ESPN released the second versions of the mock drafts of both Mel Kiper Jr. and Todd McShay Thursday, and both analysts predicted Notre Dame nose tackle Louis Nix III will be headed to Pittsburgh with the No. 15 overall selection.
This has not been the popular candidate to this point. His position does not speak highly of versatility or pass rushing prowess, two areas believed to be needs for the Steelers' defense in 2014. In fact, nose tackles don't play in specialty packages, and the Steelers are in their subs the majority of the game.
Today's NFL requires versatile front seven players to attack opposing passing games - both the quarterback and the receivers, as Seattle demonstrated so well when they destroyed Denver in Super Bowl XLVIII.
Nix is not likely that kind of player. What he is, however, is tough to move. At approximately 340 pounds, he would be utilized in Pittsburgh heads up over the center, looking to control the middle of the line of scrimmage. If the nose tackle is strong enough and has quick enough of a first step, he can get even with the interior offensive linemen, thus sucking protection in toward him, and loosening up the outside for pass rushers.
Will Nix be able to do that? According to Kiper and McShay, the Steelers will begin finding out in May.