clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

Steelers 2015 NFL Draft Big Board: Ranking prospects by position

New, comments

Our initial stab at organizing some of the prospects. Only for use as a guide to Bowl games (thus avoiding any jinx on the Steelers' prospects in the playoffs). The Board will be continually updated as the process moves forward.

Steve Dykes/Getty Images

This follows up with our Big Board by ranking, and provides a different (and early) look at prospects by position for the 2015 NFL Draft.

HV

Info

Pos.

HV 1:15

Marcus Peters, CB, Washington - 6'0", 198 lbs. He may have the best film of all the cover corners and he's going to look great at the Combine too. The issues are all off-field. Peters played most of his college career for the Washington Huskies, but was dismissed from the team after repeated battles with the new coaching staff. OTOH, U. of W. agreed to continue paying his scholarship at whatever school(s) he went to, which means that even the university brass knew that the problems weren't all on him. What's going on behind the scenes? Did he really try to "strangle" a coach as part of the "multiple arguments" he had with the new staff? You and I may never know, but it is the major factor that will determine how far this early-1st talent will fall.

CB

HV 1:15

Trae Waynes, CB, Michigan State - 6'1", 183 lbs. A player who flat-out fits the mold in every way, with one tiny exception: He grades out as a "merely fantastic" athlete rather than an "OMG did you see that!?" sort. Killing the combine would move him into top-10 consideration. As-is, in this CB class, he's not going to make it out of the 20's.

CB

HV 1:20

Jalen Collins, CB, LSU - 6'2", 195 lbs. This is a kid with all the physical tools, including the quickness of a smaller man, and who seems to have the mental tools as well, such as a well respected work ethic. In other words, he's exactly the kind of prospect that makes coaches nod wisely and say, ‘I can work with that...' The drawback is that he'll need a redshirt year before being ready to take on crafty NFL guys - especially in a Lebeau defense - and that is enough to keep him out of the top half of the 1st. Here is a pre-2014 scouting report.

CB

HV 1:20

Ifo Ekpre-Olomu, CB, Oregon - 5'9", 195 lbs. Remember Jason Verrett last year? That's IEO this year. "If he was 4" taller and 20 lbs. heavier, he'd be a candidate for the top-10." Speed, quicks, hands, head ... he's got it all except height. Translating to draftese, IEO is a ‘safe' pick because he has such a high floor that it's hard to see him being less than a really good slot corner. But how high in the 1st does that get you when a true #1 has to cover the Calvin Johnsons of the world as well as the Antonio Browns? HAD WHAT IS BEING DESCRIBED AS A "SERIOUS KNEE INJURY" ON DECEMBER 17. IT WILL KEEP HIM OUT OF THE COLLEGE PLAYOFFS, BUT THE LONG TERM IMPACT BEYOND THAT IS UNKNOWN. LAST YEAR, PROJECTED 1ST ROUND CORNER AARON COLVIN FELL TO THE 4TH BECAUSE OF AN ACL TEAR. IF IEO HAD A SIMILAR INJURY, A SIMILAR DROP COULD BE IN THE CARDS.

CB

HV 1:20

P.J. Williams, CB, Florida State - 6'0", 196 lbs. You could argue that he's underperformed this year, but if he'd lived up to the pre-season hype we'd be looking at a top-10 player. A very real prospect for Pittsburgh's 1st-round pick because he's still got exactly the skillset that the Steelers like: athletic, tough, good in run support, and willing to both work and learn. The downside is that he's likely to get burned early and often if he gets on the field in year 1. But that's true for pretty much every corner in this year's class with the possible exception of IEO.

CB

HV 1:25

Kevin Johnson, CB, Wake Forest - 6'0", 175 lbs. Expect Johnson's draft stock to rise during the process. He's been a solid player for several years; has the height and length teams are looking for to cover big receivers; has the feet and hips to learn how to cover shiftier guys; is a willing tackler; and has no drama in his background. All that makes for a player with a very high floor. If the workouts show someone with an equally high ceiling, Kevin Johnson could easily become a challenger for an early Steelers pick. This adoring November review comes from the normally reliable Rob Rang at CBS. This scouting report from a Bills site is less authoritative but just as nice because it includes some footage clips and discussion.

CB

HV 2:01

Alex Carter, CB, Stanford - 6'0", 200 lbs. A smart, physical, athletic corner we should really keep an eye on. His skillset and personality seem to really fit what the Steelers like to do. FWIW, his father Tom was a 1st-round pick back in 1993, who went on to an 8-year journeyman's career. A very solid 2nd-rounder based on performance, whose stock might rise even higher if the measurables come through.

CB

HV 2:01

D'Joun Smith, CB, Florida Atlantic - 5'11", 190 lbs. His name is pronounced like the mustard: ‘Dijon'. A good, solid athlete who will play in the NFL a long time but projects to be more of a William Gay "other corner" than a true #1 like Ike used to be. Of course, Gay would be looking like a fine 2nd-rounder in hindsight.

CB

HV 2:12

Ronald Darby, CB, Florida State - 5'11", 195 lbs. He's a fine athlete with decent size and decent performance, but he hasn't pushed that button to make a draftnik drool. A 2nd-day prospect who will need a redshirt year with professional coaches before he can really start to contribute. This write-up/scouting report was produced in November, after a middling game against Miami.

CB

HV 2:12

Quinten Rollins, CB, Miami (Ohio) - 6'0", 187 lbs. This is one of my favorite early-process sleepers for the Steelers 2nd- or 3rd- round pick. Check out this college article on his background. Rollins is a basketball player who turned to football in his final year of eligibility, and then excelled because of his genuine athletic edge. He'll be badly out of his depth as a rookie, but sounds like exactly the sort of player who could make a huge sophomore leap, with a second one to follow the year after. The need to wait that long for a return on investment is likely to make him available in the 2nd or 3rd rounds. Here is an interview he did with CBS. This is a brief scouting report from a Patriots site, and this is a slightly better scouting report from edraft.com.

CB

HV 2:12

Charles Gaines, CB, Louisville - 5'11", 175 lbs. A former wide receiver who never played defense until 2014. He presumably has okay hands, but needs more than just a year of practice before he'll really be able to view the game from a defensive point of view. Tackling, in particular, is something he needs to keep working on. That and his thin frame will tend to push him down many Boards.

CB

HV 2:24

Lorenzo Doss, CB, Tulane - 5'11", 187 lbs. A good but not great cover corner with excellent hands that have snagged an awful lot of balls. The thing is, most of those interceptions came on throws that were far more off-target than he'll see from any NFL quarterback, and if the questions about Doss' underlying athleticism have any genuine grounds he could be one of those prospects that can't carry his production to the next level. The Combine and workouts will make a big difference for his draft stock.

CB

HV 2:24

Senquez Golson, CB, Ole Miss - 5'9", 176 lbs. Weakness, size. He'd be yet another mighty mite in the Steelers secondary. Strength, athleticism. The Red Sox spent a draft pick on him too.

CB

HV 2:24

Doran Grant, CB/S, Ohio State - 5'11", 193 lbs. That dreaded word "consistency" seems to be the bugaboo.

CB

HV 2:24

KeiVarae Russell, CB, Notre Dame - 5'11", 190 lbs. A highly touted corner going into this season, Russell was forced to miss the entire 2014 season due to a still-disputed academic scandal. If he comes out anyway, that combination of tremendous potential and limited tape will make him a controversial candidate.

CB

HV 3:01

Byron Jones, CB, Connecticut - 6'1", 196 lbs. A safety who converted to cornerback in 2014, he is projected as a solid, safe zone corner with excellent height, length and speed. The Steelers could use three of those on the roster, even if the odds say that only one would work out in the end.

CB

HV 3:01

Eric Murray, CB, Minnesota - 6'0", 195 lbs. Described as a "tough and gritty man corner", the numbers will say whether he's a Round 3-4 pick, or has that special athletic genius that shows glimmers of a higher than expected ceiling.

CB

HV 3:01

Eric Rowe, CB, Utah - 6'1", 201 lbs. Eric Rowe is a converted safety with the height, length, and (reportedly 4.37) speed to make him an object of greed. His biggest test was against Michigan WR Devin Funchess, and Rowe pretty much dominated him all day. OTOH, he's still very raw as a corner. If those numbers prove to be real, expect his stock to shoot up into the late-1st to early-2nd range.

CB

HV 3:12

Quandre Diggs, CB, Texas - 5'10", 204 lbs. A four year starter from a school that produces good DB's, Diggs manages to look like a good player on the field, but not a special athlete. That will keep his draft stock down unless he can show up with better than expected numbers at the Combine.

CB

HV 3:12

Cody Riggs, CB, Notre Dame - 5'9", 190 lbs. Someone needs to write a song called the Draft Pick Blues. The chorus, which Riggs would have mastered by now, would go something like this: "They say he's a baller but the lad has been cursed / If he was four inches taller he could dream of the first..."

CB

HV 3:12

Cam Thomas, CB/S, Western Kentucky - 6'1", 190 lbs. Get past the name Steeler Fan, and look at the player! If the Steelers wait until the 3rd to target a corner, Thomas will be very high on the list. He's got the height, he's a willing tackler, he's played some Safety, and the criticisms seems to center on fixable issues of technique and on-field discipline.

CB

HV 3:24

Steven Nelson, CB, Oregon State - 5'11", 195 lbs. His play makes most of the analysts say things like "promising slot corner, but..." We'll have to wait and see what deeper analyses have to offer.

CB

HV 3:24

Josh Shaw, CB/S, USC - 6'1", 200 lbs. This is the kid who told the Big Lie about how he sprained his knees. The initial story had him leaping from a balcony to save his little nephew from drowning. Huge news and feel good story! That turned out not to be true. He just "fell" off the balcony (which, reading between the lines, hints at an altered state of mind). Aside from that, however, Shaw's got the makings of a solid prospect with experience at both Corner and Safety.

CB

HV 4:01

Deshazor Everett, CB, Texas A&M - 5'11", 188 lbs. A tough and physical player with a lot of potential that has never quite gelled. It's one of those cases where the coverage tools are there but there's always "something" that seems to go wrong. If the coaches see a fixable pattern, however, Everett would be a fine mid-round option. FWIW, he seems to be an aggressive personality who enjoys hitting more than tackling, has gotten a fair number of penalties for things like targeting, and (last year) got suspended for being in a bar fight.

CB

HV 4:01

Ladarius Gunter, CB, Miami (Fla.) - 6'2", 198 lbs. This is one of those players I really want to see in the Senior Bowl. He looks perfect on paper, but hasn't played like a star. This scouting report from way back in October gives a good flavor, concluding that Gunter "is a smooth but nonexplosive athlete," and "a bit of an in between Corner prospect; a long, lean player without quick twitch ability or notable physicality." This write-up/scouting report after the Florida State game in November makes interesting reading too. My takeaway is that tackling can be taught, and a tall enough, long enough, and fast enough boundary corner might be a very useful addition to the Steelers squad, but explosiveness seems to be a trait that both Colbert and Tomlin value very highly. The supposed lack of "quick twitch ability" will be a major focus for the Pittsburgh scouts.

CB

HV 4:01

Damian Swann, CB, Georgia - 5'11", 180 lbs. He's an explosive athlete who had a good 2013, but in 2014 he was very up-and-down. Some weeks he looked like a future NFL starter, and others like a wide receiver's dream. At this point he averages out to "just another mid-round guy", but those are exactly the types that can make a significant rise as the process moves on. Professional coaching will undoubtedly bring out the true Damian Swann. It's just very hard to tell whether that will be a Dr. Jekyll or a Mr. Hyde.

CB

HV 4:02

CORNERBACK LIST TO BE EXPANDED

CB

HV 1:10

Shawn Oakman, DE, Baylor - 6'8", 275 lbs. Imagine a cat quick body builder... He hasn't dominated as much as expected, but a lot of that "failure" can be credited to the fact that opponents design their game plans around the need to prevent him from taking over the game. The bottom line is that Oakman should be a good 5-technique somewhere, and has the potential to be a great one. The only question is whether it ought to be in Pittsburgh, since he is even better at quick penetration than he projects to be at two-gap holding the line. It might be a case where the Steelers system wouldn't get the full use out of the young man's talents. That ... and the fact that it would take a miracle for him to fall far enough for the Steelers to face that non-dilemma. You can find a quick scouting report at the bottom of this page.

DE

HV 1:25

Arik Armstead, DE, Oregon - 6'7", 296 lbs. Pure, athletic potential in a quasi-human form. If the Steelers do the necessary research into his internals and still think enough of this young man to pick him, Steelers Nation will start to go ballistic with glee. OTOH, don't be surprised if the FO simply passes him by in favor of a less gaudy but more reliable option.

DE

HV 2:12

Carl Davis, DE, Iowa - 6'5", 315 lbs. May have extra value as the sort of swing player who could step in at either DE or NT. In many ways he reminds you of a Steve McLendon type.

DE

HV 2:12

Mario Edwards, OLB, Florida State - 6'3", 294 lbs. Edwards is a heck of a player but may be too much of a ‘tweener' for the Steelers to value him as highly as his skills and potential would deserve in a different system.

DE

HV 2:12

Preston Smith, DE, Mississippi State - 6'6", 270 lbs. Add 20 pounds of muscle and he'd be a perfect physical specimen for the position.

DE

HV 3:24

Tyeler Davison, NT, Fresno State - 6'2", 309 lbs. Right now he's projected as a 4-3 defensive tackle by most reviewers. I haven't discounted as much in this case because the numbers suggest that he might be able to bulk up and play the Nose. We'll know more as the process plays out.

DE

HV 3:24

Travis Raciti, DE, San Jose State - 6'5", 315 lbs. He has the look of a Steelers DE, but didn't play well in college when given the chance to try out 5-technique snaps. There may also be questions about whether he's physically maxed out because he actually started school as a tight end.

DE

HV 4:01

Christian Covington, DE, Rice - 6'3", 295 lbs. A very solid prospect who appears to be a much better fit as a 4-3 DT than a 3-4 guy. This grade reflects a discount for his lack of fit with the Steelers system.

DE

HV 4:01

Gabe Wright, DE, Auburn - 6'2", 284 lbs. Another 4-3 defensive tackle who gets discounted here by a full round or two because the Steelers play a 3-4.

DE

HV 4:16

Grady Jarrett, DE, Clemson - 6'1", 295 lbs. Too short to be a Steelers DE, and too small to be a Steelers NT. Graded dropped by a full round or two because he's really only a fit for the 4-3 teams.

DE

HV 5:00

DEFENSIVE LINE/END DEPTH TO BE EXPANDED

DE

HV 1:15

Danny Shelton, NT, Washington - 6'2", 332 lbs. A pure Nose Tackle, and a good one. Aside from everything else, Shelton is athletic enough to create real pressure up the middle on passing downs and thus might be that elusive 3-down plug for the middle of the field. If so, the Steelers will give him a long, hard look. McLendon's contract expires after the 2015 season and Big Dan McCullers has shown enough to foreshadow a long term contributor, but not necessarily a starter. The biggest issues on Shelton seem to be clubhouse things. If the reports really do show a "selfish" attitude, he won't be a Steeler. OTOH, can it really be a coincidence that Washington's two biggest defensive starts, Shelton and Marcus Peters, both had ongoing run-ins with the coaching staff that replaced the guys who recruited them?

NT

HV 1:20

Eddie Goldman, NT, Florida State - 6'4", 320 lbs. Another pure Nose Tackle with unexpected athleticism that might be enough to make him a three-down player.

NT

HV 1:25

Malcom Brown, NT, Texas - 6'4", 320 lbs.  Big Jay sent him to Pittsburgh as a 2nd-round pick in one of his mock drafts, writing as follows: "Malcom Brown is a well built 6-foot-4, 320 pounds. He has tree trunks for thighs, and has surprising quickness to go along with a powerful bull rush. He is also a high character family man, and ESPN recently had a great article profiling him as such."

NT

HV 2:15

Jordan Phillips, NT, Oklahoma - 6'6", 334 lbs. An enormous man who played Nose Tackle in a college 3-4.

NT

HV 4:00

NOSE TACKLE DEPTH TO BE EXPANDED

NT

HV 1:15

PICK YOUR FAVORITE OFFENSIVE TACKLE - 6'6", 305-325 lbs. This year offers a solid half-dozen offensive tackles who will go in the early- to mid-1st round. See the "Ain't Gonna Happen" list for their names. Yes, they would all make this team better by upgrading an "acceptable-to-good" offensive line into a "good-to-great" unit. There's definite value in that and I'm not denying it. But there's a lot more bang for the buck available at other positions and the cream of this very good crop will be gone before the Steelers pick in any event.

OL

HV 2:01

Spencer Drango, OT, Baylor - 6'5", 315 lbs. The anchoring left tackle for one of college football's finest offenses. He didn't see many really premier pass rushers in 2014, which makes him hard to rate. But he did outplay everyone he came against.

OL

HV 2:01

Ty Sambrailo, OT, Colorado State - 6'5", 315 lbs. So, if the cards fell exactly right, with free agents and signings that elevated the priority of Pittsburgh's offensive line, and there were promises made under the table to Coach Munchak... If all of that came true Tyler Sambrailo would make a tremendous 2nd-round pick. He's a three-year starter with good versatility and athleticism. Exactly the kind of player for our Hall of Fame line coach to transform into something truly special.

OL

HV 2:12

T.J. Clemmings, OT, Pitt - 6'6", 315 lbs. Does he have the foot speed to play left tackle in the NFL? If so, this local product would quickly be a major fan favorite. He's already a heck of a run blocker.

OL

HV 2:12

Tyrus Thompson, OT, Oklahoma - 6'5", 336 lbs. Looks like an ideal right tackle, but the Steelers would be drafting someone with better potential on the blind side.

OL

HV 3:01

Jake Fisher, OT, Oregon - 6'6", 300 lbs. Fisher was pressed into service when the designated starter (Tyler Johnstone) tore an ACL in August, and performed well beyond any expectations despite having the difficult job of protecting a Heisman-candidate QB (Marcus Mariota) that opposing defenses targeted for destruction on every play. More than that, when Fisher himself was injured during the season, it really showed - so it was his play that made the difference even more than Mariota's mobility. He won't measure as well at the Combine as some might wish, but that's the only reason he might be available at a round the Steelers can afford to spend on their offensive line

OL

HV 3:01

Sean Hickey, OT, Syracuse - 6'5", 300 lbs. A technician with good feet who might take a serious step up by (a) building strength in a professional program, and (b) sucking up knowledge from a certain Hall of Fame coach. If the FO believes it's time to grab a 3rd Round developmental tackle, Hickey may well be the guy. He'd be a perfect fit and a bargain at that price.

OL

HV 4:00

OFFENSIVE LINE DEPTH TO BE EXPANDED

OL

HV 1:01

Randy Gregory, OLB, Nebraska - 6'6", 240 lbs. He'll be long gone before the Steelers get to pick, but if he's there the Steelers rep will look like Secretariat on his way to deliver the note. Gregory may well be the #1 overall player on the Steelers Board.

OLB

HV 1:05

Vic Beasley, OLB, Clemson - 6'3" 235 lbs. Every report you look up will compare Beasley to Bruce Irvin. He really is that explosive. And he has room on his frame to get even bigger and stronger. All of which means he's destined to be another pass rushing prospect on a team that won't use him as well as our Steelers would. [Harrumph].

OLB

HV 1:05

Shane Ray, OLB, Missouri - 6'3" 245 lbs. A ridiculous athlete with everything you could ask for in a Steelers OLB. Back in the good old days when no one else played a 3-4 the Steelers could have fantasized about a player like Ray falling far enough to grab, but not any more. Sigh, alas, boo-hoo, and all of that. At least it's better than having a record bad enough to earn a legitimate shot at a player with this much potential. At least one opposing SEC coach compares Shane Ray's prospects to Terrell Suggs with more explosive talent than recent Missouri starts like Kony Ely, Michael Sam, and Markus Golden.

OLB

HV 1:10

Dante Fowler Jr., OLB, Florida - 6'2" 260 lbs. Yet another player the Steelers will look at long and hard. He has a genuinely Steelers-ish tint to his game that's revealed in both the good and the bad. On the plus side, he's a fluid and ferocious athlete from a big program that has used his versatility to play both DE spots, OLB, ILB, and even DT. That hints at a really good football IQ as well as athletic ability. Even when he's not making plays, he's causing someone on the offense a lot of trouble. On the downside, he's the sort of guy who will consistently overrun plays, will try to do too much, and who needs coaching across the board to improve everything from his physical strength to his play recognition. The Steelers have those coaches, however, which will make Dante Fowler a serious Pittsburgh target come draft day.

OLB

HV 1:15

Shilique Calhoun, OLB, Michigan State - 6'5" 256 lbs. The Steelers are going to spend a lot of time looking at Calhoun. He's a prospect who needs enough work on strength, timing and the like to be of limited use in his rookie year, which will cause him to drop, but those are all fixable with good coaching and he has the potential to be a great one once he "gets it." He also has ideal size to pair across from the somewhat smaller Jarvis Jones, while still having enough athleticism to cover tight ends and running backs in the flat.

OLB

HV 1:15

Alvin "Bud" Dupree, OLB, Kentucky - 6'4" 267 lbs. Kentucky actually had him as a 3-4 OLB for a year, but it didn't work out because the team went back to being a 4-3 the year after that. In 2014 he had a mixed season. The sack numbers weren't great, but you get the feeling that he'd be toward the top of the heap if there was a statistic to measure "ongoing disruptive annoyance." It's a situation where professional scouts who can look at every single snap will have a great advantage over Internet dilettantes like yours truly. IMHO, however, he looks like a great prospect to be a larger-size pass rusher who could be paired across the line from Jarvis Jones.

OLB

HV 1:20

Danielle Hunter, OLB, LSU - 6'6", 240 lbs. A big, tall young man who will likely add some bulk as he matures into his grown-man strength as a pro. The question marks that will drop him down toward the Steelers pick all go to a first step that's sometimes awesome and other times nonexistent. Nor did it help his draft stock to get dominated by fellow-1st-rounder Cedric Ogbuehi. Do the problems arise from physical reaction time, a lack of recognition, or something else? At least one scout has compared him to Barkevious Mingo, who the Browns took at #6 overall. That implies that recognition may be the real question and that Hunter's stock will rise as the draft process moves forward.

OLB

HV 1:20

Hauoli Kikaha, OLB, Washington - 6'3", 250 lbs. His name was tied to the Steelers in a lot of early speculation and it's easy to see why. The descriptions always seem to use words like "tenacious," "hard-working," "fiery," "high motor" and the like, which are traits our Steelers really value. He might be there for Pittsburgh too because of two bad ACL tears on the same knee back in 2011 and some questions about whether he has a truly elite first step despite leading the nation in sacks in 2014.

OLB

HV 1:25

Leonard Floyd, OLB, Georgia - 6'4" 230 lbs. He's got the first step quickness you want, but seems to lack the sand in the pants he'll need to be useful in run support. He actually got benched for a game after Florida covered his back with tire marks. But there's certainly a lot of potential... HAS SAID HE WILL RETURN TO SCHOOL

OLB

HV 1:25

Lorenzo Mauldin, OLB, Louisville - 6'4", 243 lbs. He made his bones as a pass rusher. The question is whether he can learn to be a complete OLB.

OLB

HV 2:01

Markus Golden, OLB, Missouri - 6'3" 260 lbs. This is another player the Steelers will look at long and hard, especially as a potential 2nd-rounder. He's a very good and tenacious pass rusher, but not great enough for that to vault him into the 1st. He's been a heady and smart guy in the little bit of pass coverage he's done, but that's been far too limited to know if he can really hold up. The Combine could actually matter here because the main questions go to his level of pure athleticism.

OLB

HV 2:12

Eli Harold, OLB, Virginia - 6'4", 250 lbs. Fast, athletic, and with a track record of increasing success over his college career. Harold will be a very serious candidate for the Steelers 2nd-round pick.

OLB

HV 2:24

Nate Orchard, OLB, Utah - 6'4", 255 lbs. Had a breakout 2014 that will make him a serious candidate for someone's 2nd-round pick. And it might just be the Steelers, if they believe he can carry his pass rush on to the next level while learning to drop back in coverage.

OLB

HV 3:01

Trey Flowers, OLB, Arkansas - 6'3", 270 lbs. A prospect with enough holes to fall well down into Day 2, but enough potential to get picked that day as well. It really comes down to whether a guy that big can be projected to do the complete job at OLB. It wouldn't surprise anyone if the team snagged Flowers in a middle round with the idea of trimming him down into something more wiry and agile that would minimize some of the flaws while building on the very real assets.

OLB

HV 3:01

Jordan Jenkins, OLB, Georgia - 6'3", 252 lbs. Going into 2014 there was speculation that Jenkins had the ability to make a leap into 1st round consideration. He was "merely quite good" instead.

OLB

HV 3:01

Eric Striker, OLB, Oklahoma - 6'0", 221 lbs. If you could add two inches and 20 pounds of muscle, Striker would be a late 1st rounder. But without those assets... It's hard to see how he fits. It will be interesting to see what he looks like at the Combine. People said similar things about Shazier during the early part of last year's draft season and then he suddenly appeared with the needed mass added on. Striker might do the same.

OLB

HV 3:12

Deon Barnes, OLB, Penn State - 6'4", 255 lbs. Young and raw, Barnes will require a year of seasoning before he's ready to contribute. But he has the tools if he can learn how to use them correctly.

OLB

HV 3:12

Devonte Fields, OLB TCU - 6'4", 250 lbs. All the talent in the world, but carrying some serious off-the-field baggage. TCU dropped him from the program before the 2014 season due to allegations rising from an alleged assault on his (now ex-) girlfriend. No details are known. To be fair, the charge was only a misdemeanor and involved a supposed threat with a gun rather than an actual battery. But... eeew. The NFL detectives have been working overtime on this one, guaranteed. His draft stock will depend entirely on that report, which we won't (and shouldn't) have access to. This grade generously assumes that the report supports his side of the story completely. Any other result would cause the Steelers to invoke the 10-foot-pole rule.

OLB

HV 3:12

Geneo Grissom, OLB, Oklahoma - 6'4", 252 lbs. Has the advantage of playing the 3-4 OLB in college, where he performed quite well if not spectacularly. If Jason Worilds signs on to a longer deal, Grissom is the exact kind of player who the Steelers might snag in the 3rd and count their blessings for such a useful find.

OLB

HV 3:24

Bronson Kaufusi, OLB, BYU - 6'7", 265 lbs. Tall enough to be a 3-4 DE, but plays 3-4 OLB instead. A solid player whose lack of fit might drop him to the early part of Day 3.

OLB

HV 4:01

Anthony Chickillo, OLB, Miami (Fla.) - 6'4", 282 lbs.

OLB

HV 4:01

Kyler Fackrell, OLB, Utah State - 6'5", 245 lbs. An unfair grade for his performance, but required because of a season-ending ACL tear.

OLB

HV 4:01

Za'Darius Smith, OLB, Kentucky - 6'5", 264 lbs. A young man who's been tagged with that awful kind of "damnation through faint praise" description. The truth is that he has a lot of potential but is still very, very raw. IMHO that makes him one of the best developmental prospects out there. Just don't expect anything in the first year or two, since the Pittsburgh OLB position is one that's notoriously hard to learn, let alone to master.

OLB

HV 4:16

Silverberry Mouhon, OLB, Cincinnati - 6'4", 248 lbs. Another case of potential that hasn't yet turned into performance. But what a name! It sounds like he should make a second home in the Shire. At 6'4" he'd probably have a hard time finding a suitable bed in Bilbo's guest room, but why sweat the details?

OLB

HV 4:16

James Vaughters, OLB, Stanford - 6'2", 258 lbs. A tough, smart player who lacks measurables and needs to learn some pass rush moves. But coming out of Stanford ... if what he needs to know can be learned, it will be. The Combine will be huge.

OLB

HV 4:00

RUNNING BACK PROSPECTS TO BE ADDED

RB

HV 1:20

Gerod Holliman, FS, Louisville - 6'2", 213 lbs. A huge, long, fast and rangy ballhawk. I'd be surprised if the Steelers really did abandon their experiment with Mike Mitchell after a single year, but if they do then Holliman would be a fine substitute in his place... assuming they believe he can learn to tackle. His college years raised some serious questions about that. Comparisons have been raised to Deion Sanders, and he's supposed to be a Safety!

S

HV 1:20

Landon Collins, SS, Alabama - 6'0", 222 lbs. I like everything I've heard about Shamarko Thomas, but there's no doubt he's had trouble staying healthy. If the Steelers believe that will be a chronic problem, Landon Collins would be as good a prospect for "Heir to the Hair" as any fan could hope for.

S

HV 1:25

Cody Prewitt, SS, Mississippi - 6'2, 217 lbs. A big, powerful strong safety with excellent range. His issues in coverage drop him to the very edge of 1st-round consideration, and even that depends on whether the Steelers are happy with what they already have.

S

HV 2:00

SAFETY PROSPECTS TO BE ADDED

S

HV 2:24

Jeff Heuerman, TE, Ohio State- 6'5", 255 lbs. It's a weak class for tight ends, but Heuerman may be the best of the batch. He isn't a miracle, basketball-star-turned-receiver athlete, but he is a well-balanced, multi-skilled player at one of the few offensive positions where the Steelers could do some upgrading. Or at least some future-grading, since Spaeth is nearing the end of his contract and Heath is approaching the end of his all-star career.

TE

HV 2:24

Ben Koyack, TE, Notre Dame - 6'4", 261 lbs. Another multifaceted tight end who could lay claim to being the best of a weaker class. Solid value in the late 2nd and a bargain in the 3rd.

TE

HV 2:24

Clive Walford, TE, Miami - 6'4", 258 lbs. Walford is one of the trio of well-rounded but unexceptional TE's at the top of this fairly weak class. He's got very good hands, is a good blocker, and runs good routes. His flaws are in the area of omission rather than commission. For example, Walford is "only" 6'4", which is barely average for today's athletes, his 40 time won't be blowing anyone away, and he's only a plus athlete as opposed to a great one. Good 2nd round value and excellent if you can get him in the 3rd. He had a knee injury late in the season that may interfere with his workouts but should not linger into his rookie season.

TE

HV 3:12

Tyler Kroft, TE, Rutgers - 6'5", 240 lbs. From the little I've read so far I like this kid. He's tall enough, has good hands, and has been described as a "feisty" blocker who lacks the physical mass to excel in that aspect of the game. One can't help but think that a year or two of professional strength training would fix that, leaving a prototypical, multipurpose player in its wake. There is a scouting report buried in here to supplement your reading.

TE

HV 3:24

Nick O'Leary, TE, Florida State - 6'3", 247 lbs. A superb H-back prospect who can dream of growing into a Dallas Clark type. I've applied a downgrade here because the Steelers have more use for a true tight end than another ‘versatile weapon.' I was tempted to give him the ‘bloodlines' bonus but refrained. It must mean something when you're the grandson of Jack Nicklaus, but I'm not sure what - except for the guarantee Tony Romo (a scratch golfer) is sure to be a fan of versatility throughout the early Winter. Still, the headlines would be fun. "A Nicklaus invades the land of Arnie's Army!"

TE

HV 4:01

E.J. Bibbs, TE, Iowa State - 6'3", 261 lbs. The "standard" resources such as CBS and Walter Football give Bibbs a consistent 3rd-4th round grade, but there are some who would grade him lower. This miniature scouting report is more in line with the general consensus.

TE

HV 4:16

Wes Saxton, TE, South Alabama - 6'4", 240 lbs. Information on Saxton is hard to find at this point, but expect it to grow exponentially as the process moves forward. He seems to be an excellent athlete who is very raw in all phases of the game but catches on quickly to what he's taught. It's just... looking at the numbers it's hard to see a true tight end instead of a huge and good-blocking possession receiver.

TE

THE AIN'T GONNA HAPPEN LIST

More than a third of the first two rounds will likely go toward prospects who play a position where the Steelers have little or no need. Giving them a Steelers HV # is silly, but they should be listed to provide examples of the many prospects that will prevent other teams from snapping up our favorites.

Cedric Ogbuehi, OT, Texas A&M - 6'5", 305 lbs.

OT

Andrus Peat, OT, Stanford - 6'7", 312 lbs.

OT

Brandon Scherff, OT, Iowa - 6'5", 320 lbs.

OT

Ronnie Stanley, OT, Notre Dame - 6'5", 315 lbs.

OT

La'el Collins, OT, LSU -Besides, he looks like a better prospect to be a run-blocking right tackle than a pass-blocking blindsider who'd free Beachum up for other uses.

OT

Ereck Flowers, OT, Miami - 6'6", 324 lbs.

OT

GUARDS

CENTERS

EARLY QUARTERBACKS

WIDE RECEIVERS

EARLY RUNNING BACKS

INSIDE LINEBACKERS

RULES OF THE GAME: The basic approach should be easy to follow: RULE 1 - Order is based on value to the Steelers. Great players for other teams and situations would be downgraded here if they fail to fit the Steelers' openings, system, or other requirements. Positions with an enormous downgrade are moved to the "Ain't Gonna Happen" list at the end. RULE 2 - Organized by Highest Value ("HV#"). An HV of 1:25 means the player is a reach at any point before Pick # 25 overall but good value at any point from the end of the 1st on. Getting that player in the early 2nd would be fine, while getting him at 2:14 would almost be a steal. Players with the same HV# are more-or-less equivalent so don't sweat the order inside each grouping. I tried to group them by position: Defense, then Offense, inside to out. RULE 3 - For the sake of easier comparisons I subdivide the first five rounds as follows: 1st Round grades: HV 1:01, 1:05, 1:10, 1:15, 1:20, or 1:25. 2nd Round grades: Early (HV 2:01), Mid (HV 2:12), or Late (HV 2:24). 3rd Round grades: Early (HV 3:01), Mid (HV 3:12), or Late (HV 3:24). 4th Round grades: Early (HV 4:01) or Late (HV 4:16). 5th Round grades: Early (HV 5:01) or Late (HV 5:16). RULE 4 - Players with multiple positions appear in both a main listing, which has a full description, and a secondary listing written in italics that has only the name, rank & serial number stuff. SOURCES Initial grades are based in part on my personal analysis of the Steelers' wants and desires, but will be modified as needed to reflect more knowledgeable opinions (as they are published) and whatever may happen in free-agency. Most of the raw data for this Board came from BTSC articles and comments, cbssports.com,walterfootball.com, andSBNation.com. Other sources appear as links in the text. YOUR COMMENTS MATTER! I will periodically update this list to reflect the feedback you give. I do NOT have the skill or knowledge to rank these players on my own, so what you see results from my effort to reflect our community opinion. It may have started with raw opinions from the online pundits, but that's not where it's going to end.