It's tough to ignore upside.
I was asked to participate in Draft Season's 2015 Blogger's Mock Draft recently, a yearly tradition run by a great site (which definitely should be viewed), and found myself staring down the barrel with the clock running down.
I was late with my selection, actually, but they didn't allow the Lions to jump ahead of me and make their pick.
So I selected LSU cornerback Jalen Collins with the 22nd overall pick.
Analysis: Much like our (not) friends in Cleveland, we thought long and hard about Minnesota TE Maxx Williams, and may end up regretting passing on him just for his versatility alone.
If we’re going to go offense with this pick, a tackle (Andrus Peat, perhaps) may be our best bet, considering who’s left on the board. Ultimately, the Steelers need to get a cornerback who can be ready to contribute a significant amount of snaps in 2016.
The Steelers are likely to retain Brice McCain, and along with the solid William Gay and the (hopefully) mentally re-constructed Cortez Allen, there’s enough there to get by in terms of coverage in the short term. Beyond that, though, there may be an issue – bigger than the one they have now.
With a lack of pass rushers available at this spot (too high for Eli Harold and Owamagbe Odighizuwa), the high-ceiling prospect Collins works well as a player who needs a bit of polish before being expected to take on the A.J. Greens and the Steve Smiths of the AFC North. Collins is a good athlete and has a great, long frame for the position. He has a bit of Xavier Rhodes in him – another example of a long athlete without a whole lot of experience coming into the NFL. Rhodes has developed into a solid player, and we think Collins will too, with a bit of work.
Hopefully Kevin Colbert doesn't have the same level of buyer's remorse as I do, particularly after reading Thirty's excellent breakdown of Wake Forest CB Kevin Johnson. The top five pass rushers were off the board - Dante Fowler, Vic Beasley, Shane Ray, Randy Gregory and Bud Dupree all were taken in the top 19. Arik Armstead (intriguing) went to Cincinnati at 21. Trae Waynes went to New Orleans at 13, Marcus Peters went to Philadelphia at 20. La'el Collins and T.J. Clemmings were both gone.
So who's left? Johnson and Williams, two players I wouldn't mind hearing called upon the Steelers' pick in the first round. Harold is probably going to be the name bandied around here (he went 24 to Arizona), but my thought was if I'm going to take on a project either way, I'd rather go with one who has more natural gifts. Collins is long and moves fluidly even with that length. That's a big advantage covering down the field, and he's 6-foot-0 tall anyway.
So let's discuss...look over the mock, was I right or wrong?