NFL.com scouting report summed it up: "Fast, linear, one-cut perimeter slasher best-suited for a zone scheme."

HV 7:216

Jeremy Butler, WR, Tennessee-Martin - 6'1-3/4", 224 lbs. A possession receiver with nice size but only okay (4.6) speed. Comes from a teeny school, but is a promising possession guy nevertheless.

HV 7:216

Marcus Lucas, WR, Missouri - 6'4", 218 lbs. At that height and with a reputation for good hands, he needs to be on the Board. He's not any higher because he doesn't play as big as he is, and has limited speed and quickness.

HV 7:216

Josh Stewart, KR/WR, Oklahoma State - 5'9-7/8", 178 lbs. Fast and elusive, he would make the team as a kick returner who might also become a decent receiver. Looked surprisingly poor at the Combine, with subpar results for both the 40 and the agility drills. He'll have to make that up at his pro day or look to be a UDFA.

*** STEELERS PICK AT 7:231 ***

SOURCES. Most of the raw data for this Board came from BTSC articles and comments, cbssports.com,walterfootball.com, NFL.com, and SBNation.com. Other sources appear as links in the text.

THOUGHTS ON NEEDS AND WANTS. Grades are based in part on my analysis of the Steelers wants and desires appears here, current as of New Years, this series by Bob Labriola, and on the BTSC series on Steelers Roster Projections. This post was written with the following roster moves on the books or assumed:

New Contracts

  • FS Mike Mitchell signed to a 5-year contract.
  • OL Cody Wallace was resigned to a 3-year contract.
  • NT/DE Cam Thomas signed to a 2-year contract.
  • RB LeGarrette Blount signed to a 2-year contract.
  • WR Lance Moore signed to a 2-year contract.
  • OLB/ILB Arthur Moats signed to a 1-year contract.
  • CB Brice McCain signed to a 1-year contract.
  • WR Darrius Heyward-Bey signed to a 1-year contract.
  • CB Ike Taylor will be back for one year after accepting a big pay cut.

Losses (good luck to them all when they aren't playing the Steelers)

  • DE Ziggy Hood.
  • DE/NT Al Woods.
  • OLB Lamarr Woodley.
  • ILB Larry Foote.
  • RB Jonathan Dwyer.
  • WR Manny Sanders.
  • WR Jericho Cotchery.
  • FS Ryan Clark.
  • DE Brett Keisel (remains a free agent).

THE AIN'T GONNA HAPPEN LIST

More than a third of the first two rounds will likely go toward prospects who play a position where the Steelers have little or no need. Giving them a Steelers HV # is silly, but they should be listed to provide examples of the many prospects that will prevent other teams from snapping up our favorites.

Lamarcus Joyner, CB/S/KR, Florida State - 5'8", 184 lbs. Joyner is a football player through and through. He is a legitimate 2nd round talent and should be picked there. He's off my Board because he's only 5'8", Shamarko Thomas is only 5'9", and it is a lot easier to compensate for one short player than it would be for two. If you want more information Bucky Brooks of the NFL Network did a thorough scouting report in November, 2013. He compared Joyner to a slot-corner Wes Welker, a playmaker like Troy Polamalu, and then ended up giving a 2nd round grade.

CB/S

Kony Ealy, DE, Missouri - 6'4", 273 lbs. Kony Ealy is a natural 4-3 DE who will go to a 4-3 team well before the point when he would be a value pick for the 3-4 Steelers. He has enough talent that he could probably be a pass rushing 5-technique too, but it ain't gonna happen and he's not a realistic candidate for converting to OLB. This is the scouting report from SB Nation.

DE

Dominique Easley, DE, Florida - 6'2", 288 lbs. Great talent. Blew out both the ACL and MCL in his right knew in September of 2013, after coming back from an ACL in his left knee during 2011. So there would be a downgrade anyway. But with the added questions about his fit with the Steelers ... Ain't Gonna Happen.

DE

George Uko, DE, USC - 6'2-1/2", 284 lbs. The sort of player who will put on weight and make an effective 4-3 defensive line contributor. CBS has him as a late-3rd round talent in that capacity, but he is not a fit for our system.

DE

Timmy Jernigan, DT, Florida State - 6'2", 290 lbs. Jernigan will probably go to a 4-3 team in the 1st, but will certainly be gone by the end of the 2nd. Here is the SB Nation scouting report.

DT

Will Sutton, DT, Arizona State - 6'0", 280 lbs. Another 4-3 guy.

DT

Max Bullough, ILB, Michigan State - 6'3", 249 lbs. A pure 2-down thumper on the inside. We have Vince Williams and Arthur Moats already.

ILB

Anthony Johnson, DT/NT, Alabama - 6'2", 308 lbs. Another very athletic 4-3 guy who won't fall to the point where picking a NT could make sense, and who lacks the length to succeed as a 3-4 DE.

NT

Louis Nix, NT, Notre Dame - 6'2", 340 lbs. The Steelers will only pick a Nose Tackle who either (a) can play all three downs and rush the passer, or (b) will be available in the 4th round or later. Nix can't do (a) and is way too good for (b). Ain't Gonna Happen.

NT

ALL OFFENSIVE LINEMEN WITH A 1ST-5TH ROUND GRADE

OL

Prince Shembo, OLB, Notre Dame - 6'1", 258 lbs. Shembo's rep at the beginning of the process was ‘great motor; tough kid; but limited athleticism.' He answered some of the athleticism questions at the Combine and would have gone up to a Round 3-4 grade, but that good news was offset by huge red flags when stories like this one confirmed that he was the player involved in the Lizzy Seeberg sexual-assault-and-suicide case. I apologize for the breach of due process, but he has to come off this Board because we lack the ability to answer those questions.

OLB

ALL QUARTERBACKS

QB

ALL RUNNING BACKS WITH BETTER THAN 5TH ROUND GRADES (OTHER THAN 3RD-DOWN SCATBACKS)

RB

Deone Bucannon, S, Washington State - 6'1", 211 lbs. Off the Board with the hiring of Mike Mitchell.

S

Hasean ("HaHa") Clinton-Dix, S, Alabama - 6'1-3/8", 208 lbs. With the hiring of Mike Mitchell, early-round Safeties are off the Board. HHCD certainly fits in that category.

S

Jonathan Dowling, S, Western Kentucky - 6'2-3/4", 190 lbs. Great physical tools, lots of off-the-field problems.

S

Kenny Ladler, S, Vanderbilt - 6'0-1/8", 207 lbs. Off the Board with the hiring of Mike Mitchell.

S

Calvin Pryor, S, Louisville - 5'11-1/8", 207 lbs. With the hiring of Mike Mitchell, early-round Safeties are off the Board. HHCD certainly fits in that category.

S

Ed Reynolds, S, Stanford - 6'1", 207 lbs. Off the Board with the hiring of Mike Mitchell.

S

Victor Hampton, CB, South Carolina - 5'9", 197 lbs. This brief article at cbssports.com describes Hampton as follows: "a strong competitor [with] the foot quickness and range to cover a lot of ground. Solidly built ... welcomes contact ... aggressive ... Hampton has a good blend of awareness, ball skills and read/react ability... He lacks ideal height and [can be] overaggressive." Mayock gave him a 2nd-round grade "before off-field considerations," but as he later noted those character issues are very real and need to be taken into account. Hampton's red flags go back to the four (4) high schools he had to attend due to repeated anger problems, and a series of issues with team rules at South Carolina. Reports say that he matured a bit toward the end of his college career but then, during the pre-draft run up, this mess came up in a NYC nightclub, followed by a fight with his sister that got both of them arrested. Ain't gonna happen.

CB

Loucheiz Purifoy, CB/KR, Florida - 5'11-1/2", 190 lbs. A career underperformer who was expected to blow up the Combine ... and then didn't. Forget the rest of it - after recent events he is off the Board completely.

CB

Colt Lyerla, TE, Oregon (before being dropped) - 6'4", 242 lbs. Great physical tools, lots of critical off-the-field problems.

TE

Jeremy Gallon, WR, Michigan - 5'7", 185 lbs. Here is a (somewhat iffy) scouting report that summarizes Jeremy Gallon as "Brandin Cooks without the speed." Cooks ... maybe. But without the speed?

WR

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