Okay, assume for a second that Kevin Colbert & Co. have decided to take a CB with the 15th overall pick in the upcoming draft to improve a secondary that really needs some bolstering. The top two CBs in the 2014 NFL Draft class are undeniably Darqueze Dennard of Michigan State and Justin Gilbert of Oklahoma State. Now let's also assume both are available to the Steelers, who'd they take?
Darqueze Dennard, CB, Michigan State
He is a pretty well-built player and has long arms. He excels in man-to-man coverage and uses the sidelines to shut receivers down. He's also got pretty good ball skills. One thing that really stands out though is his prowess in defending the run. He's a very physical player and a great tackler at a position where players are usually a liability in this facet.
The knock on him from scouts has been his straight-line speed and athletic ability. He's not much of a "physical specimen" and in a day where scouts read into these results more, his stock could take a slight hit.
The bottom line though is that Dennard is a very solid player and has no glaring weaknesses. He is an all-around contributor and uses his physicality along with his technique to get an edge. He projects as someone who can potentially start and make an impact right away.
Gilbert is much different from Dennard in many ways, mainly his athleticism. He is considered one of the best athletes of this year's class and that 4.37 40-yard dash time at the Combine shows his physical capability. He also has a bit of a size advantage on Dennard along with better vision and acceleration.
Gilbert can sometimes be a liability in press coverage as his technique can leave something to be desired and draw some penalties. His footwork Isn't the best either and many scouts have stated his tendency to bite on fakes and give up the big play. His presence in the run defense isn't as great as Dennard's and his tackling is also second to Dennard's.
Gilbert is more of a dynamic, athletic kind of player we are starting to see more and more of in the NFL. He possesses an athletic edge over Dennard and this allows him to be more of a facilitator of turnovers, something the Steelers have lacked for a few years now. If he can polish off the finer points of his game, he has massive potential at the NFL level.
Dennard and Gilbert are very different players, but I believe either would be a great addition to the Steelers if the opportunity is there. Dennard is definitely the "safer" pick per se, but doesn't quite have the athletic or big-play abilities of Gilbert.
What do you think? Vote on the poll!