A few weeks ago, ESPN's Todd McShay penciled in Washington CB Marcus Peters as the No. 22 overall selection to the Pittsburgh Steelers in his Mock Draft 2.0. Wednesday, Mel Kiper Jr. followed suit, mocking the Steelers an impact player in the secondary in the second edition of his mock draft, as he feels Alabama S Landon Collins would be the best pick.
At the University of Alabama, Collins became the country's top safety as the do-everything player for Nick Saban's top ranked Crimson Tide defense. Kiper praises Collins' size, ability in run support and durability, but has questions regarding the young safety's instincts and his tracking of balls in the air. Kiper does, however, consider Collins one of the draft's top players, and says he only dropped the All-American in his mock draft because he either isn't a fit for teams picking earlier, or teams are seeking more of an immediate impact player, a role typically not dictated to safeties. Collins, if he does fall to No. 22, would be a tremendous value pick and serve a position of need for the Steelers, as the looming departure of Troy Polamalu and uncertainty of Sharmarko Thomas as a legitimate starter make the free safety position a question mark.
Kiper cites the Collins could serve as an excellent replacement for Polamalu as he possess a rare combination willingness in coverage, experience and ability to provide run support. Collins' versatility could potentially turn him into a day one starter on a Steelers defense with holes across the board, so while cornerback or outside linebacker could be considered more glaring positions of need, solidifying the secondary with the one of the draft's top players could make for a wise move on the part of the Steelers front office.