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Mel Kiper mock draft: ESPN Draft Analyst sends Louis Nix III to Pittsburgh at No. 15

Notre Dame nose tackle Louis Nix has been a popular choice for many mocks so far, and ESPN's Mel Kiper is staying in line with that.

Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports

A collective sigh of frustration likely escapes from many Steelers fans.

After the last two years of highly athletic and potentially highly productive players being mocked to Pittsburgh in Mel Kiper's initial mock draft, they'll have to settle for Louis Nix III.

Kiper's initial mock projected the Steelers to take the nose tackle from Notre Dame with the 15th overall pick, leaving others like Stephon Tuitt (No. 23 to the Chiefs) and Marquise Lee (No. 18 to the Jets) on the board.

It's not that Nix is bad, necessarily. It's just that Kiper's initial projection before the 2012 Draft was the ultra-athletic defensive tackle Dontari Poe and in 2013, it was the...ultra athletic Ziggy Ansah.

Nix doesn't exactly fit that mold.

There's something to be said over the fact Kiper projected Poe and Ansah far lower than where they ended up being drafted for the very reason Steelers fans were excited about them in the first place. Still, it seems almost like a let-down.

The pick makes a lot of sense in a lot of ways, but for a defense that struggled against the run and has really shown cracks forming in their pass defense, the fact Nix likely would only be on the field for half of the defensive snaps doesn't appear to be a strong step in the right direction.

Individial workouts and All Star games will likely clarify the whole picture in the coming months as to which direction the Steelers will go with the 15th pick.

SB Nation's mid-January Mock Draft video