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Steelers 2015 NFL Draft Big Board - Pre-Combine by ranking

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New links with particular attention to profiles and scouting reports from our sister sites. Also a great deal of re-grading as more information and opinion becomes available.

Trevor Ruszkowski-USA TODAY Sports

STEELERS 2015 BIG BOARD - BY HIGHEST VALUE TO PITTSBURGH (HV #)

HV

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HV 1:01

Leonard Williams, DE, USC - 6'5", 298 lbs. Is Cam Heyward a great player? Yes. Is Stephon Tuitt a great prospect? Yes. Would that stop the Steelers from racing to draft Leonard Williams if he miraculously fell all the way down to their pick? Hell no. Genius makes its own rules. If you insist on pursuing hopeless dreams, this scouting report will give you a good start on evaluating Mr. Williams.

HV 1:01

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. This goes to a pessimistic and slightly odd scouting report if that's more your style.

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 as he gallops forward to deliver the note. Gregory may well be the #1 overall player on the Steelers Board. If you feel like torturing yourself with dreams that can never come true, this scouting report is a good place to start, as is this full scouting report from Walter Football. This is a neat video conversation between Randy Gregory and Shawn Merriman.

HV 1:01

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, and probably the highest rated OLB prospect at which the Steelers have a quasi-realistic shot. This is a lightweight scouting report from a Cowboys fan site, but okay as an overview. This scouting report is also good as an overview.

HV 1:01

OFF THE BOARD... YOUR FAVORITE OFFENSIVE TACKLE - 6'6", 315 lbs. (like all the rest). BTSC ran two polls on this in January. An overwhelming majority thought no lineman could provide enough bang for the buck to justify a first round pick, and a clear majority thought it would be just as true for the 2nd-round prospects even when a mistake included a top-10 or -15 talent (Ronnie Stanley) among that group. As if that wasn't enough, poster Geoffrey.Benedict pulled out this nugget: "Mike Munchak has never been the Offensive Line Coach of a team when they drafted a first round Offensive Lineman. Of 18 linemen drafted 4 failed to play at least 3 years in the NFL. 9 of them were multi-year starters and 5 started for 5 years of more. All of this while Tennessee consistently had a really good line." Offensive linemen are off the Board unless a dream scenario could see that player falling all the way down to Round 3 with the single exception of Cam Erving because of his unique position flexibility. It's kind of a shame because this is a very strong class, but fortunately it's a deep one too. All nine (9!) of the excluded names appear in the "Ain't Gonna Happen List."

HV 1:10

Landon Collins, S, 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. And across from Thomas is Mike Mitchell, who had a lousy, if perhaps excusable, year. Landon Collins is fast; he loves to hit; he plays smart football; he has experience against the very elite of college opponents; and he has no red flags. He won't last until pick 22, but if he Landon Collins' ability to be a force in both run support and coverage should make him irresistible. Mitchell and Headache will have to battle for the remaining spot, because "Heir to the Hair" will be taken. (Collins would be HV 1:05 if I wasn't discounting for position. Love, love, love what this kid offers). Neal Coolong's BTSC scouting report is by far the best place to start. The Walter Football scouting report is good too; it describes him as "a bigger version of Matt Elam or D.J. Swearinger," who shares their leaning toward run support as opposed to pass coverage.

HV 1:15

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 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." The athleticism and size are easily top-20 caliber, which has led many people to mock him to the Steelers at 1:22, but he hasn't dominated in the way you'd like to see from a college player with those natural assets. 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 a nice little scouting report for a bit more depth and a longer and more thorough scouting report from back in November.

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 someone who makes "OMG did you see that?" plays. 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. You can find Neal Coolong's BTSC scouting report here. Make sure to read the Comments too for added depth.

HV 1:15

Marcus Peters, CB, Washington - 6'0", 198 lbs. Neal Coolong's BTSC scouting report only confirms that Marcus Peters probably has the best film of all the cover corners, and is likely to wow at the Combine too. Without red flags he'd be a clear top-10 pick. Unfortunately for Mr. Peters the off-field red flags abound. 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? The school called that report "bull***t" but there's still a lot of smoke for the scouts to wade through. You and I may never know, but it is the major factor that will determine how far this potential top-10 talent will fall.

HV 1:20

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 would come with serious questions about his ability to mature into a 3-down OLB. But those questions are the only reason he has a chance of being available at 1:22 and they can be offset by having a larger man (Trey Flowers? Preston Smith? Za'Darius Smith?) come in for running downs. 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 it won't be enough to make him a Steelers 1st-round pick unless the team believes (which seems reasonable) that he can pack on the extra muscle to prevent NFL linemen from treating him like a speed bump in the run game. This is a glowing, gif-supported scouting report from the Falcons SB Nation site.

HV 1:20

Shaq Thompson, S, Washington - 6'2", 231 lbs. Thompson is extremely hard to grade as a prospect for the Pittsburgh Steelers. First and foremost, he is described as such an extraordinary and versatile athlete that he clearly deserves to qualify as one of Kevin Colbert's famous "specials." How can one guy excel as a running back, a pass rusher, a play-making tackler, and a safety? It's amazing. But where and how does he fit into what the Steelers do and need? How do you use a cross between Troy Polamalu and Ryan Shazier? I can't answer that question, but my confidence that Coach Butler could is enough to keep Shaq Thompson well toward the top of the Board, graded as a big safety on the assumption he'll test out with the requisite speed. Lest you think I'm exaggerating the possibilities, have a look at this scouting report from nfl.com and this scouting report from Big Blue View, our sister site for the Giants.

HV 1:22

STEELERS PICK AT #22 OVERALL

HV 1:25

Danny Shelton, NT, Washington - 6'1-3/4", 343 lbs. A pure Nose Tackle, and a good one who Mike Mayock suggested as a possible top-10 pick. 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?

HV 1:25

Benardrick McKinney, OLB/ILB, Mississippi State - 6'4", 250 lbs. McKinney is an odd case for this Board. He is regularly described as the #1 prospect in the country to be an inside linebacker who has the sort of fantastic athletic talent to stand out at the Combine, but with question marks about his extremely raw skillset and suspicions that his overly aggressive, downhill mindset will limit him to being a great (but two-down) thumper. The Steelers would be more interested in his ability to convert to outside linebacker. 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 but he's never been pushed to develop them. He'll almost certainly go in the mid-1st to a team hungry for an ILB, which makes this moot, but if he should somehow fall to the Steelers pick life could get very interesting. Look for this to be a "what-if" debate that will heat up until Mr. McKinney blows up the Combine and puts himself thoroughly out of reach. This goes to an October scouting report. This is a more thorough scouting report from a Chicago Bears POV.

HV 1:25

Danielle Hunter, OLB, LSU - 6'6", 240 lbs. A quick-footed and tall young man who should (and likely will) 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 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.

HV 1:25

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. I've heard him described as a classic press corner, but there seems to be no doubt he can play zone and off coverage too. This scouting report from the NFL site is a good place to start. This scouting report from our sister site for the Jets is less complimentary than most, but supports that view with some very clear critiques that are plenty enough to merit a double-check.

HV 1:25

Kevin Johnson, CB, Wake Forest - 6'0", 175 lbs. Often mocked to the Steelers, Kevin Johnson has several years of solid tape showing everything but the heft that teams are looking for in a 1st-Round pick (tall enough but very thin). Reports laud the overall length, nimble feet and hips that let him cover shiftier guys, and his willingness to make tackles. Add in the lack of any 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 indeed be an early Steelers pick. This adoring November review comes from the normally reliable Rob Rang at CBS, but should be balanced by this more critical scouting report from the NFL site. This scouting report from a Bills site is less authoritative but just as nice because it includes some footage clips and discussion.

HV 2:01

Eddie Goldman, NT/DE, Florida State - 6'4", 320 lbs. Another pure Nose Tackle with unexpected athleticism that might be enough to make him a three-down player, and should be enough to be a crossover to back up at DE too.

HV 2:01

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." This is one of the high-quality scouting reports you find at Football Insiders.

HV 2:01

Nate Orchard, OLB, Utah - 6'3-1/2", 251 lbs. 33" arms. 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. As always, it's best to start with this BTSC scouting report by Neal Coolong. 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 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 excellent scouting report is about Hauoli Kikaha but could have been written about Orchard since their styles are so similar. 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.

HV 2:01

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. I'd take either of those guys in a heartbeat as a 2nd-round pick, and Owa too if he clears the medical check (a hip surgery in 2013). The OLB drills at the Combine will be key here. Can he play in space or not? The CBS summary scouting report is dead on point and raises an interesting question: Odighizuwa's primary position in college was 3-4 DE, shifting to a pass rusher for situational football. He's too small to play that position in the NFL, but does he transition better to 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? The NFL.com scouting report adds that Owam... err ... Odigh... the young man should excel at run stopping from opening day. He 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.

HV 2:01

Hauoli Kikaha, OLB, Washington - 6'2-1/2", 246 lbs. with short 31-1/2" arms. 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. Interesting fact: Kikaha led the nation in sacks in 2014, closely followed by Nate Orchard. Both young men are criticized in the draftnik press for excelling via motor and technique than through athletic brilliance. What does that say? 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.

HV 2:01

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 the Steelers defense - and that is enough to keep him out of the top half of the 1st. Here is a pre-2014 scouting report. NOTE: "The other LSU Jalen", Safety Jalen Mills, has said he will return to school for another year.

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.

HV 2:01

Cameron Erving, G/C/OT, Florida State - 6'5", 308 lbs. On and off the "Ain't Gonna Happen List"... Ramon Foster is a serviceable Guard whose contract ends after 2015, and who isn't all that great in space. If another Decastro came along and fell to the 2nd Round... Riiiight. Erving is a remarkable athlete who started on the defensive side of the ball, moved to the offensive line, and has played both Tackle and Center at a high level. No one doubts that he'd excel at Guard as well. And therein lies his peculiar value to the Steelers. Cam Erving would singlehandedly cement the team's depth at every position along the line, especially with Mike Adams as an alternate tackle, and would push Ramon Foster for the starting job. Pittsburgh would be able to dress only seven offensive linemen per game, which is good value above and beyond anything he does on the field directly. But as they say in the infomercials, that's not all! Erving will drop a bit because of various technical flaws in his game. They're all fixable, but they'll have a definite impact on how quickly he can make it onto the field. Once fixed, however... This is another young man with a truly sky-high ceiling. My personal prediction is that he'll blow up the Combine and propel himself into the 1st round for a team that's willing to bet on potential. You can find a summary scouting report here, and a very good scouting report from our sister site for the Chargers here.

HV 2:01

Maxx Williams, TE, Minnesota - 6'4", 250 lbs. Despite what his defender-leaping touchdown run in the Citrus Bowl might make you think, Williams has seen more time as a blocker than a receiver. Which is a good thing in most ways, since the comments you see tend to emphasize his natural athleticism, uber-reliable hands, and other assets that bring Jason Witten to mind. Most people expect the Steelers to go defense-defense in the first two rounds. Maxx Williams at 2:24 is one of the few quasi-reasonable scenarios that would force a change. Neal Coolong's BTSC scouting report is, of course, the place to start your research. This solid if Seahawks-oriented scouting report should help as well, as will the NFL.com scouting report and this less rosy profile from our sister site for the Bills.

HV 2:12

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. He did make one nice play during the Senior Bowl when he dropped into coverage, which is encouraging.

HV 2:12

Kevin White, CB, TCU - 5'9-3/8", 180 lbs. Kevin White of TCU had a good game against 1st Round WR prospect Kevin White of West Virginia, which raised his stock while no doubt causing the announcers constant fits of heartburn. OTOH, the NFL.com scouting report suggests that despite his moderate size White is the sort who would have more difficulty handling a jitterbug receiver than a really big one. You've got to love this summary: "[A] cornerback with mismatched parts. Has temperament and play of an outside corner, but lacks size and deep speed. Has size of a slot corner but lacks foot quickness and twitch to consistently cover speed in space." LOL. The impression he made at the Senior Bowl was much better, however. Both Mike Mayock and Charles Davis lauded him as "an easy pick with quick feet ... competitive ... and similar to Jason Verrett."

HV 2:12

D'Joun Smith, CB, Florida Atlantic - 5'10-1/8", 189 lbs. His name is pronounced like the mustard: ‘Dijon'. He's given a higher-end grade on this Board because the Steelers seem to prefer excellent overall athleticism to almost any other trait. Yes, he may prove to be more of a William Gay "other corner" than a true #1 like Ike used to be, but Gay would be looking like a fine 2nd-rounder in hindsight. Here is a November scouting report from the CBS "Meet The Prospect" series. This scouting report at the NFL site grades Smith out as a backup more than a starter but leaves room for a lot of change, especially if he shows good long speed at the Combine.

HV 2:12

Eric Rowe, CB/S, Utah - 6'0-5/8", 204 lbs. with fairly long (32-1/2") arms. 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. Expect Rowe's stock to shoot up into the late-1st to early-2nd range if those numbers prove to be real because the scouting report at NFL.com lists long speed and sudden acceleration as Rowe's main weaknesses. Here is an upbeat scouting profile from our sister site for the Jets. This article from Football Insiders, which is paired with a brief video interview, is even more positive and suggests an interesting idea: Rowe is a solid corner, but he has experience as a cover safety too and in that capacity might be the #2 guy overall behind only Landon Collins. That versatility is enough to bumps him up the BTSC Board by a full round from where he'd be as a corner alone.

HV 2:12

Quinten Rollins, CB, Miami (Ohio) - 5'11", 193 lbs. This is one of my early favorites for the Steelers' pick in Round 2. 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, this is a slightly better scouting report from edraft.com, and this is a pretty good scouting report from our sister site for the Jets. The NFL site's scouting report makes a point of noting his "rare start-stop-start suddeness" and "ability to change gears instantly." Rollins was one of the biggest stars at the Senior Bowl, where he made a spectacular interception. If he runs his 40 in less than 4.4 he'll be a surefire 1st rounder. The 4.4's will guarantee a team takes him in the 2nd. After that... hell, I'd still want him in the second because he looks so great in all the other facets of the game.

HV 2:12

Senquez Golson, CB, Ole Miss - 5'8-1/2", 178 lbs. with short, 29-1/2" arms. Weakness: size, both in height and overall mass. He'd be yet another mighty mite in the Steelers secondary. Strengths: pretty much everything else. Golson is athletic enough that the Red Sox spent a draft pick on him too. This scouting report from the NFL site is more positive than some but is a good place to start. Golson's skill set really impressed former NFL strong safety Matt Bowen at the Senior Bowl, along with most other observers.

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.

HV 2:12

Ifo Ekpre-Olomu, CB, Oregon - 5'9", 195 lbs. Remember Jason Verrett last year? That's IEO this year. 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? NOTE: IEO started the process with a 1st-round grade. The current ranking reflects a downgrade for what is being described as a "serious knee injury" that occurred on December 17 and kept him out of the college playoffs. Last year a projected 1st round corner (Aaron Colvin) fell to the 4th because of an ACL tear. If IEO has suffered a similar injury, a similar drop could be in the cards.

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.

HV 2:24

STEELERS PICK AT #24 OF THE SECOND ROUND (#56 OVERALL)

HV 2:24

Ellis McCarthy, NT, UCLA - 6'3", 330 lbs. A pure Nose Tackle with solid athletic talent to support his size. Played Nose Tackle successfully in a college 3-4, but seemed to have some endurance issues.

HV 2:24

Carl Davis, NT/DE, Iowa - 6'4-1/2", 321 lbs. Really long, 34-1/2" arms. A solid run-stuffer who dominated at the Senior Bowl, which resulted in this article/scouting report that's worth a read.. He will probably go to a 4-3 team by the end of the 2nd, but could be a real candidate for the Steelers if he's available at 3:23. He looks like the sort who of swing player who could step in at either DE or NT. In many ways he reminds of Steve McLendon.

HV 2:24

Mario Edwards, DE/OLB, Florida State - 6'3", 294 lbs. Edwards is a heck of a player who should go to a base 4-3 team in the first two rounds. For the Steelers... Not so much. He'd probably go on the "Ain't Gonna Happen List" if Coach Butler hadn't said that the Steelers will be using 4-3 concepts in sub-packages. Mario Edwards would be ideal if viewed as a 4-3 DE with an ability to play in space rather than an oversized 3-4 OLB. One thing's for sure - if he does get picked by the Pittsburgh Steelers, it will herald some genuine evolution in the team's overall strategy on defense. Here is a very brief introduction and overview.

HV 2:24

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 and is climbing into a solid 2nd Round grade... or maybe even higher. For the Steelers he'd be a tweener. Add 20 pounds of muscle and he'd be a perfect specimen to be a pass-rushing DE. Trim 5 pounds away and he might be a perfect "elephant" OLB. 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. Not that it will matter - a 4-3 team is going to scoop him up before the Steelers pick at 2:24, and it's hard to imagine him as a serious candidate for 1:22. During the Senior Bowl telecast Mike Mayock referred to him as "a working man, not flashy, [who would make] a solid 2nd Round pick." NOTE: This grade is up in the air because Preston could be valued more highly as a DE/OLB hybrid if Coach Butler is really going to wander away from the approach that Coach Lebeau preferred.

HV 2:24

Eli Harold, OLB, Virginia - 6'4", 250(?) lbs. Harold is one of those players who grows on you as an example of tantalizing potential... assuming you believe he's really 250. Many people seem to think he's closer to a built up 230 than a 250-with-room-to-grow. Whatever his true weight, Eli Harold flashes tremendous speed and huge athletic talents, and he has a track record of increasing success over his college career. The main problem is that flashes are not the same thing as proven results, he's so very raw that he'll need at least one redshirt year before anyone could expect him to contribute. But if Pittsburgh re-signs Worilds and can afford that wait... well, Eli Harold would be a very serious candidate for a Steelers Day 2 pick. This brief scouting report will help to get you started, as will Daniel Jeremiah's brief summary at NFL.com ("an ideal fit as a 3-4 OLB").

HV 2:24

Markus Golden, OLB, Missouri - 6'2-1/4", 255 lbs. Playing across from Shane Ray could (should) get you overshadowed, but Golden has been far 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? Golden is said to have 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 native talent to play as well in the pros as he did in college. In sum, Markus Golden is a player the Steelers will look at long and hard, with particular attention to whether he's athletic enough to drop back in coverage. He's 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 this one. This newspaper article is a nice place to start for background.

HV 2:24

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 (Vic Beasley?) 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. Flashed some pass rushing ability at the Senior Bowl with a "smooth inside swim move," as well as extremely solid ability at stopping the run. Could he potentially be another pre-injury Lamarr Woodley?

HV 2:24

Derron Smith, S, Fresno State - 5'11", 197 lbs. A solid ballhawk who could probably play either Safety position. As the nfl.com scouting report concludes, Smith "lacks ideal size for the position but checks off just about every other box teams will be looking for."

HV 2:24

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 (for tackling, not talent) and that's not a good thing when you're supposed to be a Safety! Here is a scouting report from Football Insiders. Holliman has also been hit with some bad publicity about his "lazy" off-field work habits, which may have substance beyond a disgruntled coach. This is a brief but fun scouting profile from our sister site for the Giants.

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.

HV 2:24

Cedric Ogbuehi, OT/G, Texas A&M - 6'5", 305 lbs. A clear 1st Round talent with experience at both Guard and Tackle, but who may tumble down to where the Steelers might pick him due to a torn ACL suffered during his final Bowl game. Talk about bad luck! I genuinely sympathize. But his loss might be the Steelers gain. As you can see from the NFL.com scouting report, Ogbuehi ("Ah-BOO-hee") is (was?) a very mobile and light-footed player for someone with that much size, and thus perfect for the kind of athletic system that Mike Munchak has preferred over the years. NOTE: This grade assumes Ogbuehi will clear the medical checks, spend 2015 rehabbing the knee, and be ready to compete in his second year.

HV 2:24

Clive Walford, TE, Miami - 6'4-1/8", 254 lbs. with 34" arms. A great week of practice at the Senior Bowl pushed Walford up toward the #2 spot of this fairly weak class, and a good performance (except for one bad drop) cemented him there. FWIW, that combination of very good hands with indefensible concentration drops has plagued him throughout college. Still, he's proven to be a good blocker, and he runs good routes that made Senior Bowl safeties and linebackers both look ineffectual. This scouting report from NFL.com is a decent place to start if you want to know more. This link goes to an admiring if summary scouting profile from our sister site for the Bills, and this link to a similar profile from our sister site for the Giants.

HV 3:01

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

HV 3:01

Duke Johnson, RB, Miami - 5'9", 206 lbs. A little smaller than you'd put down in a job listing, but plenty big and waaaaay shifty enough to avoid the big hits. Honest and mainstream experts like Rob Rang at CBS Sports have compared him to LeSean McCoy. The Walter Football scouting report went with Giovani Bernard instead.

HV 3:01

Todd Gurley, RB, Georgia - 6'1", 226 lbs. Gurley was considered the best running back in the country, even better than Melvin Gordon, until he tore an ACL in November and the tobacco in that pipe took on a different flavor. He's sort of like a Leveon Bell with better top-end speed: a big, strong, and yet surprisingly shifty runner with good hands out of the backfield and the size to be an excellent protector in the pocket. This is a nice scouting report if you want more detail, and this is an October video scouting report from Bucky Brooks at the NFL Network will give you the basic story. Todd Gurley is the complete package and before the knee injury would have gone off the Board in the mid- to late part of the 1st Round. With the knee he'll probably slide out of the 1st. The question is, how far? This profile from our sister site for the Jets appears to be dead on point with its conclusions - Gurley is an early-1st talent who will fall because of medical concerns, but it's impossible to guess how far.

HV 3:01

Mike Davis, RB, South Carolina - 5'9", 223 lbs. Mike Davis is a one-cut, downhill runner with great acceleration, a bowling ball body to match, and enough of that lofty character to ease South Carolina fans out of mourning for their tragically injured hero Marcus Lattimore. Davis needs to work on his blocking a bit, though with that size he should be more than capable of doing so, but has a variety of good, shifty moves to go with his size-and-speed combo, and comes with the bonus of fantastic hands out of the backfield. Comparisons range from "a gigantic Darren Sproles" to "Carlos Hyde or Frank Gore." Here is a scouting report from our sister site for the Giants.

HV 3:01

Tevin Coleman, RB, Indiana - 6'0", 210 lbs. Want a summary description you'd like to have attached to your name? The CBS scouting report describes Tevin Coleman as "a mix of Darren McFadden and Demarco Murray." I'm sold. In a sane world he'd be off the Board before the Steelers pick a running back, but with this class and this CBA who can say anymore? Here is a typically high-quality Football Insiders scouting report if you want more detail.

HV 3:01

Ameer Abdullah, RB, Nebraska - 5'8-1/4", 198 lbs. He's short but not small, runs hard between the tackles as well as outside, and imho will have a great career if he's allowed to share carries with another good back such as, oh, that Leveon Bell guy in Pittsburgh. Like every other one you'll find, this scouting report projects Abdullah as a 3-down workhorse for whatever team is lucky enough to get him. The CBS scouting report compares him to "a better version of Andre Ellington [with] the skill-set to have a Warrick Dunn-type career," and notes that he's an exceptional human being on top of everything else. This scouting report adds that he's return-capable. The only drawback is that he's a total unknown at blocking and lacks the ideal size to excel in that capacity. On the other hand, he's definitely the sort of player who will devote himself to learning that part of job as well as everything else he'll need to be a complete pro. Warrick may be an apt analogy for Ameer when all is said and Dunn. This nice, thorough, gif-supported scouting report produced by our sister site for the Chargers concludes that Ameer is worthy of a pick as high as the early 2nd round.

HV 3:01

Za'Darius Smith, OLB, Kentucky - 6'4-1/2", 270 lbs. Average arm length for being so tall (32-1/2"). A young man who's been tagged with that awful kind of "damnation through faint praise" description... at least until he flat out dominated the line at the East West Shrine Game. The truth is that he has a lot of potential but is still very, very raw and there are questions about whether he would fit at OLB. This scouting report from the SB Nation Giants site projects him more as a 5-technique! IMHO he looks like a great developmental prospect so long as we don't expect anything in the first year or two.

HV 3:01

Kyle Emmanuel, OLB, North Dakota St. - 6'3", 246 lbs. A small school prospect with enough raw talent to be a very promising developmental prospect. As discussed in the NFL.com scouting report, Emmanuel has a non-stop, high-energy approach to the game that reminds you of a very raw Clay Matthews... or the sort of prospect that drowns when he hits the oceanic depths of the NFL after excelling in a much smaller pond.

HV 3:01

Jaquiski Tartt, S, Samford - 6'1-3/8", 220 lbs. with nice long arms on top (32-5/8"). A small school prospect who reportedly ran a 4.4 forty but has shown more ability in run support than in coverage. He'll be playing in the Senior Bowl, which will at least give some idea of how he compares to more elite competition (looked good at the initial practice). The nfl.com scouting report is a good place to start.

HV 3:01

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..." The NFL site's scouting report lauds the young man's intelligence, instincts and toughness but makes no bones about adding a verse or two for the Blues.

HV 3:01

Steven Nelson, CB, Oregon State - 5'10", 199 lbs. Before the Senior Bowl his tape made most of the analysts say things like "promising slot corner." Retired Strong Safety Matt Bowen agreed after a Senior Bowl practice. Then came the Senior Bowl itself where "Mighty Mouse" emerged as one of the stars, flashing excellent speed, a quick change of direction, and a willingness to challenge the catch. For a more sobering point of view, see this critical scouting report at NFL.com which all but suggests that Nelson might be better suited to be a Safety than a Corner.

HV 3:01

Arie Kouandjio, G, Alabama - 6'4-7/8", 318 lbs. with really long (34-3/4") arms. A solid prospect from a very good training ground. He's had some knee problems, which raises one red flag, and he's the older brother of Buffalo's Cyrus Kouandjio, who was drafted in 2014's 2nd Round and was a disappointment in his rookie year. That's another. Kouandjio seems to be "okay" at everything but good at nothing in particular, which is nevertheless enough to make him one of the top Guards of the year. One encouraging note: according to Mike Mayock Kouandjio took to coaching at the Senior Bowl like a fish to water, and got noticeably better as the week went on. Mayock even went out on a limb to project him as a "solid starter" during the Senior Bowl broadcast, where he had a great game against Danny Shelton.

HV 3:01

Tre' Jackson, G, Florida State - 6'3-7/8", 323 lbs. He's had trouble against really quick tackles and has trouble recovering once he starts to lose in pass protection, but those are flaws that good coaching can fix. The upside is that he's a more physically gifted athlete than most of his peers, especially this year, and might be able to do well the things at Guard that Ramon Foster can't always manage to do. It takes a lot of projection, but after Cam Erving Tre' Jackson would be my highest rated Guard for what the Steelers want. Early Round 3-4 value to Pittsburgh, but deserves to be gone well before that to a team with bigger needs.

HV 3:01

Jesse James, TE, Penn State - 6'7", 254 lbs. According to this ESPN article "Jesse James is a freak of nature." Height, speed, strength: he's got it all. What he hasn't got is developed skill as either a blocker or a receiver. On the other hand, Heath Miller probably has another good year in his historic career. If the coaches think a year or two of professional work can turn James' pure potential into actual reality, this local Pittsburgh boy could really be the next hometown hero. This is another fine article focused more on his background. This January Post-Gazette article examines his decision to leave early.

HV 3:12

T.J. Yeldon, RB, Alabama - 6'2", 221 lbs. Yeldon is the kid you probably know already from all the Alabama games on TV. Talent just bursts off him. You can't teach 6'2" with that kind of speed and shiftiness. If I knew more about his internals I would compare him to Leveon Bell without any irony. There are some flaws - pundits talk about running too high, and he's shown signs of suffering from the famous Alabama Syndrome of losing tread off the tires in college - but the picture of what might be is indelible: Leveon Bell and TJ Yeldon lined up behind Big Ben and a defense trying to wonder who might get the run, which direction the swing pass will go, or whether both will just stay back in max-protection or act as the outlet... It's enough to make a Steelers fan giggle with glee.

HV 3:12

Jay Ajayi, RB, Boise State - 6'0", 216 lbs. As described by the folks at CBS, Jay Ajayi offers nimble feet, tricky moves, excellent speed and acceleration, and surprising power; in short, everything you want in a running back except a reputation for fumbleitis as inopportune moments. But it's also clear that he has some flaws in his running style (like getting ahead of blockers) that can be fixed with good coaching, and his ball security issues may be solvable in the same way. I seem to remember Adrian Peterson getting hit with that criticism, and developing his famous hand strength as a response. This typically excellent scouting report from Football Insiders is the place to start your research. This scouting report comes from a Patriots website may also help. This NFL article is less a scouting report than a summary news piece, but is notable because it mentions several things the Steelers would love such as "between the tackles running, paired with "outstanding vision, pitter-pat, [] toughness ... [and] home-run speed and acceleration."

HV 3:12

Max Valles, OLB, Virginia - 6'5", 240 lbs. There's a certain kind of prospect who appeals to coaches even more than fans. He's young, smart, has every measurable, is insanely athletic, and is so totally raw that you can mold him into the exact player you want him to be. In 2015 his name is Max Valles, a 19 year old athletic marvel who surprised everyone by declaring for the draft as a true Sophomore. This excellent scouting report from Football Insiders will give you a solid feel for both the potential and the perils, and this brief article from NFL.com will fill in some background. If Kevin Colbert really does draft for what a player will look like three years from now, Valles will be a very serious target for the Pittsburgh Steelers organization.

HV 3:12

Geneo Grissom, OLB, Oklahoma - 6'3-1/8", 264 lbs. with long, 33-7/8" arms. 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. Supposed to have a very good motor, a powerful bull rush but not much else in the way of a pass rush, and some stiffness when he tries to cover RB's in the flat.

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. If he's in the clear Devonte Fields' talent is enough to justify a Day 2 pick. If there's fire behind the smoke, however, the Steelers will invoke the 10-foot-pole rule. RETURNING TO SCHOOL FOR ANOTHER YEAR (AT LOUISVILLE RATHER THAN TCU).

HV 3:12

Deion Barnes, OLB, Penn State - 6'3-7/8", 260 lbs. Young and raw, Barnes will require at least one and probably two years of seasoning before he's ready to contribute, but he has the size, speed and power to be a good one he can learn how to use them correctly. This November article from the Pittsburgh Post Gazette is a nice place to start, as is this January article on his decision to leave early. There's also a brief write-up in this article.

HV 3:12

Cam Thomas, S/CB, 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 seem to center on fixable issues of technique and on-field discipline. This December interview makes for interesting if less-than-informative reading. During the East West Shrine Game telecast Mike Mayock and Charles Davis agreed that he was probably a better candidate to play Free Safety in the NFL than Corner, but kept the options open.

HV 3:12

Cody Prewitt, S, Mississippi - 6'2-1/8", 212 lbs. with 33" arms. A big, powerful safety with good but not great range, and who seems to be willing but not eager to stick his nose in on tackles. Combined with some issues with coverage that's enough to drop him a bit, and even this ranking depends on whether the Steelers are happy with what they already have. Matt Bowen (retired NFL safety) commented on a "good range" toward the end of this article on a Senior Bowl practice. This scouting profile comes from our sister site for the Giants says he'd be hard for that team to pass him over in the 2nd.

HV 3:12

Anthony Harris, S/CB, Virginia - 6'1", 190 lbs. Anthony Harris is a ballhawk with good hands and decent range, but he lacks so much of the physical oomph you'd expect from a Safety that many people think he might move to safety if the Combine shows sufficient foot speed. It doesn't help that he's more of a body-checker and a grabber than a serious hitter or wrap-‘em-up tackler. This scouting report projects him as a 4th rounder, which is a round or so lower than his average grade. This nice little scouting profile from our sister site for the Eagles sees him as a late-2nd or 3rd rounder.

HV 3:12

Chris Hackett, FS, TCU - 6'2", 195 lbs. Reports describe him as a willing but not great hitter with excellent range and solid coverage ability; i.e., a classic Free Safety centerfielder.

HV 3:12

Wayne Lyons, CB, Stanford - 6'1", 195 lbs. Lyons is the guy that teams picked on when they wanted to avoid Alex Carter. On another team, however, the situation might be different. Lyons has a great build for the position and coming from Stanford can be counted on to have a high IQ both football-wise and in general. A nice prospect who might be available in a middle round. RETURNING TO SCHOOL.

HV 3:12

Doran Grant, CB/S, Ohio State - 5'10-3/8", 199 lbs. He's got decent hands and, coming from Ohio State, a respectable foundation. The questions go to his overall athleticism. The scouting report at NFL.com suggests he might excel in a scheme like Pittsburgh tends to use, but also contains hints that Grant's success in college might be partly due to solid technique that let him feast on weaker opponents.

HV 3:12

Quandre Diggs, CB, Texas - 5'8-3/4", 196 lbs. with short, 29-1/2" arms. 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. The NFL.com scouting report hints at a player who will need to develop exceptional technique to counter the physical limitations that leave him exposed to genuine giants and significant speedsters. This is a fairly optimistic grade because he's supposed to be a smart young man, a student of the game who improved every year, and thus a prospect who can absorb what Carnell Lake has to teach. Had a nice pick in the Senior Bowl that prompted the commenting crew to say, "Need a nickel corner? This is your guy." Diggs is also the baby brother (13 years difference) of Quinten Jammer, the longtime Chargers CB.

HV 3:12

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 mid-round developmental tackle, Hickey may well be the guy. He'd be a perfect fit and a bargain at that price.

HV 3:12

Jake Fisher, OT/G, 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

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 with the occasional drop, has very good straight-line speed, and has been described as a "feisty" blocker who lacks the physical mass to excel in that aspect of the game. His 2014 was less impressive than the year before, but that could easily be due to very poor QB play. 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.

HV 3:12

Jeff Heuerman, TE, Ohio State- 6'5", 255 lbs. Heuerman is one of the best in a weak class for tight ends. 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. The nfl.com scouting report is less complimentary than others you'll see.

HV 3:23

STEELERS PICK AT #23 OF THE THIRD ROUND (#87 OVERALL)

HV 3:24

Jeremy Langford, RB, Michigan State - 5'11-1/2", 211 lbs. The successor to Leveon Bell at Michigan State, Langford has a similar skill set that's just a notch below the man he was following. He's a big, strong bruiser who can run people over when he wants to but also has enough wiggle to make people miss and great hands out of the backfield. He doesn't have Bell's top end speed, but for a backup he's just about everything you could ask for.

HV 3:24

David Johnson, RB, Northern Iowa - 6'0-3/4", 224 lbs. As you can see in this Fanpost by our own PsychoKuz (read the Comments too), the young Mr. Johnson blew up the Senior Bowl and jump-cut himself into serious consideration for the Steelers' 3rd or 4th Round pick. He demonstrated a really nifty move or three in the whole, good eyes on an outside zone touchdown run, and even some nice kick returns. Pretty much everyone agrees he looks, run, catches, and blokes like a poor man's version of Leveon Bell. Or maybe a middle-class version. He has a tendency to run tall (a coachable issue) and may lack some top-end speed, but there's little doubt that the only thing that might keep him out of Day 2 is the ridiculous depth of the running back class as a whole. Here is a pre-Senior Bowl scouting report from our sister site for the Giants. This is an interview with our sister site for the Eagles.

HV 3:24

David Cobb, RB, Minnesota - 5'10-3/4", 229 lbs. A big, strong, reliable, and productive downhill back who would be ranked much higher if he had top end speed. He may well be better than his already-admirable numbers suggest, however, because it would take a generous man to describe Minnesota's offensive line as merely "below the line "during Cobb's career. Cobb looked terrific at the Senior Bowl, flashing a really nice jump cut and other nifty moves that he supposedly lacked during his college career. This scouting report sums up the popular (pre- Senior Bowl) opinion, and this thorough (but pre- Senior Bowl) scouting report from our sister site for the Jets gives a Day 3 grade after saying that Cobb "compares favorably to Leveon Bell."

HV 3:24

Javorius "Buck" Allen, RB, USC - 6'1", 220 lbs. I rarely link to CBS because I use it so often that basically every player would require the reference. In this case, however, there is a video scouting report that's kind of fun. Others have complained that he goes down after first contact a bit too easily, which is a trait that does not endear itself to Steeler Nation. His back story will, however. Look it up. Allen and Jay Ajayi are very hard to distinguish on paper due to overlaps in size, accomplishments, receiving skills, and other areas. This October scouting report/article is notable because it compares Allen to Bishop Sankey based on a quote from Allen's position coach - who happened to be Sankey's teacher last year.

HV 3:24

Lynden Trail, OLB, Norfolk State (transfer from Florida) - 6'6-1/4", 262 lbs. with crazy-long, 34-7/8" arms. A long, athletic, highly recruited prospect who was recruited to Florida by Urban Meyer and left at the same time his coach did. He's played very well, if not dominantly, at his new FCS school. With all that length Trail looks more like a 4-3 DE but Norfolk State actually plays a 3-4, giving him plenty of reviewable experience as a stand-up OLB. Trail also impressed throughout the Senior Bowl practice week. Here is a nice scouting report and interview from Dane Brugler at CBS, and a similar, equally complimentary scouting report from nfl.com.

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. RETURNING TO SCHOOL.

HV 3:24

Jordan Richards, SS, Stanford - 5'11", 208 lbs. A smart, hard-hitting Strong Safety with sound fundamentals but limited athleticism that looks like he should be a nice contributor but probably not a special one. The Steelers' need for a Safety is hotly debated because it depends on your view of two largely unproven players in Mike Mitchell and Shamarko Thomas. Richards would be brought in to compete with Headache (still one of my all-time favorite nicknames).

HV 3:24

Kurtis Drummond, S, Michigan State - 6'0-1/2", 205 lbs. A solid, well-rounded player who has contributed for several years to an elite college defense. He's a Day 2 guy because he lacks elite speed and needs to add some bulk in order to thump at the level required for a Steelers Safety. This is a nice October 1st scouting report and interview from Dane Brugler of CBS Sports.

HV 3:24

Erick Dargan, S, Oregon - 5'11", 210 lbs. One of my favorite picks if he somehow falls to the 4th or 5th Round, which is hard to believe in this is a very weak class for safeties. Dargan has excellent range, formidable coverage skills, good hands, and a genuine desire to lay the wood on both running backs and receivers who dare to enter his zone. So why is he a Day 3 pick on this Board? He has all those assets but not enough of any in particular to make him stand out. I like him because he seems like a bigger Shamarko Thomas; i.e., an old-fashioned baller who will somehow find a way to help his team no matter where he fits on the depth chart. A good Combine could rocket him up the Board. This is a very summary scouting report to get you started.

HV 3:24

JaCorey Shepherd, CB, Kansas - 5'10-3/4", 199 lbs. Kudos to Matt Miller at Bleacher Report who created the initial scouting report for the young Mr. Shepherd. Sounds like a kid who could rise as the process moves forward.

HV 3:24

Ladarius Gunter, CB, Miami (Fla.) - 6'1-3/8", 200 lbs. with longish arms (31-7/8"). Performed well enough at the Senior Bowl practices to be called "the most impressive outside cornerback" there. Gunter looks perfect on paper, but didn't play like a star on the field - which may say more about his Miami coaches than him because the same could be said of teammates Clive Walford (TE) and Philip Dorsett (WR), who were the best at their positions during the Senior Bowl practices, and Anthony Chickillo (4-3 DE) who split that honor at the Shrine Game. 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. His play at the Senior Bowl was a bit mixed. He earned one, clear P. I. penalty for failing to turn his head on a deep pass, but he looked impressive on run support and passes that went in front of him. This scouting profile from Bleeding Green Nation, our sister site for the Eagles, projects Gunter as a 3rd rounder who might even rise into the 2nd.

HV 3:24

Daryl Williams, OT/G, Oklahoma - 6'5-3/8", 334 lbs. with long (34-3/4") arms. Williams is the Right Tackle bookend to Oklahoma's other big prospect, Tyrus Thompson, and as indicated by this article and this article, his very dear friend. Williams is the quiet, over-achieving, hard-working technician to Thompson's brash and brilliant athleticism. He won't wow as much at the Combine and probably lacks the feet to play on the blindside, but he's the sort of guy with a very high floor on the right side and probably at Guard.

HV 3:24

Laken Tomlinson, G, Duke - 6'3-1/4", 323 lbs. Four year starter, smart kid, coachable, etc. who had questions about his athleticism until he excelled at the Senior Bowl and practices. He's only played at RG, which may say something. A fireplug for sure, but if he can move in space he might be worth a Day 3 flier - and might even higher if Guard was a bigger need. Here is a scouting report from our sister site for the Giants that ends with a 3rd Round grade.

HV 3:24

Donovan Smith, OT/G, Penn State - 6'5-3/4", 341 lbs. with 34-1/4" arms to match. As discussed in this January Post-Gazette article, the general opinion was that Smith should have stayed in college for another year to hone his skills. He was an outright star at the Senior Bowl, however, which with those measurables is enough to propel him into serious consideration for a Day 3 pick. Mike Mayock and Charles Davis went so far as to use words like "dominating," "terrific," and "he's winning on almost every snap" during that broadcast.

HV 3:24

A.J. Cann, G, South Carolina - 6'3", 303 lbs. A smart, four-year starter who seems to have a better grasp of the pass protection fundamentals than most of his peers, even if he's sometimes vulnerable to real quickness on the inside. Who isn't? Cann is also quite strong, and has proven adept at moving unwilling men to where he wants them to go in a power blocking scheme. The reports say he's not as mobile as you'd like, however, and might be a less than great fit if asked to run the outside zone. Sounds a lot like Ramon Foster in many ways when you come right down to it. This link will take you to the nfl.com scouting report, and this one to a profile from our sister site for the Giants.

HV 4:01

Cameron Artis-Payne, RB, Auburn - 5'09-1/2", 212 lbs. A back who is solid in all phases of the game but spectacular in none. His productivity would normally call for a pick somewhere toward the 3rd Round, but given this class and the Steelers' roster he probably won't go to Pittsburgh until Day 3. You can find the nfl.com scouting report here.

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. Probably ought to be on the "Ain't Gonna Happen List" instead.

HV 4:01

Henry Anderson, DE, Stanford - 6'6-3/8", 287 lbs. but with relatively short arms (32-3/4"). Stanford plays a base 3-4 and Anderson has spent time at both NT and DE. Last year the Steelers got Josh Mauro out of Stanford and were very happy with the find until he got poached off the practice squad. Anderson is a better prospect than Mauro was. If the team believes that Big Dan McCullers can be a true backup for Steve McLendon, a guy like Henry Anderson could be the ideal way to set the complete defensive line of the future. He looked really good at the Senior Bowl despite playing out of position (mandatory 4-3 sets), which is encouraging. The nfl.com scouting report will give you an idea of why a guy who would fit so well might fall to the Steelers well into Day 3 - basically, his tape is so-so and there are legitimate questions about his final ceiling.

HV 4:01

Tony Washington, OLB, Oregon - 6'3", 250 lbs. You'd think a leading pass rusher on an elite college team would get more press, and the press was willing to oblige back in the spring. But during the actual season Washington was just a constant "okay." The big question will be "why".

HV 4:01

Kyler Fackrell, OLB, Utah State - 6'5", 245 lbs. His performance earned a higher grade but a season-ending ACL tear pushes that down. If the Steelers double up on pass rushers, Fackrell might be a very good investment to build depth in the pipeline.

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 plaything. 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. The NFL.com scouting report also suggests that his style of play might not mesh with the Steelers' traditional reliance on zone and off-man coverage, even though he was able to impress Mike Mayock with his physicality at the Shrine Game practices.

HV 4:01

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

HV 4:01

Byron Jones, CB/S, 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. Shoulder surgery ended his 2014 season, so there may be a medical red flag.

HV 4:01

Tyrus Thompson, OT/G, Oklahoma - 6'5", 336 lbs. Tyrus Thompson is big and athletic enough to play tackle, but not so tall or lanky that Guard is out of the question, and he can move well enough to play in either a "power" or a "zone" running scheme. That makes him a very flexible asset, which Mike Tomlin always loves. Thompson seems to be a mature and fairly charismatic young man, as indicated by this article and this article, both of which focus on his enduring friendship with Oklahoma's other Tackle Daryl Williams. But he still has some "nasty," as shown by a flash-in-the-pan 2012 scandal where he through a punch. Perhaps best of all, Thompson may drop a bit because this is a strong class and he has a number of technical flaws that will require skilled coaching to fix. It would be hard to design a better toy for Coach Munchak to play with. This scouting report from our sister site for the Giants compares him to Cordy Glenn, which sounds about right to me if you add "poor man's" to the front.

HV 4:01

Ali Marpet, G, Hobart - 6'3-3/4", 307 lbs. Well, well, well! Perennial D-III lacrosse powerhouse Hobart has produced a football player, and according to the vast amount of buzz coming out of the Senior Bowl he's got the potential to be a good one. Reports lauded his quickness and mobility, while noting that he was one of the few players (along with Laken Tomlinson) who anchored well enough to give the 343-pound 1st Round NT prospect Danny Shelton a genuine run for his money.

HV 4:01

Jarvis Harrison, G, Texas A&M - 6'4", 340 lbs. An excellent mover in space for a man that size, and as powerful as a Guard is supposed to be. Needs to work on the fundamentals for pass protection but if he didn't have flaws like that he wouldn't be available as a mid-round pick. Has an injury history to his shoulder and calf and showed some toughness playing through it. Based on the descriptions this is a kid worth more attention than most of his peers. It seems like good coaching could find a whole new level of performance that he's only show glimpses of in college.

HV 4:01

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!"

HV 4:01

Ben Koyack, TE, Notre Dame - 6'4-3/4", 249 lbs. Another multifaceted tight end who will rise in the draft because he's among the best of a weaker class. As you can see from the nfl.com scouting report, Koyack offers a lot of as-yet untapped potential that makes him a more intriguing pick than most. A poor week of practice at the Senior Bowl dropped him down the Board a little.

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.

HV 4:16

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.

HV 4:16

Josh Robinson, RB, Mississippi State - 5'9", 215 lbs. As summarized by our own Steel34D: "He is small in stature and doesn't have great long speed but he has really nice feet. There is an old saying "It is not the size of the dog in the fight but the size of the fight in the dog". Man does this dog have some fight. He consistently can not be brought down by the first contact. He runs behind his pad. He is very fun to watch." All I'll add is that the combination of width and attitude suggest he'll be able to block as well, and he has a reputation for being sneaky good as an outlet receiver.

HV 4:16

Travis Raciti, DE/NT, San Jose State - 6'5", 290 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.

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. Grade dropped by a full round or two because he's really only a fit for the 4-3 teams, which is a shame because he looked almost dominant in some of the Senior Bowl practices. Probably ought to be on the "Ain't Gonna Happen List" instead.

HV 4:16

Jermauria Rasco, OLB, LSU - 6'3", 247 lbs. If you want to impress this author with your potential, a good way to start is having the nfl.com scouting report begin by lauding your "upper echelon football intelligence". Okay, I get that Rasco is a little smaller and has fewer physical tools than you'd prefer, but an exceptionally smart and solidly tough player has as better chance than most to figure out and excel in a complicated defense like the Steelers'. Looked good at the East West Shrine Game too.

HV 4:16

Josh Shaw, S/CB, USC - 6'0-1/2", 198 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. Reading between the lines, you'd normally think that hints at an altered state of mind but it appears there may be some kind of domestic violence issue lurking in the shadows. I found this scouting report at NFL.com particularly useful because it emphasizes a few physical limitations (top speed and less flexible hips) while also noting that Shaw was limited by a series of very coachable flaws in his technique. FWIW, Shaw made a good showing at the East West Shrine Game, where Mike Mayock and Charles Davis agreed that he was "a little stiff" and would probably fit best as a corner in a press man system. He played much less well at the Senior Bowl, where he seemed to have serious trouble getting his head around and looked like he'd be a free first down for any professional QB in search of a pass interference call. OTOH, he seems to be a notable presence on special teams, which doesn't hurt. He started on this Board as a CB with Safety as his alternative, but got switched after the Senior Bowl.

HV 4:16

Deshazor Everett, S/CB, Texas A&M - 5'11", 188 lbs. A tough and physical player with a lot of potential that has never quite gelled at the cornerback position. 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 CB option. If the coverage issues look more entrenched he would be a find mid-round option at safety. 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. Everett's scouting report at NFL.com may win most quotable line of the year with this gem: "Loves to hit and eats glass out on the field." ROFL!

HV 4:16

Durrell Eskridge, S, Syracuse - 6'3", 203 lbs. A tall, rangy hitter in the middle of the field. He hails from Headache Thomas' alma mater and might go at around the same time in the draft, but the two could not be more different in body type.

HV 4:16

Bobby McCain, CB, Memphis - 5'11", 195 lbs. Read this scouting report at NFL.com and tell me: Doesn't this sound like a player who could absorb could coaching and develop into something far better than his college results would suggest? Mike Mayock referred to him as "an ideal nickel candidate" with "great feet" after watching him at the East West Game practices.

HV 4:16

Bernard Blake, CB, Colorado State - 6'0", 185 lbs. A player from a smaller program with enough technical flaws to both drop him down and offer hope that good coaching could develop him into a much better player than he was in college. The NFL.com scouting report suggests that the basic tools are there for Coach Lake to unearth and work on.

HV 4:16

Wes Saxton, TE, South Alabama - 6'4", 235 lbs. There isn't much information floating around on Saxton but expect that to change as the process moves forward. The nfl.com scouting report is cursory but still better than anything else I've found, and is consistent with all the little snippets. He seems to be an excellent athlete who flashes the potential to be a very good receiver, but is very raw in all phases of the game. 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.

HV 4:22

STEELERS PICK AT #22 OF THE FOURTH ROUND (#___ OVERALL)

HV 4:24

Reese Dismukes, G/C, Auburn - 6'2-7/8", 295 lbs. Auburn runs a zone blocking scheme so he's good on that count. And for someone who's been playing Center he's plenty strong and could probably bulk up to play Guard as well, though the Auburn system isn't based on rooting out unwilling men from where they want to go. He won't be starting as a rookie by any stretch of the imagination, but if the projection to Guard is reasonable, then his position flexibility would warrant a pick early on Day 3. He's higher ranked as pure Center and probably won't be available by the time the Steelers would start to consider him.

HV 5:01

Matt Jones, RB, Florida - 6'1", 225 lbs. A one-cut-and-downhill runner who sounds like he'd excel in an outside zone scheme but also has enough size to run between the tackles. Injury problems and a poor offensive line have limited his productivity in college. This article on his decision to go pro will provide a little background.

HV 5:01

Malcolm Brown, RB, Texas - 6'0", 228 lbs. First things first. I have to fess up. Mr. Brown has got me peeved for a totally stupid reason: his Day 1-2 teammate is a Nose Tackle candidate named Malcom (without the second "L") Brown, and you can't look one up without banging into information about the other. I waste enough time on this stuff already Mal, couldn't you be more considerate? [LOL]. Substance-wise, the Texas RB is basically a straight-ahead power back with one good, sharp cut in him on any given run. His big asset is a very low pad level that makes him hard to stop on short yardage downs. If he proves to have decent hands, Malcolm-with-the-second-L Brown might make a nice Day 3 pick as a backup to Leveon Bell.

HV 5:01

Christian Covington, DE, Rice - 6'3", 295 lbs. A very solid tweener prospect who appears to be a better fit as a 4-3 DT than a 3-4 DE/NT swing guy. The question will be whether there's room for him to add some bulk and become a utility lineman. If so, he deserves a solid Day 3 grade from our point of view. If not, there are greener pastures.

HV 5:01

Zach Wagenmann, OLB, Montana - 6'3", 247 lbs. A favorite sleeper candidate over at Bleacher Report, Wagenmann is described as an "all-out effort all the time... pass rush maniac" who "is everything that fans wanted last year's sixth-round pick Jordan Zumwalt to be and so much more." If that's even remotely true he deserves to be a favorite.

HV 5:01

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.

HV 5:01

Shaquille Riddick, OLB, West Virginia - 6'5", 242 lbs. An entry from our own PsychoKuz, who has Riddick rated much higher than the internet pundits. Here's his description [cleaned up]. "A transfer from Gardner-Webb who won Big 12 defensive player of the week in WVU's upset over Baylor. When I watched the film on him, I got the same impression that Dane Brugler did: quick off the snap with an on-field motor that is never idle; balanced, with a flexible lower body and natural bend; and possessing long arms and active hands to swat blockers hands away. The big concern is his functional strength which is probably in the Jarvis territory (i.e. needs to live in the weight room in the offseason). He reminds of a more polished version of Larry Webster (who went in the 4th last year)."

HV 5:01

Xzavier Dickson, OLB, Montana - 6'3", 268 lbs. He's probably higher on the Ravens' board than ours, since Ozzie loves players from his alma mater.

HV 5:01

Corey Crawford, OLB, Clemson - 6'5", 270 lbs. Crawford's a bit tough to evaluate for the Steelers. He seems to have the balance and the overall athleticism to play in space despite his size, has shown real talent in run support, has excellent length in both height and wingspan, and even flashes some decent bend and funkiness in his pass rush. That's promising stuff. The downside is that he lacks the explosive burst that all the Steelers' best OLB's have had in their back pocket. How far can he progress in this system without that asset? If I had to come up with a player comparison (based on written descriptions rather than film study), I'd say Crawford sounds like a poor man's Paul Kruger. Kruger wins with a high motor, above-average but not-special physical assets, and a weird ability to make blockers confused about where he's going to go. If everything goes right, that's what this young man will grow up to be.

HV 5:01

Anthony Chickillo, OLB, Miami (Fla.) - 6'4", 282 lbs. A big, strong kid who seems to be best suited to be a run-stuffing 4-3 DE. This grade assumes he could shed some weight and play in space, but that's a very big "if." He dominated at the Shrine Game after looking great all week in the practices too.

HV 5:01

Anthony Jefferson, SS, UCLA - 6'1-1/8", 194 lbs. Impressed former NFL Safety Matt Bowen at the Senior Bowl with his footwork, movement skills, flexibility, and speed coming downhill. Nice size on him too.

HV 5:01

Adrian Amos, FS, Penn State - 6'0-1/2", 214 lbs. with long (32") arms. Amos played a lot of Corner in his first few years before moving to Safety in 2014, is a willing enough hitter, and has all the physical tools to be a standout player. The problem is that he never seems to put all that talent together and no one seems to know why. This scouting report from the NFL site gives a nice summary.

HV 5:01

Nick Marshall, CB/S/QB, Auburn - 6'1-1/2", 205 lbs. An almost-successful-enough quarterback at Auburn, Marshall surprised everyone by changing his position to corner at the Senior Bowl. Given his size you'd have to guess that Safety is a possibility too, and he was a good enough QB to serve as an emergency #3 in that capacity too. With all that versatility to offer I think it's fair to say that Marshall would be a fantastic catch as a Day 3 developmental prospect, but the need for at least one and probably two years of training before getting on the field is enough to keep him from rising into serious consideration for Day 2. This article will give you some background. Marshall obviously has an intimate familiarity with route trees and the like from the other side of the ball, but really has to be considered nothing more than high quality clay as a corner despite some experience dating back to High School. The word out of the Senior Bowl can be summed up as "fluid, fast, willing to hit (he nailed RB Ameer Abdullah), and offering very intriguing potential." This NFL.com article from November contains additional background and deserves extra credit for ‘calling the shot' before anyone else.

HV 5:01

Craig Mager, CB, Texas State - 5'11", 195 lbs. A good, aggressive, run-supporting corner with a reputation for being just a step too slow to really rise up the board. Mager is one of the few players whose draft stock could change from the teams' point of view as a result of how he runs at the Combine. A 40 time in the 4.4's or 4.5's will shoot him right up. The NFL.com scouting report is a nice place to start.

HV 5:01

Justin Coleman, CB, Tennessee - 5'10", 188 lbs. Read this scouting report at NFL.com and then answer a question: Doesn't it sound like the Pittsburgh Steelers would be an ideal system for Justin Coleman to thrive in? He stood out at the East West Shrine Game and practices, impressing both the pundits (Mike Mayock, Daniel Jeremiah, and Charles Davis) and reputedly a few of the wide receivers too.

HV 5:01

Imoan Claiborne, CB, Northwestern State (La.) - 5'11", 187 lbs. As described in the NFL.com scouting report, Claiborne looks like a classic Steelers mid-round Corner prospect. He has the underlying physical tools such as fluid hips and the ability to mirror a receiver, a series of coachable flaws, and some overblown questions about his size that might cause him to drop into bargain territory. The Combine could make a real difference in this case since long speed is one of the concerns.

HV 5:01

Robert Myers, G, Tennessee State - 6'5", 310 lbs. A technically proficient and reasonably athletic player with a number of flaws that will take good coaching and a year of professional training to fix. He's not better than Ramon Foster, but he has a chance to be. That's enough to earn him a Day 3 spot on the Board

HV 5:01

John Miller, G, Louisville - 6'2", 311 lbs. A solid, well-rounded Day 3 Guard prospect. The big question is whether he has the pure athleticism to serve as an upgrade compared to Ramon Foster.

HV 5:01

Brandon Bridge, QB, South Alabama - 6'5", 235 lbs. This one is based on the CBS Sports scouting report and interview, which intrigues me. What it describes is a tremendous athlete with a great arm, decent mechanics, good accuracy, and virtually no experience at the position (10 games in a minor conference). If the Steelers draft a quarterback it will be with the intention of training him behind the scenes for at least three years in the hope that he'll mature into a gem that can step in when Ben gets old enough to start missing more games. Brandon Bridge looks perfect for that role.

HV 5:16

Dominique Brown, RB, Louisville - 6'2", 216 lbs. A one-cut-and-downhill runner who sounds like he'd excel in an outside zone scheme. His flaw is a lack of breakaway speed. His assets include descriptions that Pittsburgh has come to value, like "patience", "vision," and shiftiness through the hole. A fine Day 3 prospect as a backup running back.

HV 5:16

Rannell Hall, WR, UCF - 6'0-3/8", 193 lbs. On the Board for flashing a set of brilliant hands at the Senior Bowl; so good that the broadcasters had to go through a series of three or four film clips to find the particular one that made them go "Ooooh!" the most.

HV 5:16

James Castleman, DE/NT, Oklahoma State - 6'2", 300 lbs. Sort of like Steve McLendon, Castleman is a highly athletic tweener who is a little smaller than you'd want for a NT and a little shorter than you'd want for a DE. OTOH, he has long arms to make up for the length, and a combination of athleticism, quickness and work ethic to make up for the size. There's not a lot of flab in those 300 pounds. Give him a year in the weight room to add more pure muscle and you might well have that solid, across-the-line backup Pittsburgh is looking for.

HV 5:16

Damarious Randall, S, Arizona State - 5'10-1/2", 194 lbs. Has a knack for being around the play, but let's see how he does at the Senior Bowl. He's almost certainly a Day 3 pick, but whether that means the 4th Round or the 7th is hard to project.

HV 5:16

Julian Wilson, CB/S, Oklahoma - 6'1-5/8", 201 lbs. A solid height/weight/speed candidate for Day 3.

HV 5:16

Bryce Callahan, CB, Rice - 5'10", 185 lbs. Callahan rose a bit by impressing Mike Mayock with his quickness at the Shrine Game practices, and again in the actual game. Here is the scouting report from NFL.com, which I would translate as "really worth sticking on a practice squad in the hope of finding something special after a year of proper coaching."

HV 5:16

Josue Matias, G/C, Florida State - 6'6", 325 lbs. A solid Guard prospect with good technique other than a few coachable holes. Ranked a little lower here than on other boards because of questions about his ability to move in space. Why pick a Guard who would have the same issues as the already-proven Ramon Foster?

HV 5:16

Mark Glowinsky, G/OT, West Virginia - 6'5", 312 lbs. Here are the nfl.com scouting report and a brief article mentioning how much buzz Glowinsky created at the Shrine Game practices. The references to specific, coachable problems combined with a great attitude and superior mobility present a very interesting picture. The main knock on Ramon Foster is exactly that - lack of mobility - so a developmental prospect who might add that into the Steelers repertoire sounds appealing.

HV 5:16

B.J. Finney, G/C, Kansas State - 6'4", 303 lbs. A walk-on turned starter, Finney's considered an exceptionally strong Center, and thus someone we can project to being a mobile Guard as well. K-State runs a zone blocking scheme, so that is a well-trained strength. Needs to work on his fundamentals in pass protection, however, and lacks both the explosion and the road-grading size to be great in the power game or on the goal line. Should go higher to a team that needs a Center.

HV 5:16

Sean Mannion, QB, Oregon State - 6'5-1/2", 229 lbs. There are very few QB's on this year's Board because the Steelers have a very specific need: a late-round bargain who might mature into something special and save the team from having disaster strike when Ben finally reaches the end of his career. Sean Mannion makes that list because the elevator-pitch scouting report reminds me of someone: ‘Plenty tall enough but so rail-thin that you have to worry. Limited mobility but has the arm to make every throw look easy, if not enough of an arm to stand out. Pinpoint accurate except when he's not, intelligent, a coach's son, and able to read defenses, but work on the basics could make all that even better.' The guy I'm reminded of went to the Patriots in the 6th to back up a 30 year-old star named Drew Bledsoe. I will not complain if the Steelers do almost as well with a backup for the almost-33 Ben Roethlisberger. Most sites project Mannion to go in the 3rd or 4th Round but it's hard to see the Steelers spending a pick that high on anyone who would be a pure, 3rd-string backup. This is a decent, if summary scouting report from our sister site for the Jets.

HV 5:24

STEELERS PICK AT #24 OF THE FIFTH ROUND (#___ OVERALL)

HV 5:33

STEELERS EXPECTED TO HAVE A COMPENSATORY PICK IN ROUND 4, 5 OR 6 (FOR MANNY SANDERS)

HV 6:01

Joey Mbu, NT/DE, Houston - 6'2-3/4" 315 with 34-1/2" arms. Supposed to have tremendous character (as a person and a football player) and was a locker room leader. What he hasn't done is establish either the level of power you'd want from a NT or the athleticism you'd want from a 3-4 DE. But he has been sort of in between the two and a versatile backup has to be up there on the Steelers list of "wants..." Mbu might make a nice Day 3 pick on the idea that professional training could help him to become an Al Woods-ish utility backup.

HV 6:01

Darius Kilgo, NT, Maryland - 6'2", 310 lbs. An entry suggested by poster Pittsblitz56.

HV 6:01

Tre McBride, WR, William & Mary - 6'2", 205 lbs. Why am I wasting space on a wide receiver? Because this prospect from Mike Tomlin's alma mater has a good chance of falling all the way toward the end of Day 3 where he might be a serious value pick. Good height and really nice hands, combined with a top notch week at the East West Shrine Game and (reputedly) great long speed, combine to make this small school prospect worth a serious look. Here is the scouting report from nfl.com, and another scouting report from our sister site for the Jets.

HV 6:01

Devin Gardner, WR, Michigan - 6'4", 217 lbs. The Steelers may have the best core of WR's in team history next year. If Martavis Bryant and Markus Wheaton grow into their true potential it may become a unit in the discussion for GOAT. So why include any wide receiver on this year's Board? Simply because Gardner is so intriguing that he should be considered if he somehow falls to the later rounds. Gardner was a moderately successful QB at Michigan who has only begun to move into his new position. He's sneaky but not blazingly fast but he is a terrific (and tall) overall athlete who seems to have good hands and definitely has a good football IQ. I can really see him making even this team as a 4th or 5th receiving option, and that would be a good value pick for late on Day 3. He caught the eye of both Daniel Jeremiah and Charles Davis at the Shrine Game practices and performed well in the actual game.

HV 6:01

Leterrius Walton, DE, Central Michigan - 6'5", 300 lbs. Initially went on the Board because he caught Mike Mayock's at the Shrine game practices, but is likely to stay there because sources like the nfl.com scouting report suggest that he might offer real value as a late round pick.

HV 6:01

Cedric Reed, DE, Texas - 6'6", 271 lbs. He'd need to grow into the position a bit, but he has the long arms to play 5-technique. A late day flier for the Steelers.

HV 6:01

Zach Hodges, OLB, Harvard - 6'2-1/2", 242 lbs. with really long arms (33-5/8"). You face some serious level-of-competition questions when you're a pass rusher coming out of Harvard. Princeton, Yale and Brown aren't exactly known for their dominant offensive lines. Still, this scouting report from nfl.com indicates a pretty good amount of potential and I have to believe Hodges would benefit more from professional strength and technique training than prospects who come from premier programs. Not a bad prospect at all for a Day 3 flier.

HV 6:01

Sam Carter, SS, TCU - 6'1", 215 lbs. Supposed to be a jack-of-all-trades type who will stick in the league for several years by finding a niche that combines nickel DB, in-the-box safety, special teams ace, and locker room gold. The Combine could matter for Sam Carter because he seems to come with enough concerns about his foot speed to counterbalance his supposedly excellent instincts.

HV 6:01

Taveze Calhoun, CB, Mississippi State - 6'0", 170 lbs.

HV 6.01

Greg Mancz, G/C, Toledo - 6'5", 300 lbs. Here is the nfl.com scouting report, which was confirmed to some extent by the Shrine Game practices. Mancz flashed good fundamentals and footspeed but reportedly had some serious problems handling the higher level of power and strength than he routinely saw at Toledo. A year in the weight room is essential. But if he can add that power (and it is an "if"), the Steelers could use a versatile lineman who might be able to back up both the Center and Guard positions.

HV 6:01

Max Garcia, C/G, Florida - 6'4-1/2", 305 lbs. On the Board after showing an ability to handle the monstrous Danny Shelton one-on-one at the Senior Bowl. Garcia would make a nice Day 3 option if the team believes he has the versatility to back up at both Guard and Center.

HV 6:01

Jamon Brown, OT/G, Louisville - 6'6", 330 lbs. On the Board because he impressed a number of people at the Shrine Game practices, including Mike Mayock. He has a number of notable technique flaws that are touched on by the NFL.com scouting report but they all sound like things a good coach could fix, and the Steelers have the best.

HV 6:01

Jean Sifrin, TE, U. Mass. - 6'7", 250 lbs. A name thrown into the ring by BTSC member bradshaw2ben. According to this article Sifrin was very productive at U. Mass. (42 catches in 11 games with 6 TD's) and has that much desired basketball background, but he's also 27 years old (time off before college to take care of a son) which limits the upside a good bit. Here is another article from when Sifrin was announced as a semi-finalist for the Mackey (best college tight end) award.

HV 6:16

Cariel Brooks, CB, Adams State - 5'9", 190 lbs. Grade based on this scouting report at NFL.com, which to my eye suggests a small-school player who ought to excel on Special Teams and could develop into a decent nickel back. Sort of a Ross Ventrone type but edging more toward Corner than Safety. That would be solid value in Round 6 or 7.

HV 6:16

Terry Poole, OT/G, San Diego State - 6'5", 310 lbs. On the Board because he caught the eye of Mike Mayock at the Shrine Game practices. According to the nfl.com scouting report he's the sort of technician that could grow into a genuine player under the tutelage of Coach Munchak.

HV 6:16

Rob Havenstein, OT, Wisconsin - 6'7-3/8", 332 lbs. Havenstein's a perfect demonstration of how different eyes can see different things even when they all belong to reliable experts. The folks at CBS project Havenstein as a Round 5-6 guy. Walter Football doesn't even list him in as a draftable talent. But the nfl.com scouting report gives him a Round 2-3 grade. The common thread is that he possesses excellent strength and extraordinary length, but doesn't move as well as you'd like and can have (obvious) problems playing low enough. He's downgraded here because the Steelers already have size XXL backup Tackles in both Mike Adams and the 6'9" Alejandro Villanueva.

HV 6:23

STEELERS PICK AT #23 OF THE SIXTH ROUND (#___ OVERALL)

HV 7:01

Vince Mayle, WR, Washington State - 6'3", 219 lbs. A former basketball player with all the athleticism he needs to become a good wide receiver, but few of the skills. The number of drops are particularly disturbing, but his technique is so raw that all of the issues may prove to be something a good coach can solve. Given the top-notch raw materials, that's enough to make him a legitimate target late on Day 3 for a team with no real needs at the position.

HV 7:01

Brian Mihalik, DE, Boston College - 6'9", 288 lbs. Described as a "slow twitch" player who has no pass-rushing ability, Mihalik's upside is in his tremendous length and a lot of room to add more muscle. Not a bad prospect you're willing to bet that a year or two in the weight room could build enough strength to let him use that physique effectively.

HV 7:01

Adam Snead, G, Oklahoma - 6'4", 339 lbs. Long arms and good hands help in pass protection, but more of a power-scheme guy in the run. Has trouble finding and hitting defenders in space.

HV 7:01

John Miller, G, Louisville - 6'2", 312 lbs. The nfl.com scouting report is sort of damning, but Mike Mayock made a point of praising him for great balance and potential at the East West Shrine Game. "He's a lot better than people think..."

HV 7:22

STEELERS PICK AT #22 OF THE SEVENTH ROUND (#___ OVERALL)

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.

Michael Bennett, 4-3 DT, Ohio State - 6'2", 288 lbs. Great player, wrong position.

INSIDE LINEBACKERS

Josue Matias, G, Florida State - 6'6", 325 lbs. Too good a prospect to fall to the Third. As described above, that's the cutoff point this year.

T.J. Clemmings, OT, Pitt - 6'6", 315 lbs. Too good a prospect to fall to the Third. As described above, that's the cutoff point this year.

La'el Collins, OT/G, LSU - 6'5", 321 lbs. Too good a prospect to fall to the Third. As described above, that's the cutoff point this year.

Hronnis Grasu, OC, Oregon - 6'3", 298 lbs. Lacks the position flexibility to play Guard as well.

Ereck Flowers, OT, Miami - 6'6", 324 lbs. Too good a prospect to fall to the Third. As described above, that's the cutoff point this year.

Andrus Peat, OT, Stanford - 6'7", 312 lbs. Too good a prospect to fall to the Third. As described above, that's the cutoff point this year.

Ty Sambrailo, OT, Colorado State - 6'5", 315 lbs. Too good a prospect to fall to the Third. As described above, that's the cutoff point this year.

Brandon Scherff, OT, Iowa - 6'5", 320 lbs. Too good a prospect to fall to the Third. As described above, that's the cutoff point this year.

Marcus Mariota, QB, Oregon - 6'4", 215 lbs. Too good a prospect to fall to the Third. As described above, that's the cutoff point this year.

Jameis Winston, QB, Florida State - 6'4", 232 lbs. Too good a prospect to fall to the Third. As described above, that's the cutoff point this year.

Melvin Gordon, RB, Wisconsin - 6'1", 207 lbs. Melvin Gordon, RB, Wisconsin - 6'1", 207 lbs. Gordon's expected to be the guy who will break the 1st-Round drought on RB's. This scouting report from Sports Illustrated compares him to Jamaal Charles, and this November scouting report from Bucky Brooks at the NFL Network to a more complete and uninjured Darren McFadden. Melvin Gordon is the one guy I feel safe in saying cannot fall all the way to 3:23.

WIDE RECEIVERS BEFORE ROUND 6

SOURCES: Analysis of needs is based on the discussion at BTSC together with published opinion from people who ought to know what they're talking about. Most of the raw data for this Board came from BTSC articles and comments, cbssports.com, walterfootball.com, the NFL's Draft Tracker site, and SBNation blogs. The composite big board at Niners Nation is pretty close to where our grades start from before getting customized for team concerns and BTSC feedback. You can find a list of all the BTSC scouting reports here, with earlier versions of this Board and other draft material here. Specific player reviews and other sources appear as links in the text for each player.

YOUR COMMENTS MATTER: The Board is constantly updated to reflect feedback in the Comments. What you see is intended to reflect our community opinion, not the author's personal opinion about what's "right."

Organized by Highest Value ("HV#") to the Steelers. Great players for other teams get downgraded here when they fail to fit the Steelers' openings, system, or other requirements, with enormous downgrades moved to the "Ain't Gonna Happen" list at the end. An HV of 1:25 means the player is a reach for the Steelers 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.

Rounds are subdivided as follows:

  • 1st Round grades: HV 1:01, 1:05, 1:10, 1:15, 1:20, or 1:25.
  • 2nd & 3rd Round grades: Early (HV #:01), Mid (HV #:12), or Late (HV #:24).
  • 4th to 7th Round grades: Early (HV #:01) or Late (HV #:16).