2014 NFL Mock Draft: Steelers select playmaking cornerback Justin Gilbert

Richard Rowe-USA TODAY Sports

Will he be available at No. 15 for the Steelers? It doesn't seem likely, so consider Gilbert on the higher end of the spectrum of possibilities.

We're digging deep to find new names of potential targets for the Steelers with the No. 15 pick, but ever since Kiper and McShay gave dual-Nix predictions, they've been hard to find.

Consider Oklahoma State cornerback Justin Gilbert on the high end of the spectrum, but no less a valid candidate.

His main drawback as far as a draft prediction for the Steelers goes is he has too much playmaking talent to last until the 15th overall pick. That isn't stopping the folks at Alpha Football Expert from predicting his availability when the Steelers are on the clock.

Ike Taylor has had a great career for Pittsburgh but his once great speed is fading . Add that he had a horrible year , that this defense desperately needs to get younger, that the cash strapped Steelers can save 7 million by cutting him , and I doubt he will be back next season. Gilbert would give them a new tall ,young, healthy, physical corner to cover the AJ Greens & Josh Gordons of the division . Gilberts improvements this year is staggering. Throw his kick returning ability in the mix and Pittsburgh has a new # 1 corner.

Considering the general lack of depth the Steelers have at the cornerback position in the future, going that way early (and possibly often) in the 2014 NFL Draft seems like a solid bet. Gilbert is a willing tackler, a prerequisite among Steelers defensive backs, but his playmaking ability (seven interceptions last season) and his size and length make him a tantalizing prospect - probably so much so he won't last into the teens come May.

Michigan State's Darqueze Dennard is another player who's been associated with this spot, but questions will have to be answered as to whether he's worth being tabbed as the 15th best player available in this draft.

Gilbert isn't the 15th best player in this draft, either. He's better than that. It seems likely teams drafting ahead of Pittsburgh will feel the same way.

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