Mocking the Draft: Steelers select OLB Anthony Barr at 15

Andrew Weber-USA TODAY Sports

Steelers mock general manager Erik Stone selects the raw but talented outside linebacker Anthony Barr with the 15th overall pick in Mocking the Draft's live mock.

This sounds familiar.

An outside linebacker who is a consensus top five pick during the college season suddenly falls from the minds of draft analysts for one reason or another. That player ends up on the Pittsburgh Steelers.

With the 15th pick in the 2014 Mocking the Draft live draft, the Pittsburgh Steelers, led by general manager Erik Stone, selected UCLA OLB Anthony Barr, giving the Steelers back-to-back first round picks at the position. They selected Jarvis Jones there last year, clearly sending a message of emphasis on pass rushing.

Or the lack of it. The Steelers have sunk to the bottom third of the league in sacks over the last three seasons. The slow development of Jason Worilds, injury history of LaMarr Woodley and lack of depth at the defense's key pass rushing position has turned a franchise that was the best in the game at sacking the quarterback into an extraordinarily long slump for the premier defensive franchise in the NFL.

One issue here is, like Jones, Barr will need time to develop. Even more so, in fact. part of Barr's descent from top-pick hype is due to his lack of polish in the art of rushing the passer. He doesn't have a good counter move yet to twart re-corrects from offensive tackles, and has only played two years at the position in college. Jones was, in many ways, thrust into the starting lineup last year. There little to no chance Barr starts in 2014.

But the athleticism he showed and the raw skill he has, he's a project with a very high ceiling. Getting an explosive playmaker on the Steelers' defense is critical in this draft, whether he's going to play much now or in the future.

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