2014 NFL Mock Draft: Steelers going after MSU CB Darqueze Dennard

Kirk Irwin

While Dennard's name comes up the most often to Pittsburgh in mock drafts, SI's Don Banks justifies the pick in a very believable way.

Much of the point in posting mock drafts is to provide a sense of what fans, pundits and prognosticators feel is the direction of the Steelers' scouting department, coaching staff and front office.

A huge portion of it can't be trusted for the reasons they want you to believe it. That doesn't mean their ends won't justify the Steelers' means, though. In that, three players are coming up more often than everyone else's right now - Michigan State's Darqueze Dennard (who happens to be the Steelers' choice in Sports Illustrated writer Don Banks' most recent mock draft), Oklahoma State's Justin Gilbert (who is usually the pick if he is still on the board) and Florida State's Kelvin Benjamin (with whom the Steelers met and dined Tuesday in Tallahassee).

None of that is written in blood on stone in front of a judge. And while no one confuses Banks or any other draft writer as an NFL general manager or head scout, they're oftentimes in the ballpark of where the team will end up.

Banks is not a scout, and doesn't pretend to be. He does, though, justify his selection of Dennard in a very understandable way:

The Mike Mitchell signing in free agency seems to eliminate safety as a first-round option, but the Steelers would still be wise to get younger in the secondary, where there's a little too much experience on hand. Dennard is a pro-ready prospect and Pittsburgh could use more defensive backs who give Dick LeBeau's defense a fighting chance against the likes of AFC North receivers A.J. Green, Marvin Jones, Torrey Smith, Steve Smith and Josh Gordon.

It's hard to argue with a lot of it, and the real counterpoint fans will make is the notion of being able to get Dennard a little later in the first round. If a trade scenario were to unfold, I would think the Steelers would be all over it, especially if that trade netted them a third round pick as well as Dennard.

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