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2015 NFL Draft: Rank the pass rushing prospects likely to be available at or around the Steelers' 22nd pick

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A drag-and-drop poll examining Steeler Nation's favorite edge rushing prospects for the 2015 draft.

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One thing the consensus of Steelers fans can agree on is the team has a need to add a pass rusher at some point this offseason. Looking ahead to the 2015 NFL Draft, there will be a few available for the Steelers when they go on the clock with the 22nd overall pick.

We want to hear from you who you think the best option would be. The poll at the bottom of this article will help us determine that.

Instead of simply voting for your favorite, drag and drop the prospects into your view of the proper order - best for the Steelers on top, least desirable on the bottom.

What follows are descriptions of the top 12 or so pass rush prospects who have any chance of being available for the Steelers to pick at 1:22 or 2:24. Randy Gregory, Shane Ray and Dante Fowler, Jr. are off the board because that's just silly. Use the poll to let us know the order in which you would like the Steelers to rank each player on their internal board. The order you see below is alphabetical so don't read anything into it.

The poll will close on Sunday, and we will publish an analysis of the results next week. If it works out we'll try a similar poll for the options at corner, and then some combined-position polls to see who people would favor as the Steelers' 1st and 2nd round picks.

Alvin "Bud" Dupree, OLB, Kentucky - 6'4", 267 lbs. A former Tight End that Kentucky moved to defense, where he's played as both a 3-4 OLB and a 4-3 DE. In 2014 he had a mixed season. The athleticism and size are easily top-20 caliber but he hasn't dominated in the way you'd like to see from a college player with those natural assets. OTOH, if you rank "ongoing disruptive annoyance" up there with actual sacks then Bud Dupree will return to the top of the heap. If you want to know why people are so high on Dupree, read this long and extremely complimentary scouting report from our sister site for the Giants (by an author who is usually less enthusiastic). The scouting report from NFL.com makes very interesting reading too, because if you read between the lines you can see a kid who has every athletic plus in the world but may take a few years before he figures out how to use them against NFL-caliber opponents. I can easily see him being the sort of 1st Round pick who goes (in the fans' eyes) from savior to disappointment to goat to hero in the course of his first three years. Here is one nice little scouting report for a bit more depth, here is a second scouting report, and here is a longer and more thorough scouting report from back in November.

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 the 4-3 Leo pass rusher is pretty much what he played at Clemson. The issues all center on Beasley's lack of size (again like Irvin). There's room on his frame to get bigger, but enough to set the edge against NFL tackles with 34" arms? It comes to this: Vic Beasley has top-10 talent as a pure pass rusher but also has serious questions about his ability to mature into a 3-down OLB. Neal Coolong did this January BTSC scouting report, which (with comments such as this detailed addition) is where I recommend you start. This is another decent scouting report that considers the problems raised by being "a horrible run defender" while also noting that he projects to be an able player in coverage. This scouting report makes a similar set of points, while this scouting report offers a more positive outlook by responding that high character and a great motor are usually more important for a prospect than nit-picking about the holes in his college game or physique. The bottom line is that Beasley is (for now) a one trick pony. It's a hell of a good trick - a freakish, all-pro first step that makes him extremely hard to block - but where does that put him in the rankings from your point of view? This is a glowing, gif-supported scouting report from the Falcons SB Nation site.

Trey Flowers, OLB, Arkansas - 6'2-1/4", 268 lbs. Long 33-7/8" arms. Trey Flowers is a player who will grow on you, especially if you like the idea of getting both a speed rusher and a so-called "elephant OLB" for run-downs. It really comes down to whether a guy that big can be projected to do the complete job at OLB. On film he shows some genuine athleticism and a good motor, though the explosion isn't as obvious as you'd expect for a man who can do a 55" box jump (!). The nfl.com scouting report projects him as more of a 5-technique than an OLB, which is a little surprising given what other people have to say. This hard-to-load scouting report will get you going if your system will handle it. Flowers flashed some genuine pass rushing ability at the Senior Bowl with what Mayock and his peers called a "smooth inside swim move," as well as extremely solid ability at stopping the run. His floor is "solid run stuffer"; his ceiling is pre-injury Lamarr Woodley.

Markus Golden, OLB, Missouri - 6'2-1/4", 255 lbs. Playing across from Shane Ray could (should) get you overshadowed, but Golden was too good for that to happen. You still have to wonder, though: would Golden's relatively modest numbers be even that good with a normal human as a rushing partner? Or was it Ray who benefited from teams being force to guard the other side? Golden's assets include a very good bull rush, a solid first step, excellent size, nice hands, a good football IQ, and a top notch motor. The questions, as neatly summarized in the nfl.com scouting report, boil down to whether he has the pure athleticism to play as well in the pros as he did in college. Golden is one of those players who could actually rise and fall on professional Boards depending on his results at the Combine, which means he's almost certain to do so on ours. For now we will just have to live with the uncertainty. This newspaper article is a nice place to start for background. These scouting notes from the Citrus Bowl (from a Seahawks site) are helpful too, from a purely football point of view.

Eli Harold, OLB, Virginia - 6'4", 230(?) lbs. Eli Harold one of those players whose potential you will absolutely love, but who comes with serous questions about his ability to get big and strong enough to be a 3-down player in the Steelers system. The school listed him at 250 pounds but that was the worst kind of false advertising. According to this truly excellent scouting report from a Seahawks site, an absolute must-read IMHO, the 6'4" Harold has such a slim build that his natural walking-around weight would probably be in the 210's and he's had trouble keeping his weight higher than 225. But just like Beasley, if you ignore the size issues than Eli Harold flashes all the speed, explosion, balance, and other athletic talents you could ask for, and has even a track record of increasing success over his college career. So that's the bottom line: Eli Harold has an off the charts ceiling, but it's paired with a pass-rush-specialist floor if he can't get strong enough to handle the heavy lifting part of the job. This nice little scouting report has similar things to say: ideal natural talents, a number of coachable issues (hand fighting skills and leverage), and serious concerns about his size. This 2012 article from the Washington Post covers Harold's inspiring background. This brief scouting report from CBS is another place to get a flavor for what Harold brings to the table as a football player, as is Daniel Jeremiah's brief summary at NFL.com ("an ideal fit as a 3-4 OLB").

Danielle Hunter, OLB, LSU - 6'6", 240 lbs. Another quick-footed and tall young man who absolutely has to add some bulk as he matures into his grown-man strength as a pro. Unlike Beasley and Harold, however, there seems to be little doubt that Hunter has the frame to get as big as you'd want. Aside from weight, the question marks 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 the 1st-Round talent 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. Hunter's quick feet, revving motor, and excellent balance are obvious on film and leave little doubt he could handle all three aspects of an OLB's job - pass rush, run support, and coverage. How well he could do it... That's a much harder question to answer.

Hauoli Kikaha, OLB, Washington - 6'2-1/2", 246 lbs. with short 31-1/2" arms. Kikaha's 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. The questions go to Kikaha's level of native athletic talent, size, and a potentially serious medical flag dating back to two ACL tears on the same knee in 2011.  Neal Coolong's BTSC scouting report makes special note of both Kikaha's background as a judo and wrestling champion, and his highly advanced skill set compared to other pass rushers. Here is a good scouting report from Football Insiders. This is a profile from our sister site for the Eagles. The NFL.com scouting report is another place to go for an overview. Kikaha's stock fell during the Senior Bowl week (and in the game) because he had real trouble playing in open space and seemed to lose something on his pass rush from the standing position.

Lorenzo Mauldin, OLB, Louisville - 6'3-1/2", 256 lbs. Mauldin is very strong and will have no problem setting the edge. But can he learn to dip around it and defeat NFL tackles? And to cover RB's in space? Those questions are all unanswered. This is a fine article for background material on Mauldin's life. This November scouting report from a Bills fan site gives an introduction to his skills as a player, with some nice gifs for fun viewing. The NFL.com scouting report is another must-read, with good information on both strengths and weaknesses. Mauldin did make one nice play during the Senior Bowl when he dropped into coverage, which is encouraging, but he's also earned criticism for coachable flaws like playing too upright and giving offensive linemen easy access to his chest.

Benardrick McKinney, OLB/ILB, Mississippi State - 6'4", 250 lbs. McKinney is an odd case because he is regularly described as the #1 prospect in the country to be an inside linebacker. The Steelers would be more interested in his ability to convert to the outside. At OLB that same athletic genius would make him excellent in coverage, the size and attitude would make him excellent at setting the edge, and his pass-rush skills... Aye, there's the rub. McKinney has all the physical tools to be a fine pass rusher and has displayed them when asked to, but he's never been asked to make pass rushing the focus of his game. Look for this to be a continuing "what-if" debate that will heat up until Mr. McKinney blows up the Combine and puts himself thoroughly out of reach. I'm not the only one who sees McKinney as a potential 3-4 OLB, by the way. This scouting profile from our sister site for the Jets makes a point of noting that McKinney has the tools to potentially be even better 3-4 at that position than as a 4-3 MLB, and adds that he played the position with some success as a freshman. This goes to an October scouting report, and this to a more thorough scouting report from a Chicago Bears POV. This fun and pseudoscientific scouting report manages to be informative too, even though it rates McKinney as a straightforward middle linebacker who deserves a Day 2 grade. This informal scouting report reaches a similar conclusion.

Owamagbe Odighizuwa, OLB, UCLA - 6'3-1/2", 266 lbs. Nice, long 33-1/8" arms. I've heard him described as a bigger, just as strong, but not quite as bendy James Harrison, which also sounds a lot like Lamarr Woodley if you think about it. The place to start your research is Steel34D's BTSC Scouting Report. That report lauds Odighizuwa's strength, relentless motor, and ability to dominate the line in the running game, and notes that he's also played some 3-4 OLB in UCLA's hybrid system. He is another player who rates much lower in sack count than he does on the scale of "dominant and annoying disruption to the offense." The issues that drop Double-O downward are (1) medical questions dating back to two hip surgeries in 2013, (2) some lingering concerns about his ability to play in space, and (3) the need to develop additional pass rushing moves. The OLB drills at the Combine will be key in our final evaluation but for now you'll have to do without. The CBS summary scouting report questions whether Odighizuwa would fit better as a 4-3 DE or a 3-4 OLB. This typically excellent scouting report from Football Insiders presents the same issue - he's a great prospect, but is he an OLB? This scouting report sees him as a 3- or 5-technique lineman and doesn't even consider standing him up as a linebacker. The NFL.com scouting report (like the BTSC version) emphasizes that Owam... err ... Odigh... the fine young man with the hard-to-pronounce name should excel at run stopping from opening day. Note that O.O. had an exceptional week at the Senior Bowl practices, which answered many questions while raising new ones about whether he could possibly fall at the way to 2:24 if the Steelers go elsewhere in the 1st - and even whether he might rise to be a legitimate, non-reaching option at 1:22.

Nate Orchard, OLB, Utah - 6'3-1/2", 251 lbs. 33" arms. As always, it's best to start with this BTSC scouting report by Neal Coolong. Orchard had a breakout 2014 that will make him a serious candidate for someone's 1st- or 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. Bucky Brooks of the NFL Network did this excellent and well-balanced scouting report after Orchard's fine Bowl game against top tackle prospect Ty Sambrailo. This scouting report boasts some gifs in support of its conclusion that Orchard shouldn't be picked until Day 3. This equally thorough scouting report from the normally reliable seahawksdraftblog.com also comes with a mid-round grade, albeit one based on the Seahawks' strong preference for particular athletic traits in their pass rushers. This brief scouting report is less useful for analysis, but makes the point that Orchard has been capable of taking over games on his own. This article provides good background going back to High School, as does this pre-season 2014 scouting report and interview from CBS. This brief and admiring scouting report from our sister site for the Giants compares Orchard to Justin Houston, while this more thorough scouting report from Walter Football chooses Connor Barwin as the comp. Orchard looked very good at the Senior Bowl practices, with numerous observers commenting on his ability to convert speed into power, excellent hand fighting technique, and ability to dip around the corner. For a more sobering viewpoint, see this scouting report which ends with a Day 3 grade based on ‘one year wonder' concerns and a bad habit of taking a break when running plays go in the opposite direction.

Preston Smith, OLB/DE, Mississippi State - 6'6", 270 lbs. An excellent 4-3 DE prospect who had a great week at the Senior Bowl. For the Steelers he'd be a classic "elephant" OLB prospect - a guaranteed success at run stuffing who might be limited to that role, or might grow into the next Lamarr Woodley. If he does well on the in-space drills at the Combine look for Preston Smith to be a mini-tempest in our little teapot. During the Senior Bowl telecast Mike Mayock referred to him as "a working man, not flashy, who'd make a solid [not-going-to-tell-you] Round pick." Here is a nice little scouting report for more detail.