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Steelers 2015 NFL Draft Big Board - BY RANKING (Late March)

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BTSC's By-Ranking Board, with 100-150 new links of nothing but Big Board goodness.

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HV 1:01

Leonard Williams, DE, USC - 6'4-1/2", 302 lbs. with arms like a gibbon (34-5/8") and hands to match (10-5/8"). 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.

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HV 1:01

Vic Beasley, OLB, Clemson (Interviewed) - 6'3", 246 lbs. with 32-1/2" arms. With the possible exception of the super-human numbers put up by CB Byron Jones, no one made a bigger splash at the Combine than Vic Beas(t)ley. It started at the moment he stepped on the scale a full 20 pounds bigger than the 225 many had predicted, and continued through his best-of-class bench press, best-of-class 40 time, and extraordinary performance in the drills. If you could win Best In Show at the Combine, Beasley would have done it - certainly for the pass rushers, and arguably overall. Every report you look up will compare Beasley to Bruce Irvin and it seems like a very fair comparison. He really is that explosive, the 4-3 Leo pass rusher is pretty much what he played at Clemson, and all the issues center on his lack of size (again like Irvin, who weighed 245 pounds at the Combine and compares to Beasley in almost every way except an extra inch of arm length). It comes to this: Vic 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 the debate continues on whether that alone is enough to earn him a pick at 1:22 when he also has serious questions about his ability to play on anything more than pass-rush downs. And don't forget - the Combine can never replace what a player puts on film, and Beasley has had a lot of trouble setting the edge even against college players.

Neal Coolong did this January BTSC scouting report which, with comments such as this detailed addition, is where I recommend you start. Next you should go to this scouting report from retired player Stephen White, which lives up to his usual best-in-the-business standard while concluding that Beasley is the best pass rusher in the entire draft ("And by the way, it ain't even close... I'm also calling my shot that he touches double-digit sacks as a rookie in 2015, barring injury. And it damn sure won't be his last time, either."). What can you say except this?... WOW! This is another decent scouting report that considers the problems raised by being "a horrible run defender" while also noting that Beasley 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 nitpicking about the holes in his college game or physique. This is a glowing, gif-supported scouting report from the Falcons SB Nation site. This scouting report comes from a Cowboys blogger who seems to do nice work. This goes to a good, film-intensive scouting report from NFL Breakdowns.

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Dante Fowler Jr., OLB, Florida - 6'2-5/8", 261 lbs. with 33-3/4" arms. 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. This scouting report from retired player Stephen White (always the best) is a little more cautious than most, emphasizing that Fowler has a real bust potential to go along with his stratospheric boom. This is a brief scouting profile from a retired NFL scout. This scouting report comes from a Cowboys blogger who seems to do nice work.

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Randy Gregory, OLB, Nebraska (Interviewed) - 6'4-7/8", 238 lbs. (a pre-training, walk-around weight of 218), and 34" arms. A little lighter than the ideal, but with enough room to pack on pounds and enough length to set the edge regardless. Here's the bottom line: Randy Gregory may win the Jadeveon Clowney Award for "highest rumor rate about a non-QB" but the talent is so clear that he'll be long gone before the Steelers get to pick. If you feel like torturing yourself with dreams that can never come true, start with this scouting report from retired player Stephen White, who always does great work as shown by this great snippet: "Not only is Gregory built like a muscular Lurch, a good thing for a pass rusher, he is also way more athletic than anybody his size has any right to be." How perfect is that? Once you finish White's analysis, I can recommend both this scouting report from Football Insiders and this scouting report from Walter Football. This is a neat video conversation between Randy Gregory and Shawn Merriman. This scouting report comes from a Cowboys blogger who usually does nice work. This goes to a good, film-intensive scouting report from NFL Breakdowns. This scouting report looks okay and seems thorough, though the site is kind of amateurish and off-putting.

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Shane Ray, OLB, Missouri (Interviewed) - 6'2-5/8", 245 lbs. (249 at the pro day) with 33-1/8" arms. Back in the good old days when no one else played a 3-4 the Steelers could have hoped for a player like Ray to fall into their grasp. Until his pro day we all accepted that was no longer possible. But now... Well, there's not a lot of hope but there may be a faint glimmer. Ray wasn't exactly "bad," but he definitely performed well below the numbers put up by the other Big 5 pass rushers. Of course his film says exactly the opposite and that is what the teams are going to go by. This is a nice report on Ray's pro day performance. Note: Mike Tomlin was among the Steelers contingent who watched. The Steelers apparently had dinner with Shane Ray prior to the Mizzou pro day, though it may have been with Markus Golden instead (or also).

At least one opposing SEC coach compares Shane Ray's prospects to Terrell Suggs with more explosive talent than recent Missouri stars like Kony Ely, Michael Sam, and Markus Golden. This scouting report agrees, and makes the same comparison. This goes to a pessimistic and slightly odd scouting report if that's more your style. This is a brief scouting profile from a retired NFL scout. This scouting report comes from a Cowboys blogger who seems to do nice work. This goes to a full evaluation by respected scout Dave-Te Thomas. This is nice article in the Washington Post. This goes to a good, film-intensive scouting report from NFL Breakdowns. This is an okay scouting profile, but annoyingly broken down into four pages. This scouting report looks okay and seems thorough, though the site is kind of amateurish and off-putting.

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Alvin "Bud" Dupree, OLB, Kentucky (Interviewed) - 6'4", 269 lbs. with 32-5/8" arms. A former Tight End that Kentucky moved to defense, where he's played as both a 3-4 OLB and a 4-3 DE. Dupree absolutely destroyed the Combine, with ridiculous, cartoon-like numbers such as a 4.56 dash (1.60 10-yard split), a 42" vertical jump, and 11'6" broad jump. As our own Neal Coolong wrote (and Neal has been critical of Dupree's film): "Holy effin' balls... It's like combining Shazier and Clowney." So the athleticism and size are top-10. The downside is that Dupree simply hasn't dominated in the way you'd like to see from a college player with those natural assets, and there are very real technical issues that are discussed in some detail by Neal Coolong in this BTSC scouting report. This BTSC scouting overview is a nice one-stop-shop because it lists the positives and negatives as identified by CBS, Walter Football, and NFL.com. After much debate there seems to be a consensus forming: Dupree is the sort of prospect who is likely to have a slower-than-you'd-like learning curve at OLB (a much more complicated spot than 4-3 DE) that is likely to cause him to (a) contribute almost nothing in Year 1, (b) suffer the wrath of Steeler Nation throughout a struggling Year 2, (c) finally "get it" in Year 3, and then (d) make everyone eat crow as he matures toward being a star. Is that "worthy" of a pick at #22 overall? I say "of course it is" - especially for a team captain with all kinds of character pluses - but you can judge for yourself.

If you want to know why people are so high on Dupree, take one more look at his absurd Combine results and then go read this long and extremely complimentary scouting report from our sister site for the 4-3 based N.Y. Giants (by an author who is usually less enthusiastic). The scouting report from NFL.com makes very interesting reading too, because if you read between the lines it sort of agrees with the BTSC consensus described above. Here is a nice little scouting report for a bit more depth, here is a second scouting report at about the same level, and here is a longer and more thorough scouting report from back in November. Poster furthur56 found this nice video scouting report on Dupree at YouTube. This scouting report comes from a Cowboys blogger who seems to do nice work, and gives an enthusiastic thumbs-up in this particular case with the notation that Dupree's tape occasionally shows that "extra gear" you only see in the really great ones. This is a BTSC summary of several scouting reports. Note that the Steelers sent their entire defensive brain trust to attend Dupree's pro day; Mike Tomlin, Keith Butler, and Joey Porter (with Todd Haley there too).

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HV 1:10

Trae Waynes, CB, Michigan State (Interviewed) - 6'0-1/8", 186 lbs. with 31" arms. A player who flat-out fits the mold in every way. Unfortunately, running a 4.31 at the Combine effectively moved him out of any realistic scenario for Pittsburgh. You can find Neal Coolong's BTSC scouting report here. This BTSC scouting overview is a nice one-stop-shop because it lists the positives and negatives as identified by CBS, Walter Football, and NFL.com. Make sure to read the Comments too for added depth. This scouting report comes from a Cowboys blogger who seems to do nice work. Both Kevin Colbert and Mike Tomlin were on hand for the Michigan State pro day. This is a fun and short Sports Illustrated article comparing Trae Waynes and Marcus Peters from the personality point of view. This goes to a good, film-intensive scouting report from NFL Breakdowns.

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Brandon Scherff, G/OT, Iowa - 6'4-1/2", 319 lbs. with 33-3/8" arms. The expert opinions are remarkably consistent with the views expressed by Steel34D's BTSC scouting report: Brandon Scherff has enough athleticism to manage at Right Tackle, but will move inside instead where he will most likely become a dominant Guard. Offensive line may not be a priority for the Steelers, but the image of Scherff, Decastro, and Pouncey on one unit...? With a bit of luck that line - no exaggerating here - could end up being the best interior-three this team has ever had. Holy [bleep] Batman! Here is the full-length scouting report from Walter Football, which is pretty much identical to everything else you're going to read. And if you're still not excited go read this Sports Illustrated article; it's enough to make you think Scherff's agent works on staff. This is the full scouting report from the well-respected Dave-Te Thomas, while this is an article by the respected scout Dave-Te Thomas that has nice summary reports for several offensive linemen, including Scherff.

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Danny Shelton, NT, Washington - 6'2-1/8", 339 lbs. with 32" arms and 10-3/4" hands. 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? It should also be noted that the "attitude" thing has not resurfaced as the process moves forward, indicating that it probably has no legs. This link goes to a well-written and entertaining Sports Illustrated article on Shelton and with the other three Washington defensive stars. This scouting profile comes from retired NFL scout Greg Gabriel. This scouting report comes from a Cowboys blogger who seems to do nice work. This goes to a good, film-intensive scouting report from NFL Breakdowns.

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HV 1:20

Owamagbe Odighizuwa, OLB, UCLA (Interviewed) - 6'3", 267 lbs. with long 33-3/4" arms. The young man with the difficult name been described as a bigger, just as strong, but not quite as bendy James Harrison, which (a) doesn't suck, and (b) sounds a lot like Lamarr Woodley if you think about it. High praise indeed! His exceptional week at the Senior Bowl practices and his performances at both the Combine and his pro day confirm that he has enough maneuverability to drop back into coverage. The downsides? There are two. First, for all his impressive tape Double-O recorded only six sacks in his entire senior year. Second, there are medical questions dating back to two hip surgeries in 2013.

The place to start your research is Steel34D's BTSC Scouting Report, which lauds Double-O's strength, relentless motor, consistent ability to disrupt the opposing offense, and ability to dominate the line in the running game. That skill at run stuffing, combined with the fact that he's played some 3-4 OLB in UCLA's hybrid system, makes him one of the few prospects who might actually be able to contribute as a rookie. This summary scouting report from CBS and this typically excellent scouting report from Football Insiders both suggest that Odighizuwa might fit better as a 4-3 DE than as a 3-4 OLB, a point that comes up in many other reviews as well. This surprisingly thorough scouting report/article from Bleacher Report is worth some time as well. This scouting report comes from a Cowboys blogger who seems to do nice work. This well done scouting report comes from the S.I. site StillCurtain. This is a fun video scouting report from what looks like a Dallas TV station. Here is a brief scouting report from a Vikings site. This very positive scouting report ("Odighizuwa is a beast!") comes from our sister site for the Patriots, and this equally thorough and positive evaluation from our sister site for the Chargers. This scouting report is more summary, but useful as a double-check.

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HV 1:20

Landon Collins, S, Alabama - 6'0", 228 lbs. with 31-1/2" arms. I like everything I've heard about Shamarko Thomas and we know he's shown NFL speed and skills while establishing himself as a special teams demon, but he has had trouble staying healthy and has yet to push his way onto the field for any material amount of snaps in the actual defense. And across from Thomas is Mike Mitchell, who had a lousy, if perhaps excusable, year. So yes, Pittsburgh has two penciled-in starters at Safety along with a solid backup in Will Allen, but no, there's no way to feel secure about the position with that many question marks hovering about.

Landon Collins is by far the best safety in this very weak class. He's plenty fast (4.53) and plays even faster because of top-notch instincts and a high football IQ; he loves to hit (enough to play dime linebacker according to Mike Mayock), but has said he actually prefers to do so from the Free Safety spot; he has experience against the very elite of college opponents; he is an extraordinary talent on special teams; and he has no red flags that limit his stock. Neal Coolong's BTSC scouting report is the best place to start. This nice little scouting report agrees with most when it assigns a likely picking spot between #5 and #20 overall. The Walter Football scouting report is good too and provides a nice takeaway: Collins is like "a bigger version of Matt Elam or D.J. Swearinger;" a prospect who is great in run support and good - but only good - in pass coverage.

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HV 1:20

Kevin Johnson, CB, Wake Forest (Interviewed) - 6'0-1/4", 188 lbs. with 31" arms. Often mocked to the Steelers, Kevin Johnson has several years of solid tape showing everything that teams are looking for in a 1st Round pick; good overall length, nimble feet, loose hips to change direction, solid speed, a good football IQ, a total lack of drama in his background, and even a willingness to tackle in run support. As Mike Mayock put it: "Kevin Johnson can flat out play." The drawback is that you have to project in order to find an ability to play run support. Johnson played at around 170 lbs. in college and was simply too small to fight off blocks and be a force in tackling. He tried - that much is clear - but size matters even if the dog does have a lot of fight. Then he showed up at the Combine weighing 188 lbs., with no loss of mobility and a clear amount of room to add still more muscle. That took care of the underlying issue, which allows us to say he "should" have no problem doing anything the Steelers want. "Should be able to" isn't the same as "has done," but by the same token 1:22 isn't the same thing as 1:10.

As always, I recommend you start your research with this really fine BTSC scouting report from Steel34D. This excellent BTSC Fanpost from Fear94 compared Kevin Johnson and Marcus Peters, and provided this top-notch article from the Charlotte Observer on Johnson's background. This scouting report comes from a Cowboys blogger who seems to do nice work, and who agrees with Steel34D that Johnson is the #2 corner in the draft after Trae Waynes. This adoring November review comes from the normally reliable Rob Rang at CBS, but should be balanced by this somewhat critical NFL.com scouting report and this later, more even-handed NFL.com article. This scouting report from a Bills site is less authoritative but just as nice because it includes some footage clips and discussion. NOTE: Kevin Colbert, Carnell Lake and two other Steeler representatives were at KJ's pro day, where they spoke with his parents too while watching a "very good" set of drills.

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HV 1:20

Marcus Peters, CB, Washington (Interviewed) - 5'11-1/2", 197 lbs. with 31-1/2" arms. Neal Coolong's BTSC scouting report only confirms that Marcus Peters probably has the best film of all the cover corners, and without red flags he'd be an outstanding pick. Unfortunately, the red flags abound. Peters played most of his college career for the Washington Huskies but was dismissed from the team as a Junior after repeated battles with the new coaching staff. The question is "why"? Give this USA Today article a read and then ask yourself if those issues haven't been overblown. There are a lot of collateral facts that tend to favor the more-smoke-than-fire point of view, including:the university's promise to continue paying his scholarship at whatever school(s) he went to; the supposedly-injured coaches who, when asked about the most inflammatory stories, unanimously called them "bull***t"; his continued contact and friendship with his former Washington teammates; and the invitation by his supposedly injured coaches to participate in the school's pro day. Decide for yourself. Marcus Peters was the clear winner of BTSC's 1st round mock draft in March, but the reality is likely to be different for one simple reason: he's either too good to be available at 1:22, or too big a risk for the Steelers to even consider. Let's hope for the former, since that way he will at least force another great candidate down toward our waiting grasp.

This goes to a good, film-intensive scouting report from NFL Breakdowns. This somewhat tepid scouting report comes from a Cowboys blogger who seems to do nice work. Here is a brief pre-Combine article from the Post-Gazette, and here is a well-written and entertaining Sports Illustrated article on Peters and the other top Washington defensive players. Here is a fairly critical scouting profile from The Sports Quotient. This is a fun and short Sports Illustrated article comparing Trae Waynes and Marcus Peters from the personality point of view. This BTSC scouting overview is a nice one-stop-shop because it lists the positives and negatives as identified by CBS, Walter Football, and NFL.com.

CB

HV 1:20

La'el Collins, G/OT, LSU (Interviewed) - 6'4-1/2", 305 lbs. with 33-1/4" arms. Here is Steel34D's BTSC scouting report, which agrees with a fairly common view that Collins could be a good Tackle but would likely be even better as a Guard. Comparing to Scherff, Collins has a slightly better chance of succeeding on the edge because of better mobility and technique, and is a little less promising on the inside because of questions about his level of pure, run-blocking power, but is hard to separate in terms of the overall grade. It will be a surprise if either falls all the way to 1:22. If you want more background consult this very complimentary scouting report from former NFL player Stephen White. White writes just about the best scouting reports you can find on the Web, and in this case concludes that Collins is a better Tackle prospect than most people give him credit for (and maybe a little weaker than people grade him as a Guard). This is a full scouting report from the well-respected scout Dave-Te Thomas.

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HV 1:22

STEELERS PICK AT #22 OVERALL

HV 1:25

Eli Harold, OLB, Virginia (Interviewed) - 6'3-1/8", 247 lbs. with 33" arms. Eli Harold one of those players who would grade out several slots higher if he was a genuine 10 pounds bigger. According to this truly excellent scouting report from a Seahawks site, an absolute must-read IMHO, the 6'4" Harold has such a slim build that his natural walking-around weight would probably be in the 210's and he's had trouble keeping his weight higher than 225. Of course the same complaint was leveled against Vic Beasley until he showed up at the Combine weighing 246 lbs.; i.e., one pound less than 247 mark where Eli Harold weighed in. The comparisons to Beasley, Bruce Irvin (245 at the Combine), and Shane Ray (listed at 245) don't stop there. Just like those guys Eli Harold has flashed a tremendous amount of the speed, explosion, balance, and other athletic talents you look for in a potentially elite pass rusher. He's just shown less in the way of college-level results. NOTE: Joey Porter attended the Virginia pro day, so Harold is clearly on the Steelers' radar.

This nice little scouting report has similar things to say: ideal natural talents, a number of coachable issues (hand fighting skills and leverage), and concerns about his size. This 2012 article from the Washington Post covers Harold's inspiring background. This scouting report comes from a Cowboys blogger who seems to do nice work, and ended with a really interesting summary: "I definitely see what people like, but there wasn't enough to say that he belongs as a 1st rounder for me.  I would say, depending on the game you grab, that he is a Top 30 guy on many occasions (Louisville), but unfortunately, just a Top 100 guy just as often." This brief scouting report from CBS is another place to get a flavor for what Harold brings to the table as a football player, as is Daniel Jeremiah's brief summary at NFL.com ("an ideal fit as a 3-4 OLB"). This scouting profile comes from Greg Gabriel, a retired NFL scout with 30+ years experience. This is a January scouting report from our sister site for the Titans, which pretty much pegs the issue: Harold graded out as a Pick 25-40 guy until he showed up 20 pounds bigger than expected at the Combine. Now...? In noting that Harold "keeps growing on him," Todd McShay pointed out that he's another one (like Kevin Johnson and Maxx Williams) who hasn't reached his grown-man size yet.

OLB

HV 1:25

Danielle ("da-NEEL") Hunter, OLB, LSU - 6'5-1/8", 252 lbs. with 34-1/4" arms. Another quick-footed and tall young man who blew up the Combine. He does need to add some bulk as he matures into his grown-man strength as a pro, though there seems to be little doubt that Hunter has the frame to get as big as you'd want. The big questions are (a) how could a kid with that level of natural assets produce such limited results in college (23 starts but only 4-1/2 sacks), (b) how can he flash both an awesome first step and a repeated tendency to be the last guy off the line, and (c) is good coaching enough to let him rise toward that enormous ceiling? 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, which implies that recognition may be the real issue. This brief scouting profile from a Cowboys site makes the same analogy. Others have suggested it might be scheme related, since Hunter often seems to be paying more attention to setting the edge than to trying to get around it.

Expect Hunter's stock to keep rising as the draft process moves forward. His quick feet, nonstop motor, and excellent balance are obvious on film, and his build and tape leave little doubt he could handle all three aspects of an OLB's job - pass rush, run support, and coverage. Here is a brief scouting report that matches up to what I saw in the game I watched: versus Mississippi State, where Hunter looked very good against the run, required a consistent double-team, and had a nice counter move back to the inside (quick feet), but failed even an attempt a dip-and-bend around the corner, while also showing a remarkably erratic get-off that sometimes looked very good but other times was a full step behind everyone else. NOTE: Hunter looks so perfect on the measurables that there are bound to be a flurry of post-Combine scouting reports arrives. Expect this grade to change as we get a better feel for why that level of athletic genius produced so little in the way of results.

OLB

HV 1:25

Jalen Collins, CB, LSU (Interviewed) - 6'1-1/2", 203 lbs. with 32-1/8" arms. Jalen Collins has the kind of rare physical tools that the Steelers look for in their 1st round picks. How many men are that big but still have the quickness of a man who's four inches shorter? He also has a well respected work ethic, which checks off another vital box. There's really only one real question that makes him less than ideal: With this much raw talent, how is it possible that he only started 10 games in his entire college career? If there's a good answer to that question, Jalen Collins may be the single most likely name for Pittsburgh to be calling at pick 22. If there isn't a good answer, he won't.

This is a very encouraging scouting report from a reliable Seahawks draft site. Here is a pre-2014 scouting report. This brief article ties Collins to the Steelers at #22, in part because he's been working out with Ike Taylor during the offseason like Martavis Bryant did last year. This is a nice little scouting report from a Detroit Lions site to finish things off. This scouting report comes from a Cowboys blogger who seems to do nice work.

CB

HV 2:01

Eddie Goldman, NT/DE, Florida State - 6'4", 336 lbs. with 33-1/8" arms and 10-1/8" hands. Another 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. This scouting report from the reliable seahawksdraftblog.com is doubly useful because it doubles as a comparison to Malcom Brown. This scouting report comes from a Cowboys blogger who seems to do nice work.

DL

HV 2:01

Nate Orchard, OLB, Utah - 6'3", 250 lbs. 33-3/4" arms. Orchard had a breakout 2014 in which he was one of the most dominant and dangerous pass rushers in the nation. Then he went to the Senior Bowl where he dominated the practices enough to make numerous observers comment on his ability to convert speed into power, excellent hand fighting technique, and ability to dip around the corner. He didn't run particularly well at the Combine, but looked adequate in the LB drills (a question mark since he played Defensive End in college), and once again earned praise for his "exceptionally heavy and powerful hands" at the end of some exceptionally long and useful arms. In sum, Nate Orchard offers about as good a compromise between on-film accomplishment and athletic potential as any player in the draft who could be available at this point.

Orchard's sack numbers created a stir at the end of the year and provided a number of sources you can turn to for further research. As always, it's best to start with this BTSC scouting report by Neal Coolong. Next, I suggest you check out this excellent and well-balanced scouting report Bucky Brooks of the NFL Network. This scouting report boasts some gifs in support of its more critical conclusion that Orchard shouldn't be picked until Day 3. This equally thorough scouting report from a reliable seahawks site also comes with a mid-round grade, albeit one based on that team's strong preference for particular athletic traits. This quality scouting report from a Cowboys blogger gives a fairly thorough and upbeat view of the young Mr. Orchard, including some nice tidbits in support of his character on and off the field. This briefer scouting report is less useful for analysis, but makes the point that Orchard has been capable of taking over games on his own; while this brief and admiring scouting report from our sister site for the Giants compares Orchard to Justin Houston; and this more thorough scouting report from Walter Football chooses Connor Barwin as the comp.  This article provides good background going back to High School, as does this pre-season 2014 scouting report and interview from CBS. For another, more sobering viewpoint see this scouting report which ends with a Day 3 grade based on ‘one year wonder' concerns and a bad habit of taking a break when running plays go in the opposite direction. This brief scouting profile comes from a retired NFL scout and provides what seems to be a good summary of the consensus view - a solid 2nd-rounder who might sneak into the late 1st if a team falls in love.

OLB

HV 2:01

Alex Carter, CB/S, Stanford - 6'0-1/8", 196 lbs. with long (32-1/8") arms. 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. According to Mike Mayock, he's also "being looked at as both a Corner and a Safety." FWIW, his father Tom was a 1st-round pick back in 1993, who went on to an 8-year journeyman's career.

CB

HV 2:01

Ronald Darby, CB, Florida State - 5'10-1/2", 193 lbs. with 31-3/8" arms. Flashed tremendous speed at the Combine but looked a little stiff in the hips. It's interesting that Darby and P.J. Williams both played at Florida State and are coming out together. The "word" is that Darby actually has better physical gifts, but Williams is better above-the-neck. That means the interviews will be key for Darby (and of course unknown to us). If Ronald Darby has the intelligence, discipline and maturity to truly study his craft and to be a true professional, he's a 1st round talent. If not, he's a long-term project who will tease us for years with his "potential" and could end up as anything from a bust to the next Willie Gay. Net result: a clear 2nd-day prospect who will cause some team's fans a lot of cramps from all the finger-crossing. This write-up/scouting report was produced in November after a middling game against Miami. This scouting report comes from a Cowboys blogger who seems to do nice work.

CB

HV 2:01

Ifo Ekpre-Olomu, CB, Oregon - 5'9", 192 lbs. with 30-7/8" arms. 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.

This scouting report comes from a Cowboys blogger who seems to do nice work. Here is a scouting profile from The Sports Quotient.

CB

HV 2:01

P.J. Williams, CB, Florida State - 6'0", 194 lbs. with 31" arms. 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. This scouting report comes from a Cowboys blogger who seems to do nice work, in this case emphasizing that Williams does everything superbly except the most important parts of the job: keeping track of a receiver in man coverage while also seeing the ball. That may well be the story in a nutshell. Florida State tended to emphasize press-man coverage, but there seems to be no doubt that Williams can play zone and off coverage too. This scouting report from the NFL site is another 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. This nice little scouting report is also well balanced and useful to get a rounded opinion. This article from a Kansas City paper goes into decent depth as well. Here is a scouting profile from The Sports Quotient.

CB

HV 2:01

Maxx Williams, TE, Minnesota (Interviewed) - 6'3-7/8", 249 lbs. with 33-1/2" arms. His defender-leaping touchdown run in the Citrus Bowl might have made you think otherwise, but the fact is that 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 and talents for the receiving part of the job: reliable hands, decent speed, good route running, etc. The comparison you hear most often is, "a poor man's Jason Witten." I will only add that you need to remember Williams is very young (barely 20) and he still looks like he's half a boy. He has a good bit of growing to do before finding his grown-man strength, and thus has a lot of room to improve even as a pure athlete.

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. For a less rosy outlook see this profile from our sister site for the Bills. This is a video "prospect primer" from the Packers' official site. This scouting report covers familiar ground and then agrees with the familiar consensus that Williams deserves a very-late-1st to early-2nd Round grade. This link goes to a compare-and-contrast scouting report for Maxx Williams and Clive Walford, all from a Broncos' perspective. This scouting report comes from retired NFL scout Greg Gabriel, and scouting report from the well-respected scout Dave-Te Thomas.

TE

HV 2:12

Arik Armstead, DE, Oregon - 6'7-1/8", 292 lbs. with 33" arms and 10-1/2" hands. Arik Armstead is as good a prospect for the 3-4 defensive end position as we've seen in years - maybe even better than Stephon Tuitt was last year, which is saying something because we were all talking about Tuitt as a realistic option for the Steelers 2014 pick at #15 overall. The BTSC scouting report will tell you all you need to know in that regard. He is pure athletic potential in a quasi-human form. So why aren't we kicking and screaming that the Steelers have to get him? There are two answers, and their names are Cam Heyward and Stephon Tuitt. It's a fine thing to have three extraordinary Defensive Ends on a single roster, but the bottom line is that only two of the three will be on the field at any given time. Arik Armstead may indeed be the most talented player who'll be available at 1:22, but he almost certainly won't provide the most bang for the buck. This scouting report comes from a Cowboys blogger who seems to do nice work, and quite properly concludes that Armstead would ill-suit a 4-3 defense.

DL

HV 2:12

Malcom Brown, NT/DE, Texas - 6'2-3/8", 319 lbs. with 32-1/2" arms and 10" hands. 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. This BTSC scouting overview is a nice one-stop-shop because it lists the positives and negatives as identified by CBS, Walter Football, and NFL.com. This scouting report comes from the also-reliable seahawksdraftblog.com. This article could double as an advertising piece, but has a lot of good information if you wade through the hype. This scouting report comes from a Cowboys blogger who seems to do nice work.

DL

HV 2:12

Hauoli Kikaha, OLB, Washington (Interviewed) - 6'2", 253 lbs. with 32-1/2" arms. Kikaha's name was tied to the Steelers in a lot of early speculation and it's easy to see why. The descriptions always seem to use words like "tenacious," "hard-working," "fiery," "high motor" and the like, which are traits that Pittsburgh really values. The questions go to Kikaha's level of native athletic talent, size, and a potentially serious medical flag dating back to two ACL tears on the same knee in 2011. Neal Coolong's BTSC scouting report makes special note of both Kikaha's background as a judo and wrestling champion, and his highly advanced skill set compared to other pass rushers. In any given year you can usually list the number of college players with a pro-ready skill set on one hand with fingers to spare. Kikaha is one of the only ones I can think of who might make that list in this year's class. If his athletic potential matched that skillset he'd be the top defensive player at any position. Unfortunately it does not, which is why he may be available in Round 2 and requires some projection about how he will handle the more skilled and talented players he'll face in the NFL.

Here is a good scouting report from Football Insiders, another good scouting report from a Cowboys blogger, and an excellent article/scouting profile from Bleacher Report. This is a profile from our sister site for the Eagles, and Kikaha's NFL.com scouting profile is also pretty good. This well-written and entertaining Sports Illustrated article on Kikaha along with the other top Washington defensive players extols Kikaha's locker room virtues as well. Kikaha's stock also fell a bit 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. NOTE: Yes, there are continuing rumors that Kikaha's knee issues have caused some teams to write him off. Any genuine problem would drop him from consideration for the Steelers too.

OLB

HV 2:12

Shaq Thompson, SS, Washington - 6'0-1/8", 228 lbs. with 33" arms. 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 could deserve 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? The consensus view appears to be as an in-the-box Safety, even though Thompson has expressed a preference to stay at linebacker. 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. This October scouting report from Football Outsiders goes into a bit more depth about how he was used at Washington. This well-written and entertaining Sports Illustrated article discusses Thompson along with the other "big 4" Washington defensive players. Thompson ran a "just okay" 4.64 at the Combine, but excelled in other drills. This grade reflects a discount for the lack of fit with the Steelers in particular.

S

HV 2:12

Byron Jones, CB/S, Connecticut - 6'1", 199 lbs. with 32" arms. Like Eric Rowe, Byron Jones is a safety who converted to cornerback in 2014. His year was cut short by a shoulder problem, but he nevertheless performed well enough to make Daniel Jeremiah's top-50 list. And that was before he blew up the Combine with world-record setting numbers that would make Roger Rabbit blush. Just look at this! And listen to this. There is no one in the draft at any position who has greater athletic gifts than Byron Jones. The question is whether those gifts will translate into the NFL. Connecticut is not exactly a football powerhouse, so it's hard to say for sure how he would have performed against the higher-end talent faced by other candidates for the Steelers secondary.

Jones' performance at the Combine has led to a number of scouting reports that confirm his qualities as a football player as well as a freakish athlete. This scouting report from a Cowboys blogger is typically thorough and useful (good analyst, bad taste in teams). This Broncos-oriented profile makes a good point by reminding us that Byron Jones was tentatively pegged as a mid-2nd pick by many people until the shoulder injury ended his season and caused a slide. If there's a scouting report I can particularly recommend it's this one, written by a man who spent decades as a scout for various NFL teams and retired as the Chicago Bears' Director of College Recruiting. The article compares and contrasts Byron Jones and Quinten Rollins, and led to this reply article that tried to do the same thing but reached different conclusions.

CB

HV 2:12

Quinten Rollins, CB/S, Miami (Ohio) (Interviewed) - 5'11-1/8", 195 lbs. with 30-1/4" arms. This is one of my 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 Rollins did with CBS. This scouting report comes from a Cowboys blogger who seems to do nice work. 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. His 4.57 time at the Combine is the main reason he's likely to be available at #56 overall, and also explains why many people are now projecting him as a cover-capable Safety. Here is a scouting profile from The Sports Quotient.

CB

HV 2:12

T.J. Clemmings, OT/G, Pitt (Interviewed) - 6'4-1/2", 309 lbs. with arms like vines (35-1/8" at the Combine). Clemmings is a local product who has all the physical tool and upside you could ask for, but who's still new to the position (only 2 years in) and is raw enough that he got used and abused at the Senior Bowl while less talented kids had greater success. The Steelers would probably have to redshirt him for at least a year before all the disparate parts started working together in proper coordination, and then give him another year before he could realistically compete with Foster at Guard, or two before he could compete with either Beachum or Gilbert (all of whom are vastly more accomplished even if they have a much lower ceiling). Note that Coach Munchak was at the Pitt pro day, very likely to evaluate those very concerns. Here is a scouting report from the Lions SB Nation site, and one of the always-informative articles from Sports Illustrated. Finally, at the risk of sending you in circles, the comments to this small BTSC article have a very nice discussion on the grades for both Clemmings and other top Offensive Linemen. This nice little scouting report comes from a retired NFL scout and makes good reading. This article by the respected scout Dave-Te Thomas has nice summary reports for several offensive linemen, including Clemmings.

OL

HV 2:12

Cameron Erving, G/C/OT, Florida State - 6'5-1/2", 313 lbs. with 34-1/8" arms. 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, especially after he put up 30 reps on the Combine bench press. 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 could 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 propel himself into the 1st round for a team that's willing to bet on potential, but if he falls to 2:24 he might be hard for Pittsburgh to resist as a pure BPA. You can find a summary scouting report here, and a very good scouting report from our sister site for the Chargers here. This article by the respected scout Dave-Te Thomas has nice summary reports for several offensive linemen, including Erving.

OL

HV 2:12

D.J. Humphries, OT, Florida - 6'5", 307 lbs. with 33-5/8" arms. Humphries is a prospect with amazingly light feet for an offensive lineman - among the best in the class - but who's missed some of the proverbial ‘sand in the pants' for dealing with pure power rushers. Most mocks have him going at some point in Round 1, but from the Steelers point of view he has a moderately lower value because he's not Guard-capable. This article by the respected scout Dave-Te Thomas has nice summary reports for several offensive linemen, including Humphries.

OL

HV 2:24

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

HV 2:24

Carl Davis, NT/DE, Iowa - 6'4-1/2", 320 lbs. with really long, 34-5/8" arms and ridiculous 11" hands. Carl Davis has tremendous value to a team like Pittsburgh because he fits at almost any position across the defensive line, and maybe even especially good in some of the sub-packages. Think of him as a more athletic version of Steve McLendon who will end up as a legend if he has Big Steve's knack for overachieving. The main drawback to Davis is that he would have a hard time being more than a rotational player because the Pittsburgh line is already staffed with quality starters. At one point Davis' ability to play almost any position on the line led some folks to point out that "versatility" and "lack of fit" are two sides of the same coin (probably the same ones coming down on Shaq Thompson), but that noise stopped when Carl Davis emerged as a dominant star at the Senior Bowl. This article/scouting report was the result of that performance and is where you should start your in-depth research. Here is a scouting report from our sister site for the Giants. This Bleacher Report article is closer to a fan rave than a neutral scouting report, but contains some good points along with the over-the-top man crush stuff. This article from the Packers' official team site is light on analysis but very clear on the point that Carl Davis can play any position on a 3-4 front, and do it at a high level. Finally, while it pained me to include this scouting report from a Cowboys blogger, I had to admit the author seems to be a pretty good analyst despite his awful taste in football teams. It's worth a read as well. This double scouting profile on Carl Davis and Malcom Brown comes from a Bears-oriented site. This scouting profile comes from retired NFL scout Greg Gabriel.

DL

HV 2:24

Benardrick McKinney, OLB/ILB, Mississippi State - 6'4-1/8", 246 lbs. with 33" arms. McKinney is an odd case because he is regularly described as one of the top prospects in the country to be an inside linebacker, but the Steelers would be more interested in his ability to convert to the outside. At OLB that same athletic genius would make him excellent in coverage, the size and attitude would make him excellent at setting the edge, and his pass-rush skills... Aye, there's the rub. McKinney has all the physical tools to be a fine pass rusher and has displayed them when asked to, but he's never been asked to make pass rushing the focus of his game. I'm not the only one who sees McKinney as a potential 3-4 OLB, by the way. This scouting profile from our sister site for the Jets makes a point of noting that McKinney has the tools to potentially be even better 3-4 at that position than as a 4-3 MLB, and adds that he played the position with some success as a freshman. This goes to an October scouting report, and this to a more thorough scouting report from a Bears POV. This fun and pseudoscientific scouting report manages to be informative too, ultimately rating McKinney as a straightforward middle linebacker who deserves a Day 2 grade. This informal scouting report reaches a similar conclusion. Had a solid pro day that may have helped him a bit after a very so-so Combine, but as of early March his draft stock is still in a state of flux. This is an excellent March scouting report from a Packers point of view - well worth the read.

OLB

HV 2:24

Eric Rowe, CB/S, Utah (Interviewed) - 6'0-3/4", 205 lbs. with 31-1/2" arms. Eric Rowe is a true Corner who has the height, length, speed (4.45 at the Combine), experience, and attitude to play equally well at Safety. You'd be hard pressed to design a player with better assets for countering the modern day's goliath Receivers and pass-catching Tight Ends. To see this in action watch the film of his game against Michigan WR Devin Funchess, who Rowe pretty much dominated him all day. The only thing keeping him out of the 1st is the fact that he only recently transitioned from Safety to Corner and still needs to do a lot of work on his coverage skills. That development will control his ability to break into the starting lineup, but he's probably ready to go as-is when it comes to special teams and particular sub packages.

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, emphasizing that Rowe is a solid corner but brings extra value to the table with his ability to double as a cover-capable Safety. This is a nice scouting profile from The Sports Quotient.

CB

HV 2:24

Jake Fisher, OT/G, Oregon - 6'6-1/8", 306 lbs. with 33-3/4" arms. 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 the Ducks suffered in a noticeable way, so it was his play that made the difference even more than Mariota's mobility. Showed great movement skills at the Combine. This is one of those players I'd love the Steelers to get in a middle round where he'd come at an affordable price. Unfortunately, Fisher had the bad taste to excel at the Combine and ruin my little plan for world domination. Sigh. Here is a nice little scouting report. This article by the respected scout Dave-Te Thomas has nice summary reports for several offensive linemen, including Fisher.

OL

HV 2:24

Cedric Ogbuehi ("Ah-BOO-hee"), OT/G, Texas A&M - 6'5", 306 lbs. with arms like a gibbon (35-7/8"). Texas A&M has been a factory for Offensive Tackles, with Luke Joeckel going at #2 overall in 2013 and Jake Matthews at #6 overall in 2014. Ogbuehi, who has clear 1st Round talent and experience at both Guard and Tackle, went into the 2015 season with the expectation of being the next in that cycle. His stock fell through the year, however, because he showed the same problem that has plagued Joeckel's career; a lack of functional strength that prevents him from getting the best out of all the rest of his assets. He'd have probably been a 1st round lock nevertheless but for a torn ACL suffered during his final Bowl game. Talk about bad luck! I genuinely sympathize, but his loss might be the Steelers gain. There's little chance he could have broken into the Steelers lineup as a rookie under the best of circumstances, and this way he can spend that unavoidable redshirt safely tucked away on Injured Reserve, where he can build his core strength and absorb his lessons at the same time he rehabs the knee.

As you can see from the NFL.com scouting report, Ogbuehi has the sort of quick feet, athleticism, size and length to become a true franchise Left Tackle in the league and a perfect fit for the kind of system that Mike Munchak has preferred over the years. Strength is an issue, but that can be trained, right? This scouting report gushes a bit, but gives a fair description of his genuinely massive upside. Here is a brief scouting profile from our sister site for the Giants. This is a more thorough and analytical scouting report from the well-respected scout Dave-Te Thomas. This is a fun article pairing the Steelers to injured prospects such as IEO or Cedric Ogbuehi. This Sports Illustrated article digs into the drama of his injury a bit more, but also has some useful "but for" material. This is a full scouting report by the respected scout Dave-Te Thomas, while this goes to Thomas's article containing summary reports for Ogbuehi and several other offensive linemen, including Ogbuehi.

OL

HV 3:01

Henry Anderson, DE, Stanford - 6'6", 294 lbs. but with 33-1/2" arms (that somehow measured 32-3/4" at the Senior Bowl, causing upset). 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. Here are a nice little two-game scouting report from a Lions-oriented site, a very well-done scouting report from our sister site for the Chargers, and another scouting report from our sister site for the Giants (which compares Anderson to Brett Keisel). This is a short but even-handed scouting report comes from a Patriots site. This link goes to a Q&A article by ESPN.

DL

HV 3:01

Mario Edwards, DE Florida State - 6'3", 279 lbs. with 33-3/4" arms and absurdly big 10-7/8" hands. Edwards is one of those guys who is a much better athlete than football player - at least so far. The NFL.com scouting report emphasizes that he somehow manages to lose all that explosiveness whenever he's asked to pass rush. As a 5-technique that's okay - if it's a physical thing and not a matter of motivation - but it does make him a real enigma because the tests all say that shouldn't be the case. Here is a very brief introduction and overview. Here is a scouting profile from our sister site for the Giants. This scouting report may have something when it concludes by comparing Edwards to Ziggy Hood. This scouting report emphasizes the potential, and then balances it against the fact that he manages to completely disappear to an astonishing extent. For a better outlook, see this scouting report from the well-respected Dave-Te Thomas, and this very positive scouting report that concludes by "giving Edwards a borderline first round grade due to his upside and potential." Finally there's this synopsis from a pay-only site, which I include only because it seems to sum things up nicely: "Edwards' stock will rise or fall based on how he interviews. He has first-round physical gifts, but he plays like he just doesn't care. His development has been stagnant and he's given very little reason for anyone to trust that he'll reach his full potential."

DL

HV 3:01

Jordan Phillips, NT, Oklahoma - 6'5-1/4", 329 lbs. with 34-3/4" arms and 9-3/8" hands. An enormous man who played Nose Tackle in a college 3-4 with much quicker feet than you'd expect. Here is a pre-Combine scouting report, and a Bleacher Report article comparing him favorably to Danny Shelton (who Phillips at least matched on the numbers at the Combine) He's not quite as explosive on the inside as Shelton, Brown and Goldman but he has better length than any of them and would probably have an easier time shifting out to play the 5-technique if a need for that should arise. You'd be hard pressed to design a better utility backup for a team like the Steelers than Jordan Phillips. This scouting report comes from a Cowboys blogger who seems to do nice work.

DL

HV 3:01

Ameer Abdullah, RB, Nebraska - 5'9", 205 lbs. He's short but not small, runs hard between the tackles as well as outside, has very good skills as a receiver, and would have a great career if permitted to share carries with someone like, 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. Here is the full Walter Football scouting report, which projects Abdullah more as a 3rd down back who can step in where needed than a workhorse, 300 carry per year guy. If you're looking for a flaws they would be his ability to pick up blitzers and a potential issue with fumbles; but if you're getting to that kind of detail you should also note this tidbit I heard on Path To The Draft: at least one scout has given Abdullah the single highest character recommendation he has ever written up in all his years of being around the college game. Decide for yourself which point carries the most weight. This scouting report comes from a Cowboys blogger who seems to do nice work and who, like me, "sees a lot of Warrick Dunn" in Ameer Abdullah.

RB

HV 3:01

Jay Ajayi, RB, Boise State - 5'11-3/4", 221 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, and Ajayi does have huge 10" hands. This is combination of scouting report and interview will give you about as thorough a grounding as you could ever want. This typically excellent scouting report from Football Insiders is another 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." This is a fun double scouting report comparing Jay Ajayi to David Cobb. This scouting report comes from retired NFL scout Greg Gabriel, and this admiring scouting report is from The Sports Quotient.

RB

HV 3:01

Tevin Coleman, RB, Indiana (Interviewed) - 5'11", 206 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. This is a fun double scouting report comparing Tevin Coleman to Mike Davis. This nice scouting report comes from the National Football Post.

RB

HV 3:01

Mike Davis, RB, South Carolina - 5'9", 217 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. This smaller scouting report is less rosy but still full of compliments. This is a fun double scouting report comparing Mike Davis to Tevin Coleman. This goes to the full Walter Football scouting report. This is a full scouting report by the respected scout Dave-Te Thomas.

RB

HV 3:01

Duke Johnson, RB, Miami (Interviewed) - 5'9-1/8", 207 lbs. A little smaller than you'd put down in a job listing but far from little; waaaaay shifty enough to avoid the big hits; and a downright fantastic receiver out of the backfield, albeit somewhat lousy at picking up a blitzing linebacker who outweighs him by 50 lbs. Honest and mainstream experts like Rob Rang at CBS Sports have compared him to LeSean McCoy. The Walter Football scouting report went with Giovanni Bernard instead. Here is a nice scouting report from our sister site for the Chargers. This scouting report comes from a Cowboys blogger who seems to do nice work.

RB

HV 3:01

Trey Flowers, OLB/DE, Arkansas (Interviewed) - 6'2-1/8", 266 lbs. with immense 34-1/4" arms. Trey Flowers is a player who will grow on you, especially if you favor the idea of a Size XL OLB who can dominate in the run game. He's an easy 2nd-round pick as a 4-3 DE, but for Pittsburgh it will all come down to whether a guy that big can expand his role to include all the things expected of an OLB. Flowers flashed some genuine pass rushing ability at the Senior Bowl with what Mayock and his peers called a "smooth inside swim move," as well as extremely solid ability at stopping the run. He didn't look natural at the Combine linebacker drills but neither did he look hopeless, and his display at his pro day was already showing improvement (in addition to a much-improved 4.83 time in the dash). Trey Flowers' film 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 (!).

This scouting report summarizes what I believe to be the most common view: at this point Flowers looks most like a 4-3 Defensive End with A-1 power, a bull-rush to match, and top-notch skills at stuffing the run, but is also plagued by a non-explosive get-off and merely adequate ability to change direction or play in space. It identifies Lamarr Woodley as the comparable player, which I think is fair if  - but only if  - you assume that the Woodley who played for the Steelers represents Flowers' highest potential. Interestingly, the nfl.com scouting report projects him as more of a 5-technique than an OLB, a conclusion echoed by this scouting report as well. The main issues that both articles point to had to do with a lack of explosiveness and fluidity, however, and Flowers answered some of those questions at the Combine and pro day.

OLB

HV 3:01

Markus Golden, OLB, Missouri (Interviewed Over Dinner) - 6'2-3/8", 260 lbs. with short 31-1/8" arms that will only give the measurements-geeks more ammunition. NOTE: Golden reportedly had dinner with Markus Golden before attending the Mizzou pro day, though it may have been with Shane Ray instead (or also). Playing across from Shane Ray could (should) get you overshadowed, but Golden was too good for that to happen. You still have to wonder, though: would Golden's relatively modest numbers be even that good with a normal human as a rushing partner? Or was it Ray who benefited from teams being force to guard the other side? Golden's assets include a very good bull rush, a solid first step, excellent size, nice hands, a good football IQ, and a top notch motor. His downsides are a much more limited amount of athleticism than you'd normally like to see in a Day 2 pick.

The first place to look for more information is in the quoted material buried in this article. Markus Golden is one of those guys whose play creates a "whole" far, far better than the sum of his measurable parts, and those quotes do a good job of explaining it. If you want a mere summary, suffice it to say the football-related intangibles are off the charts, including the part where he makes everyone around him better. The questions, as neatly summarized in the nfl.com scouting report, boil down to whether he has the pure, measurable athleticism to hold up his own end of the bargain in the pros. This newspaper article is good for a bit of background, while these scouting notes from the Citrus Bowl (from a Seahawks site) are helpful from a purely football point of view.

OLB

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Lorenzo Mauldin, OLB, Louisville (Interviewed) - 6'3-1/2", 259 lbs. with 33" arms. Mauldin is very strong and will have no problem setting the edge, but can he learn to dip around it and defeat NFL tackles? Or to cover running backs in space? Those are the questions that Colbert & Co. will have to answer - a process they have undertaken by meeting with Mauldin and being there to study him in more detail at his pro day. This is a fine article for background material on Mauldin's life - once you know his story (16 different foster homes?!) you can't help but root for him. No exaggeration: this is one of the most inspiring tales of sports saving and creating lives that you'll ever hear, and you'll be a better person for the experience. Check this article out when you're done with that one: he's a kid who stands by his beliefs in a dignified and very adult way. This November scouting report from a Bills fan site gives an introduction to his skills as a player, with some nice gifs for fun viewing. The NFL.com scouting report is another must-read, with good information on both strengths and weaknesses. Mauldin did make one nice play during the Senior Bowl when he dropped into coverage, which is encouraging, but he's also earned criticism for coachable flaws like playing too upright and giving offensive linemen easy access to his chest. This is a brief scouting profile from a Bears site. This scouting report comes from a Cowboys blogger who does nice work despite his poor taste in teams. This odd mock sends Mauldin to the Steelers in Round 2, with a little explanation.

OLB

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Preston Smith, OLB/DE, Mississippi State - 6'4-7/8", 271 lbs. with 34" arms. An excellent 4-3 DE prospect who had a great week at the Senior Bowl. For the Steelers he'd be a classic "elephant" OLB prospect - a guaranteed success at run stuffing who might be limited to that role, or might grow into the next Lamarr Woodley. He looked pretty mobile at the Combine, which is what brought him into consideration as a potential OLB. During the Senior Bowl telecast Mike Mayock referred to him as "a working man, not flashy, who'd make a solid 2nd-Round pick."

Here is a nice little scouting report for more detail, and a comparable profile from a Patriots site. This double scouting profile is quite brief but covers both Henry Anderson and  Smith. This scouting profile from a Browns site sees Smith as a very promising prospect, but only as a hand-in-the-ground player. This Bleacher Report scouting profile, which seems to be pretty solid if oriented from a Falcons perspective, also views  Smith as a run-stuffing power rusher who may need to play with his hand on the ground. This Redskins-oriented scouting report is much the same: a fine prospect, but not a bendy one and thus best suited as a hand-down lineman.

OLB

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Za'Darius Smith, OLB, Kentucky - 6'4-1/2", 270 lbs. with 32-5/8" arms. 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.

OLB

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Cody Prewitt, S, Ole Miss (Interviewed) - 6'2", 208 lbs. with 32-5/8" 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. Ran a 4.46 at his pro day, which was needed after a 4.60 at the Combine. If you're tired of reading, here is a video scouting report. This is a brief scouting profile from a Broncos perspective, and this somewhat better scouting profile from a Dallas POV.

S

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Damarious Randall, S, Arizona State - 5'10-7/8", 196 lbs. with 30-1/4" arms. As Mike Mayock put it, "[Randall has] Corner skills in a Safety's frame." He's also got very acceptable speed for a Safety (4.47) and, according to Steel34D who watched him a lot in college, has a genuine knack for being around the play. This is a nice article for some light background. In a class that lacks Safeties of all kinds, that kind of range and nose for the football has him climbing up a lot of boards. Here is a scouting profile from The Sports Quotient. There is a summary scouting profile in this article on mid-round bargains.

S

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Jaquiski Tartt, S, Samford - 6'1-3/8", 221 lbs. with 32-3/8" arms. A small school prospect who reportedly ran a 4.4 forty (4.54 at the Combine) but has shown more ability in run support than in coverage. He looked good at the initial Senior Bowl practice and may turn out to be "that small school kid" for this year's draft. The nfl.com scouting report is a good place to start. This scouting report will add more depth.

S

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Charles Gaines, CB, Louisville (Interviewed) - 5'9-7/8", 180 lbs. with 31-3/8" arms. 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. Flashed great long speed at the Combine (4.34) and put enough on tape to earn a compliment from Mike Mayock: "He's a good corner."

CB

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Senquez Golson, CB, Ole Miss (Interviewed) - 5'8-1/2", 178 lbs. with short, 29-3/4" 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. As for football-specific skills, Mike Mayock has consistently lauded his "rare ball skills" and high football IQ, and even gone so far as to say "he tracks the ball as well as anyone I've ever seen". Golson is everyone's favorite "sleeper," to the point that I feel confident in saying that he'd be in the conversation for the Steelers pick at 1:22 if he was even two inches taller. But of course he is not. This scouting report from the NFL site 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. This scouting profile comparing Golson and Steve Nelson comes from retired NFL scout Greg Gabriel. This is another joint scouting report (CB Kevin White and Golson), this time from our sister site for the Panthers.

CB

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Doran Grant, CB/S, Ohio State - 5'10-1/4", 200 lbs. with 30-1/4" arms. 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. Mike Mayock called him, "A solid football player... with nice feet."

CB

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Steven Nelson, CB, Oregon State - 5'10-1/8", 197 lbs. with 30-5/8" arms. 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. The critical scouting report at NFL.com all but suggests that Nelson might be better suited to be a Safety than a Corner, so you might find the more balanced Walter Football scouting report, giving him a Round 2-4 grade, a bit fairer. This scouting report comes from a Cowboys blogger who seems to do nice work. This scouting profile comes from retired NFL scout Greg Gabriel.

CB

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D'Joun Smith, CB, Florida Atlantic - 5'10", 187 lbs. with 30-3/8" arms. 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 after Smith showed good long speed at the Combine (4.45) even if he was a bit stiff in the movement drills. This is a neat scouting profile from The Sports Quotient.

CB

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Kevin White, CB, TCU (Interviewed) - 5'9-1/8", 183 lbs. with 30-1/8" arms. 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." The big difference may be long speed. Verrett ran a blistering 4.38 at the Combine, while White offered a very pedestrian 4.64. Here's hoping he turns that around at his pro day. Jason Verrett aside, the lack of length is a concern too: isn't "Jason Verrett lite" a fairly accurate description of Antwon Blake?

CB

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Tre' Jackson, G, Florida State - 6'3-7/8", 330 lbs. with 32-5/8" arms. 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. This article by the respected scout Dave-Te Thomas has nice summary reports for several offensive linemen, including Tre' Jackson.

OL

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Laken Tomlinson, G, Duke - 6'3-1/4", 323 lbs. with 33-5/8" arms. Full disclosure: I really like this kid. A native of Jamaica who wants to play Guard in the NFL and then go back to become a neurosurgeon? How cool is that! Tomlinson is a four year starter who check every box when it comes to brains coachability, and the like. There were questions about his athleticism until he excelled at the Senior Bowl and practices. He's only played at RG, which may say something, but I'm not sure what. Tomlinson would grade out even higher if he had the potential to back up at Tackle in addition to competing for a starting spot at Guard. Here is a scouting report from our sister site for the Giants that ends with a 3rd Round grade. This full Walter Football scouting report notes some issues with speed rushers but lauds his power in the running game. This is a full scouting report by the respected scout Dave-Te Thomas, while this goes to Thomas' article providing nice summary reports for both Tomlinson and several other offensive linemen.

OL

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Clive Walford, TE, Miami (Interviewed) - 6'4", 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. Here is the full Walter Football Scouting report. Here is a scouting profile from The Sports Quotient.

TE

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David Cobb, RB, Minnesota (Interviewed) - 5'11", 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." This is a fun double scouting report comparing David Cobb to Jay Ajayi. This is a good article/interview focused on Cobb's all-around game. This is a lightweight but okay scouting profile from our sister site for the Bills. Both this scouting profile and this scouting profile are comparable to the Bills one: okay to build a sense of the common perspective, but not a place to start. This video scouting report is for our football geeks; let me know in the comments if you love it or hate it!

RB

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David Johnson, RB, Northern Iowa (Interviewed) - 6'1", 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. This nice little scouting report compares Johnson to Steven Jackson, but I think he's a little niftier than Jackson and runs with less oomph... which is what I'd say about Lev Bell as well. David Johnson does have a tendency to run tall (a coachable issue) and may lack some top-end speed, but there's little doubt that the main thing that's likely to 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. This on-the-fence scouting report comes from a Cowboys blogger who seems to do nice work. This is a brief but okay scouting profile from people who watched him in games.

RB

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Jeremy Langford, RB, Michigan State (Interviewed) - 6'0", 208 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. The knock on him was a lack of top end speed, but that disappeared on February 21, 2015 when he ran the fastest 40 time of all the running backs at the Combine (4.43). Note that both Kevin Colbert and Mike Tomlin were on hand for the Michigan State pro day.

RB

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Geneo Grissom, OLB, Oklahoma - 6'3-3/8", 262 lbs. with 33-3/8" 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. This wrap-up scouting profile from the SB Nation site for the Sooners provides as good a summary as I've been able to find: "A player that never really found a home on the football field ... had some brief flashes of dominance as he utterly destroyed the Alabama offensive line in the Sugar Bowl ... also had several injury setbacks which cut short his senior year". The NFL.com scouting report characterizes him as an okay but very straight-line player with good strength and decent power, but no bend whatsoever to get around an edge.

OLB

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Anthony Harris, S/CB, Virginia - 6'1", 183 lbs. with 31" arms. 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. This scouting report puts him in the 3-4 range, which is typical. Here is a scouting profile from The Sports Quotient.

S

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Gerod Holliman, FS, Louisville - 6'0", 218 lbs. with 32" arms. A long, fast and rangy ballhawk. I'd be surprised if the Steelers abandoned their experiment with Mike Mitchell after a single year, but if they do then Holliman could be a substitute to put in his place... assuming they believe he can learn to tackle. Holliman's 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, and this is a nice, if moderate-sized Sports Illustrated article.

S

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Lorenzo Doss, CB, Tulane - 5'10-3/8", 182 lbs. with short (29-3/4") arms. A good but not great cover corner with one major flaw - he's tackling-averse. On the plus side, Doss has excellent hands that have snagged an awful lot of balls. True, most of those interceptions came on throws that were far more off-target than he'll see from any NFL quarterback, but there's something to be said for making the most of your opponent's mistakes.

CB

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Jacoby Glenn, CB, UCF - 6'0", 179 lbs. with 31-1/4" arms. He has the height, speed and athleticism you look for but also two real problems that are probably related to being a redshirt sophomore: he is very light for his size (and it shows), and he has issues with fundamental techniques like his backpedal. Those are both solvable concerns if the young Mr. Glenn has his head screwed on straight, which makes him a legitimate mid-round developmental target. At the Combine Mike Mayock lauded his "tremendous ball skills" but also noted that he mostly played in off coverage and looked "real tight" in one of the drills.

CB

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A.J. Cann, G, South Carolina - 6'3", 313 lbs. with shorter 32-5/8" arms. 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 might be a less than great fit if asked to run the outside zone, however. 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. This article by the respected scout Dave-Te Thomas has nice summary reports for several offensive linemen, including Cann.

OL

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Arie Kouandjio, G, Alabama - 6'4-7/8", 310 lbs. with long, 34-1/8" 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. This link will take you to the full Walter Football scouting report. This is a full scouting report by the respected scout Dave-Te Thomas, while this goes to Thomas' article containing nice summary reports for both Kouandjio and several offensive linemen.

OL

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Donovan Smith, OT/G, Penn State (Interviewed) - 6'5-3/4", 338 lbs. with 34-3/8" 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. 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. This brief scouting profile from a retired NFL scout gives Smith a 2nd-round grade. This article by the respected scout Dave-Te Thomas has nice summary reports for several offensive linemen. NOTE: Todd Haley and Mike Munchak were at the Penn State pro day.

OL

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Jeff Heuerman, TE, Ohio State (Interviewed) - 6'5", 254 lbs. with 33-1/4" arms. 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 planning for the future). NOTE: I think Heuerman may be higher on the Steelers radar than most people suspect. First, he comes from Ohio State where the Steelers have an intimate relationship (e.g., Mike Tomlin said that the Steelers chose Shazier of C.J. Mosley because of the Ohio State relationship). And second, Heuerman played basically all of 2014 with foot and ankle injuries. This shows his toughness while also suggesting that he may be a much faster and niftier athlete than people saw in his final year.

The nfl.com scouting report is less complimentary than others you'll see but a decent place to start. Here is an article from late February.

TE

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Jesse James, TE, Penn State (Interviewed) - 6'7", 261 lbs. with 33" arms. NOTE: Todd Haley and Mike Munchak were at the Penn State pro day. 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, while this February article examines his pre-Combine prospects. This brief scouting profile comes from our sister site for the Giants. This nice, detailed scouting report was put up as a BTSC Fanpost. (We do good work around here. Kudos to TheSixRingSting). This article ties James to the Steelers in particular, as does this article from the Tribune Review. This is a somewhat critical, gif-supported scouting report from a Baltimore site.

TE

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

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Javorius "Buck" Allen, RB, USC - 6'0", 221 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 though most analysts give Ajayi a higher grade. 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.

RB

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T.J. Yeldon, RB, Alabama (Interviewed) - 6'1-1/4", 226 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. This fairly critical scouting report comes from a Cowboys blogger who seems to do nice work, and was surprised to find himself so unimpressed. This is a full scouting report by the respected scout Dave-Te Thomas.

RB

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Max Valles, OLB, Virginia - 6'5", 251 lbs. with 32-5/8" arms. 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. This scouting profile from Greg Gabriel, a retired NFL scout with 30+ years experience, notes that Valles really hurt his stuck by running less well than expected at his pro day (4.84 and 4.87), though he did look "solid" in all the other drills with Joey Porter being there in the audience. We're calling it a wash and his grade hasn't changed.

OLB

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Jordan Richards, SS, Stanford - 5'10-3/4", 211 lbs. with 32-1/2" arms. 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). FWIW, Richards earned one of my favorite Mayock compliments during the Combine telecast: "[Richards] runs the show wherever he goes. He's that smart." There's a lot to be said for a player who will always be in the right place at the right time, and will help others to get there too.

S

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Derron Smith, S, Fresno State - 5'10", 200 lbs. with short, 29-3/4" arms. 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." This link goes to another nice little scouting report.

S

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Quandre Diggs, CB, Texas (Interviewed) - 5'9-1/8", 196 lbs. with shorter (29-5/8") 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. At the Combine he flashed very quick feet, natural hands, and looked good in the movement drills, but was also repeatedly typecast as a slot corner rather than an outside guy on the boundary. 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. Finally, 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.

CB

HV 3:24

Ladarius Gunter, CB, Miami (Fla.) - 6'1-1/2", 202 lbs. with 31-1/2" arms. 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. OTOH, his measurables at the Combine were a bit lacking too, where he ran a shockingly slow dash (4.69) and looked a bit "off" in the movement drills. 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.

CB

HV 3:24

JaCorey Shepherd, CB, Kansas - 5'11", 199 lbs. with 30-5/8" arms. 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.

CB

HV 3:24

Mitch Morse, G/C, Missouri - 6'5-3/8", 305 lbs. with shorter 32-1/4" arms. A starting Tackle in college, Morse will probably be forced inside due to his physique. If his results at the Combine mean anything he has a good chance of succeeding, too (best in show on the bench, broad jump and 20 yard shuttle). The book on Morse was that he succeeded because of basically sound technique, a good punch, and a good football IQ, all combined with nonstop effort. The word "tenacity" gets used a lot. Note that he's listed here as a pure guard but there is an outside chance he could ‘pull a Beachum' who overcomes his physical limitations well enough to play Tackle, and somewhat better odds that he could learn to back up at Center too. This scouting report is complimentary in everything but the final grade. This is a better scouting report from the well-respected scout Dave-Te Thomas. This goes to a February Q&A article with the local paper.

OL

HV 3:24

Jeremiah Poutasi, G/OT, Utah - 6'5-1/8", 335 lbs. with 33-7/8" arms. Reports emphasize that Poutasi was a player who kept getting better from year to year, and from game to game in his Senior year. His potential has not been reached, and will very likely end with him being a solid NFL Guard for many years if he can put it all together, with backup skills at Tackle for emergencies. Sounds a lot like Ramon Foster but with a chance to be even better. This article by the respected scout Dave-Te Thomas has nice summary reports for several offensive linemen, including Poutasi. This Q&A article is a little silly because of the whacky questions, but Poutasi comes off okay.

OL

HV 3:24

Ty Sambrailo, OT, Colorado State - 6'5-3/4", 311 lbs. with shortish 33" arms. Once touted as a fringe 1st-rounder, Sambrailo was exposed a bit at both the Senior Bowl and the Combine. He's got all the tools... it's just that they don't seem to work together very well all at the same time. Here is the full Walter Football scouting report. This article by the respected scout Dave-Te Thomas has nice summary reports for several offensive linemen, including Sambrailo. This article/interview is okay for getting a small feel about what Sambrailo is like off the field.

OL

HV 3:24

Daryl Williams, OT/G, Oklahoma - 6'5-1/4", 327 lbs. with long 35" 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. This article by the respected scout Dave-Te Thomas has nice summary reports for several offensive linemen, including Daryl Williams.

OL

HV 3:24

Tyler Kroft, TE, Rutgers - 6'6", 246 lbs. with 33" arms. 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. This scouting report dates back to October but is worth reading if you can tolerate the self-congratulatory introduction. Here is a nice little scouting report from January, and there is a November scouting report buried in here as well. Here is a scouting profile from The Sports Quotient.

TE

HV 4:01

Ellis McCarthy, NT, UCLA - 6'5", 338 lbs. with 34-1/8" arms. 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. Would get a higher grade if McCullers hadn't played so well last year.

DL

HV 4:01

Cameron Artis-Payne, RB, Auburn - 5'10", 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.

RB

HV 4:01

Chris Conley, WR, Georgia - 6'1-7/8", 213 lbs. with 33-3/4" arms. Blew up the Combine in every which way, showing off superb athletic skills to pair with a sterling character. We're only including wide receivers who (a) might fall to Day 3, and (b) offer a set of special characteristics that would mesh them in well as the #4. Conley checks "b" all the way, but we can only hope for "a".

WR

HV 4:01

Anthony Chickillo, OLB, Miami (Fla.) - 6'3-1/8", 267 lbs. with 33-1/2" arms. A big, strong kid who seems to be best suited to be a run-stuffing 4-3 DE, but looked okay in the linebacker drills at the Combine. If he can really move to the outside, he'll make a fine mid-draft pick. He dominated at the Shrine Game after looking great all week in the practices too.

OLB

HV 4:01

Lynden Trail, OLB, Norfolk State (transfer from Florida) - 6'6-1/2", 269 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, but may have lost some ground when he posted very pedestrian numbers at the Combine in both the speed drills (40 and 10-yard split) and the explosion tests (bad vertical and horizontal jumps). Here is a nice scouting report and interview from Dane Brugler at CBS, and a similar, equally complimentary scouting report from nfl.com. This typically well-written article from Sports Illustrated goes into much more depth, albeit no more in the way of actual analysis.

OLB

HV 4:01

Tony Washington, OLB, Oregon - 6'3-1/2", 247 lbs. with 33" arms. 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".

OLB

HV 4:01

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.

S

HV 4:01

Kurtis Drummond, SS, Michigan State - 6'0-1/2", 208 lbs. with 32-1/4" arms. 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. This is the full Walter Football scouting report. Note that both Kevin Colbert and Mike Tomlin were on hand for the Michigan State pro day (though probably more to watch Trae Waynes and Jeremy Langford).

S

HV 4:01

Deshazor Everett, FS/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 Everett could be mid-round steal at CB, and even if they don't he looks like a fine mid-round option at Safety. NOTE: Everett was a surprise snub for the Combine, but made up for it at his pro day with a 4.49 dash, 38" vertical leap, 10'10" broad jump, and equally great performances in the various drills. Take that selection committee! Other noteworthy tidbits include good hands; an ability to return punts and kicks; an aggressive personality that seems to enjoy hitting more than tackling; a history of penalties for things like targeting; and (last year) a brief suspension for being in a bar fight. One final note: 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!  Here is a nice article for a bit more background.

S

HV 4:01

Justin Coleman, CB, Tennessee - 5'11", 201 lbs. with 31-1/4" arms. 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. Flashed very quick feet at the Combine too.

CB

HV 4:01

Craig Mager, CB, Texas State - 5'11-1/2", 201 lbs. with shorter (29-3/4") arms. A good, aggressive, run-supporting corner with a reputation for being just a step too slow to really rise up the board. A 4.44 and other good numbers at the Combine (other than arm length) helped his stock a good bit. The NFL.com scouting report is a nice place to start.

CB

HV 4:01

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.

CB

HV 4:01

Damian Swann, CB, Georgia - 6'0", 189 lbs. with 31" arms. 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 suggests that his style of play might be better suited to more of a man-system than the Steelers' traditional reliance on zone and off-man coverage, but that's a pretty narrow distinction to begin with and Swann was able to impress Mike Mayock with his physicality at the Shrine Game practices. This excellent scouting report from a Seahawks site is a must-read for a balanced point of view, including the likelihood that many of Swann's woes can be traced to coaching issues and turnover.

CB

HV 4:01

Jarvis Harrison, G, Texas A&M - 6'4-1/8", 330 lbs. with 33-1/2" arms 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. This article by the respected scout Dave-Te Thomas has nice summary reports for several offensive linemen, including Harrison.

OL

HV 4:01

Ali Marpet, G/C, Hobart - 6'3-3/4", 307 lbs. with 33-3/8" arms. Well, well, well! Perennial D-III lacrosse powerhouse Hobart has produced a football player, and potentially a really good one. Reports and results show top notch quickness and mobility, and it should be noted that he was also 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. Mike Mayock opined that Marpet "Has the ability to be a starting Center in this league," but there's little doubt he could play Guard as well. Here is a brief scouting profile from retired NFL scout Greg Gabriel, and a fuller scouting report from the well respected scout Dave-Te Thomas. This goes to a long and excellent article published by Bleacher Report, and this to a Q&A article from U.S. News & World Report. This goes to a brief but fact-oriented scouting report from a Denver source.

DISCLAIMER: I attended Hobart [mumblety-mumble] years ago and therefore have a personal bias about of anyone who can share stories with me about life in Medbery Hall or road tripping to the Rongo, and who'd like to hear stories about some of his professors from back when they had all their hair. I've done my best to keep that bias out of this summary.

OL

HV 4:01

Tyrus Thompson, OT/G, Oklahoma - 6'4-7/8", 324 lbs. with 34-7/8" arms. 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. This is a full scouting report by the respected scout Dave-Te Thomas, while this goes to Thomas' article containing summary reports for both Thompson and several other offensive linemen.

OL

HV 4:01

Ben Koyack, TE, Notre Dame (Interviewed) - 6'5", 255 lbs. with 32-5/8" arms. 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. NOTE: Koyack is a local product from Oil City, PA (home of the famous beer well).

Here is one nice scouting report, and here is a more gushing scouting report from a Broncos POV. This is a scouting profile from The Sports Quotient. This is a nice article from a local Indiana paper.

TE

HV 4:16

Tyeler Davidson, NT, Fresno State - 6'2", 316 lbs. with 34" arms. 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, especially with those long arms. We'll know more as the process plays out.

DL

HV 4:16

Grady Jarrett, DE, Clemson (Interviewed) - 6'1", 304 lbs. with 32-3/8" arms. 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. On the plus side, the Steelers must see something in his prospects because he booked one the team's precious interview slots at the Combine.

DL

HV 4:16

Malcolm Brown, RB, Texas - 5'11", 224 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. For the "Malcolm Brown is a sleeper" argument see this article, which makes some good points: lowest fumble rate of any RB, O-line that collectively had 13 starts among them for the entire year, excellent Combine, etc.

RB

HV 4:16

Josh Robinson, RB, Mississippi State - 5'8", 217 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. This is a great article originally found by poster Fear94.

RB

HV 4:16

Justin Hardy, WR, Eastern Carolina - 5'10-1/4", 192 lbs., with 32-1/8" arms and big 10" hands. Hardy is, to put it simply, a good all around receiver who will be sure to do his job. He doesn't have great bulk, height, speed, or quicks, but rather posses a nice combination of all those assets, combined with good hands, good route running, and good blocking. Sometimes projected as high as the 2nd Round, Hardy is likely to be one of those guys who slides well into the bargain range because this class offers enough prospects with something "special" to cause someone who looks like a pro's pro to fall into the Steelers' grasp.

WR

HV 4:16

Tre McBride, WR, William & Mary (Interviewed) - 6'0-1/4", 210 lbs. with long 32-1/8" arms. A really solid prospect from Mike Tomlin's alma mater who would be a serious value pick from the 5th round on. Good height and really nice hands, combined with a top notch week at the East West Shrine Game and very good (4.41) long speed, combine to make this small school prospect worth a serious look. Here is the scouting report from nfl.com, another scouting report from our sister site for the Jets, and a fairly good scouting report from a Seahawks point of view. This article/scouting report could have been written by McBride's agent, but also has good information. This scouting profile from Greg Gabriel, a retired NFL scout with 30+ years experience, makes particular note of McBride's hands and return ability in support of a conclusion that he ought to go in the Round 3-4 range (adjusting for the speed showed at the Combine after this article was written).

WR

HV 4:16

Davis Tull, OLB, Tennessee-Chattanooga - 6'2", 246 lbs. with 31-1/4" arms. Showed extraordinary explosiveness at the Combine with a 42‑1/2" vertical jump and an 11'0" broad jump, both of which were best-in-show for the linebackers and done with a twinged hamstring that kept him from running or doing the drills. That put him on the Board, but those short arms may keep him limited in the pros to being on the inside. Reports say he looked good in his positional drills at the pro day too.

OLB

HV 4:16

Adrian Amos, FS, Penn State - 6'0-1/2", 218 lbs. with 32-1/4" 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. Mayock called him "a sneaky good player." NOTE: Todd Haley and Mike Munchak were at the Penn State pro day.

S

HV 4:16

Durrell Eskridge, S, Syracuse - 6'3", 208 lbs. with 32-3/8" arms. 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.

S

HV 4:16

Josh Shaw, S/CB, USC - 6'0-1/2", 201 lbs. with 30-3/4" arms. Disclaimer: There's something about Josh Shaw that reminds me way too much of Taylor Mays: a phenomenal straight line athlete who "disappointed" by turning into a solid, multi-year journeyman. That comparison is probably a better explanation for this grade than any of what follows, though I flatter myself that they aren't really inconsistent. The first thing to know as you dig deeper is that Josh Shaw 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.

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. Ran a nice 4.44 at the Combine. 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. This is a very complimentary article from Bleacher Report, with lots of decent argument in Shaw's favor.

S

HV 4:16

Bobby McCain, CB, Memphis - 5'9-1/2", 195 lbs. with 30-1/2" arms. 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.

CB

HV 4:16

Rob Havenstein, OT, Wisconsin - 6'7-3/8", 321 lbs. with 33-3/4" arms. Havenstein's a perfect demonstration of how different eyes can see different things even when they all belong to reliable experts. The common thread is that he possesses excellent strength and extraordinary length, but doesn't move as well as you'd like (though he did look okay at the Combine) and can have height-related 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.

OL

HV 4:16

Josue Matias, G/C, Florida State - 6'5", 309 lbs. with 33-1/8" arms. 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? This article by the respected scout Dave-Te Thomas has nice summary reports for several offensive linemen, including Matias.

OL

HV 4:16

Nick O'Leary, TE, Florida State (Interviewed) - 6'3", 252 lbs. with T-Rex arms (29-3/4"). A good 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!" This November scouting report from Football Outsiders provides a fairly rosy viewpoint. This goes to the full Walter Football scouting report published in March.

TE

HV 4:16

MyCole Pruitt, TE, Southern Illinois - 6'2-1/4", 251 lbs. with 33-1/2" arms and 10-1/4" hands. Pruitt blew up the Combine with best-of-position results in the 40, both jumps, and both shuttles, which shot him up to #3 on Mike Mayock's Tight End board and earned him some careful scrutiny by the Bengals and other teams. As discussed by this scouting profile, the issue is that Pruitt pretty much disdains any sort of blocking. That drops his grade significantly from the Steelers point of view. This scouting report is similar, if a bit more complimentary.

TE

HV 4:16

Wes Saxton, TE, South Alabama - 6'3", 248 lbs. with 32" arms. 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.

TE

HV 4:22

STEELERS PICK AT #22 OF THE FOURTH ROUND (#121 OVERALL)

HV 5:01

Christian Covington, DE, Rice - 6'2", 289 lbs. with 33-1/4" arms. 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. Here is a brief scouting profile.

DL

HV 5:01

Joey Mbu, NT/DE, Houston - 6'3", 313 lbs. with ape-like 35" 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. This is a good gif-supported scouting report from our sister site for the Patriots. This is a fun article on Mbu's atrocious performance at the Combine. This goes to a one-paragraph scouting profile. This is a brief Q&A article from a Packers site (annoyingly, in three parts).

DL

HV 5:01

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.

DL

HV 5:01

Gabe Wright, DE, Auburn - 6'3", 300 lbs. with 32-5/8" arms. 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. This is a decent scouting report to give you an overall flavor of his prospects.

DL

HV 5:01

John Crockett, RB, North Dakota St. - 6'0", 217 lbs. A solid runner who gets faint praise because he's good at many things but excels at none. Big, but that that big; explosive but not overly powerful; shifty and elusive, but not in a way that pops your eyeballs; willing to block but not great at it; etc.

RB

HV 5:01

Braylon Heard, RB, Kentucky - 5'10", 198 lbs. Repeat after me: "S-C-A-T-B-A-C-K". What does that spell? Braylon Heard. Might be appealing as a change of pace back, and maybe even a punt returner.

RB

HV 5:01

Matt Jones, RB, Florida - 6'2", 231 lbs. A one-cut-and-downhill runner who also has enough size to run between the tackles. Injury problems (clearing medical checks on his knees will be an important step) and a poor offensive line have limited his productivity in college, and may or may not be responsible for the questions about his field vision. This article on his decision to go pro will provide a little background. This goes to a full scouting report from the well-respected Dave-Te Thomas. Here is a nice little scouting report.

RB

HV 5:01

Tony Lippett, WR/CB, Michigan State - 6'2-1/2", 192 lbs. with long (32-3/4") arms. A two-way player at Michigan State who intrigues everyone that's looking for the next Richard Sherman. He'd be an intriguing pick for the Steelers in particular because Pittsburgh is one of the few teams that might actually use him in a two-way capacity, though we would probably hope that he'd change his mind and put Corner as the higher priority. The biggest knock is so-so long speed (4.61), but he did top the ratings in the 60-yard shuttle. Also known as a fine young man and a hard worker who was the team MVP. Note that both Kevin Colbert and Mike Tomlin were on hand for the Michigan State pro day (though probably more to watch Trae Waynes and Jeremy Langford).

WR

HV 5:01

Kenny Bell, WR, Nebraska - 6'1-1/8", 197 lbs., with 31-5/8" arms. Bell is a tall, lanky, stretch-the-field receiver with good speed (4.42) and excellent leaping ability (41.5" vertical). He was definitely a Combine warrior (how he got noticed), but that's not all there is to his game by any means. The NFL.com scouting report compares him to Nate Washington, which seems fair, noting that at this point he's more straight-linish than you'd like, but the issues are fixable with good coaching and he has genuine potential to be a solid #2 receiver somewhere in the league. Since the Steelers are looking for a #4, that's tremendous value if he falls this far. There is a summary scouting profile in this article on mid-round bargains.

WR

HV 5:01

Rannell Hall, WR, UCF - 6'0-3/8", 198 lbs. with 30-1/2" arms. 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. It would be nice to see if those catching skills show up on other game tapes too. Hall has very small hands (8-5/8" across), which is usually a red flag for catching skills. The Combine numbers were mixed, with moderate straight line speed (4.60) but much better numbers in both the explosiveness tests (41" vertical and 11' broad jump) and the cone drills.

WR

HV 5:01

Darren Waller, WR, Georgia Tech - 6'6-1/8", 238 lbs. with 33-1/4" arms. Decent 4.46 long speed too. If you're in the market for height/weight/speed/strength characteristics, Waller's your guy. Check out this scouting profile first found by poster Fear94. The NFL.com scouting report is very positive too. The big question is his hands, which are amazingly small for a man his size (9" across) and which failed him more times at the Combine than any other receiver. A #4 receiver won't get many opportunities, so he'd better be able to make the most of them. OTOH, his size and blocking skills let you project him as a "move" TE as well... though even those guys get benched real fast if they fail to catch the ball. This grade assumes that the drops at the Combine were an aberration and not part of a more serious pattern. This article covering his pro day earned him an upgrade because of the statement that he showed really good hands.

WR

HV 5:01

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. NOTE: Todd Haley and Mike Munchak were at the Penn State pro day.

OLB

HV 5:01

Corey Crawford, OLB, Clemson - 6'5-1/4", 283 lbs. with long 34-1/2" arms. 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. But a 283-pound outside linebacker? Really? The other downside is that Crawford plays more of a power game and 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.

OLB

HV 5:01

Xzavier Dickson, OLB, Montana - 6'3-1/2", 260 lbs. with 33-1/2" arms. He's probably higher on the Ravens' board than ours, since Ozzie loves players from his alma mater.

OLB

HV 5:01

Kyle Emmanuel, OLB, North Dakota St. - 6'3", 255 lbs. with shorter, 31" arms that may limit him to playing on the inside as a pro. 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.

OLB

HV 5:01

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.

OLB

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)."

OLB

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.

OLB

HV 5:01

Zach Wagenmann, OLB, Montana - 6'3", 247 lbs. with 33-1/2" arms. 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.

OLB

HV 5:01

Anthony "A.J." Jefferson, SS, UCLA - 6'0-7/8", 198 lbs. with 31-1/2" arms. 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, though he ran a disappointing 4.72 at the Combine.

S

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.

CB

HV 5:01

Nick Marshall, CB/S/QB, Auburn - 6'1-1/2", 207 lbs. with long (32-1/2") arms. 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. Ran well enough but not great at the Combine (4.54 in the 40).

CB

HV 5:01

Julian Wilson, CB/S, Oklahoma - 6'2", 205 lbs. with long (32-3/8") arms. A solid height/weight/speed candidate for Day 3, with a reputation for being exceptionally smart as well.

CB

HV 5:01

Andrew Donnal, OT/G, Iowa - 6'5-7/8", 313 lbs. with 33-1/2" arms. A technically sound player with good feet, but also enough flaws (primarily some issues with strength and anchoring) to knock him down the Board a bit. OTOH, he also has enough upside for Mike Mayock to opine that he "could be a starting right tackle." He played some Guard in college too, but you'd think that questions about his basic strength would be even more of a concern at that position. This link goes to a video "prospect primer" from Packers.com.

OL

HV 5:01

Jamil Douglas, G, Arizona State - 6'4", 304 lbs. with 33-3/8" arms and big 10-3/4" hands. A mobile and technically advanced Guard who needs to add some strength. Has played Tackle too, but speed rushers apparently gave him enough trouble that it's not a viable option in the pro game. Per Mike Mayock: "He has starting Left Guard traits in the NFL." This article by the respected scout Dave-Te Thomas has nice summary reports for several offensive linemen, including Jamil Douglas.

OL

HV 5:01

Mark Glowinsky, G/OT, West Virginia - 6'4-3/8", 307 lbs. with 33-1/8" arms. 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. Had a great Combine and is shaping up to be one of those SPARQ-score stars that teams will be prioritizing in the later rounds.

OL

HV 5:01

Sean Hickey, OT, Syracuse (Interviewed) - 6'5", 309 lbs. with 32-3/4" arms. A local boy who's developed into a solid technician with good feet, and 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 that's not enough to make you like Sean Hickey, here are two more pluses. Tunch Ilkin was working with him in preparation for the upcoming draft, and he comes from a family that includes three generations of Steeler season-ticket holders. The bottom line is this: if the FO believes it's time to grab a mid- to late-round developmental tackle, Hickey may well be the guy. He'd be a perfect fit and a bargain at that price. This article by the respected scout Dave-Te Thomas has nice summary reports for several offensive linemen, including Hickey.

OL

HV 5:01

John Miller, G, Louisville - 6'2-1/2", 303 lbs. with 33-1/4" arms. 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..." So it's probably fair to compromise and call him a solid, if Day 3, Guard prospect. He stood out at the Combine, but the big question is still whether he has the pure athleticism to serve as an upgrade compared to Ramon Foster. This article by the respected scout Dave-Te Thomas has nice summary reports for several offensive linemen, including John Miller.

OL

HV 5:01

Robert Myers, G, Tennessee State - 6'4-3/4", 326 lbs. with 33-3/4" arms. A technically proficient and reasonably athletic player who flashes really good power here and there, but who is so inconsistent that it will take good coaching at least a year of very hard work to fix it. 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. This is a full scouting report by the respected scout Dave-Te Thomas, while this is Thomas' article containing summary reports for several offensive linemen (including Myers).

OL

HV 5:01

Blake Bell, TE, Oklahoma (Interviewed) - 6'6", 252 lbs. with 33-1/8" arms. Following in the footsteps of both a father and an uncle who in the NFL, Blake Bell was an almost-good-enough running back at Oklahoma who asked his coaches to move him to tight end for his senior year. The results were mixed. He has ideal size and showed both understanding of and a willingness to attempt every facet of the job. And he showed a moderate amount of talent for all of them. It's just that he's really raw - as in "only played the position for one year" raw - which requires a lot of projection. Note that the Steelers interviewed both Blake Bell and A.J. Derby of Arkansas at the Combine, which is interesting because they present almost identical backgrounds. This is a full scouting report by the respected scout Dave-Te Thomas.

TE

HV 5:01

E.J. Bibbs, TE, Iowa State - 6'2", 258 lbs. with 31-1/2" arms. 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. This is a full scouting report by the respected scout Dave-Te Thomas.

TE

HV 5:01

Nick Boyle, TE, Delaware - 6'4-1/2", 268 lbs. with 33-3/8" arms. Another well-rounded but not-special-in-any-way prospect who might make a nice addition to the team. Here is a brief scouting profile from retired NFL scout Greg Gabriel.

TE

HV 5:01

Brandon Bridge, QB, South Alabama - 6'4", 229 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, somewhat erratic mechanics, good accuracy (when the mechanics are on), 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.

QB

HV 5:01

Bryce Petty, QB, Baylor - 6'2-7/8", 230 lbs. Showed off tremendous arm talent at the Combine, and has been a winner throughout his college career.

QB

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. Here is an article on Castleman's pro day from a local paper.

DL

HV 5:16

Dominique Brown, RB, Louisville - 6'2", 234 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, and a general unwillingness to smash things in despite his size. 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.

RB

HV 5:16

Stephon Diggs, WR, Maryland - 6'0", 195 lbs. with longer (31-1/4") arms and big 10" hands. On tape Diggs flashed tremendous, home run speed that didn't show up at the Combine, where he ran a 4.46 - good, but not great. One has to wonder if his pro day will show something a tenth of a second faster. Even if that happens, however, Diggs is likely to fall into Day 3 because things like some very raw route running, the depth of this year's receiver class, and durability concerns that include a broken shin bone (fibula) that will limit his rookie year. Here is a quick scouting report.

WR

HV 5:16

Antwan Goodley, WR, Baylor - 5'11-1/2", 209 lbs. with 30-3/4" arms and good (4.44) speed. A solid, well-rounded receiver who could fall down in Day 3 because the class is so deep, he needs to work on his craft, and he's more of a jack of all trades than a master at any. He projects to be a good #2 or #3 receiver; which makes him great value as a #4. One particularly nice feature is that Goodley is built more like a running back than a wide receiver, which makes him a good blocker and relatively fearless going over the middle.

WR

HV 5:16

Clayton Geathers, SS, UCF - 6'1-1/2", 218 lbs. with 31-5/8" arms. Reports describe him as a kid who loves to hit, but often fails to make the actual tackle because wrapping up is much less fun. Has some genuine upside but it will take at least a year or two of good coaching to see if there's a way to bring it out. This goes to a short but adequate scouting profile.

S

HV 5:16

Chris Hackett, FS, TCU - 6'0", 195 lbs. with 31-1/2" arms. Reports describe him as a willing but not great hitter with excellent range and solid coverage ability; i.e., a classic Free Safety centerfielder. Had a truly awful Combine, where he looked both slow in the dash (4.81) and "tall and tight" in the movement drills. That dropped his grade by a full two rounds on this Board. Let's hope he can fix all that at his pro day.

S

HV 5:16

James Sample, SS, Louisville - 6'2-1/8", 209 lbs. with 32" arms. Called a ‘sleeper' by Mike Mayock at the Combine, this article will give you some nice background. The actual scouting reports seem to agree that he's an in-the-box thumper with decent but not great speed (4.56), and who's suffered from a lack of playing time due to the transfer from Washington. Has some real potential that might be revealed with proper coaching... or not.

S

HV 5:16

Cam Thomas, S/CB, Western Kentucky - 6'1", 190 lbs. Get past the name Steeler Fan, and look at the player! Thomas has got the height you look for, 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. He was snubbed from the Combine so we'll have to look forward to his pro day for more data.

S

HV 5:16

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.

CB

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."

CB

HV 5:16

Troy Hill, CB, Oregon - 5'10-1/2", 182 lbs. with short (29-1/2") arms. Hill played well in college despite being a constant target because he was across the field from Ifo Ekpre-Olomu. Other than his generally small stature and measurements, the issues all involve off-field stuff. He was suspended from the 2013 Bowl game for the ever-popular ‘violation of team rules,' and was charged in a domestic violence case that got plead down on condition that he take anger management classes (which he did, and completed).

CB

HV 5:16

B.J. Finney, G/C, Kansas State - 6'3-3/4", 318 lbs. with short 32" arms. 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. This is a full scouting report from the well-respected scout Dave-Te Thomas, while this goes to Thomas' article containing nice summary reports for both Finney and several other offensive linemen.

OL

HV 5:16

A.J. Derby, TE, Arkansas (Interviewed) - 6'4", 255 lbs. with short 30-1/2" arms and smallish 9-1/2" hands. Following in the footsteps of both a father and an uncle who in the NFL, A.J. Derby played both quarterback and linebacker at Arkansas before moving to tight end as a Senior. He flashed good speed and hands, with a willingness to block but a bit less success at it. The real issue, however, is that he's as raw as you can be with only one year of experience at the position, which requires a major amount of projection for the pros. Note that the Steelers interviewed both A.J. Derby and Blake Bell of Oklahoma at the Combine, which is interesting because they present almost identical backgrounds.

TE

HV 5:16

Sean Mannion, QB, Oregon State - 6'6", 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 (footwork and lower body mechanics - learnable things - are lacking), 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. This pocket scouting report for the pocket passer actually suggests the Steelers as an appropriate landing spot. This scouting report comes from a retired NFL scout.

QB

HV 5:24

STEELERS PICK AT #24 OF THE FIFTH ROUND (#160 OVERALL)

HV 6:00

Zach Zenner, RB, S. Dakota St. - 5'11", 223 lbs. The kid who celebrated on upside-down alphabet day is a pure one-cut, downhill runner with good size and decent speed, but only one good move per play. In this year's class he'd be a consolation prize, but maybe one that's good enough to take over the backup job. This scouting profile from Greg Gabriel, a retired NFL scout with 30+ years experience, notes that Zenner also has a good ability to set up blocks and nice hands out of the backfield. Sounds like a fine pick to learn behind DeAngelo Williams for a year or two.

RB

HV 6:01

Derrick Lott, DE/NT, Tennessee-Chattanooga - 6'4", 314 lbs. with 33-5/8" arms. Recruited to Georgia, Lott transferred to a smaller school in search of more playing time. A series of injuries sidelined him, but when he got on the field he was able to dominate the lower level of competition. He certainly looks the part of a utility, across-the-line backup but comes with a enough injury red flags and age concerns (he'll be 25 as a rookie) to keep him well down into Day 3.

DL

HV 6:01

Cedric Reed, DE, Texas - 6'5", 269 lbs. with 33-3/8" arms. He'd need to grow into the position a bit, but he has the long arms to play 5-technique. Coming into the Combine a little lighter and showing an ability to move in space might even make him a candidate for OLB. Who knows? At this point he's a late day flier for the Steelers. Reed had a great 2013, but disappointed in 2014 - though post-season news indicates that might be due to a nagging injury.

DL

HV 6:01

Leterrius "L.T." Walton, DE, Central Michigan - 6'5", 319 lbs. with 32-1/4" arms. 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.

DL

HV 6:01

Titus Davis, WR, Central Michigan - 6'0-3/4", 196 lbs., with small arms (29-5/8") and hands (8-1/4"). An excellent route runner from Antonio Brown's alma mater, who holds many more school records than the aforementioned Mr. Brown, has better height than the aforementioned Mr. Brown, and is known to have pretty good hands. Which doesn't remotely mean that he's going to be anything close to the aforementioned Mr. Brown as a pro, especially with very moderate results in the agility and explosiveness drills. Route running and results are enough to make you a fine prospect for the #3 wideout position, however, and a potential steal for the #4. Here is nice little scouting report #1, and here is scouting report #2.

WR

HV 6:01

Devin Gardner, WR, Michigan - 6'4", 217 lbs. 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 more importantly is known as a terrific (and tall) athlete who seems to have good hands and definitely has a good football IQ. He caught the eye of both Daniel Jeremiah and Charles Davis at the Shrine Game practices and performed well in the actual game. Devin Gardner was one of the more notable Combine snubs, so we'll have to wait for his pro day to get hard data, but he certainly projects to be an ideal late-round flier for a #4 receiver with decided upside.

WR

HV 6:01

Dezmin Lewis, WR, Central Arkansas - 6'3-3/4", 214 lbs. with 32-1/2" arms. Flashed at the Senior Bowl and then followed it up with a nice performance at the Combine. Lewis is a very successful small-school receiver who would be getting a lot more buzz if the overall talent in this class was less deep. He has everything you want from the height/weight/speed perspective, and according to Daniel Jeremiah has what it takes to run good routes as well. I will be quite surprised if his stock fails to rise as the process moves forward.

WR

HV 6:01

DeAndre Smelter, WR, Georgia Tech - 6'2", 226 lbs. with 32-5/8" arms and huge 11" hands. Smelter is a player who'd be ranked at least two rounds higher if it wasn't for injury concerns. He started college as a fantastic pitching prospect with a clear MLB future in front of him, but lost that career when he blew out his shoulder beyond repair. He'd also played basketball, but the shoulder did that in too. So then he turned to football where his overall athleticism (great body control, acceleration and hands), toughness (he's a great blocker for a WR), and work ethic (carried over from the other sports) made him a rising star... until he blew an ACL toward the end of 2014. The poor kid is either snake-bit or has fragile connective parts inside that perfect-looking frame. If the doctors agree it's the first rather than the second, DeAndre Smelter would be a fine Day 3 pick for a team like the Steelers that has enough talent already to let him spend a redshirt year on injured reserve. Heck, it might even be an advantage since he's raw enough to need a redshirt year anyway. Here is a recent article from USA Today on Smelter's pro day, and an older article on the move from baseball to football. This has a brief scouting profile from a retired NFL scout.

WR

HV 6:01

Chandler "Cam" Worthy, WR, Eastern Carolina - 6'2", 211 lbs. with long 33-1/2" arms and 10-1/8" hands. Sleeper alarm! Worthy flashed onto the national scene in one game during his Senior year when he ran all over, around, past and through the Virginia Tech defense. But he didn't flash like that again and his tape had some scouts questioning his long speed and quickness, even though everyone acknowledged his ability to leap and high point the ball, along with decent hands. A fractured foot kept him from running at the Combine. Fast forward to his early March pro day where he put up a 4.34 dash and other head-turning times in the agility drills. According to this article, he's also had a 43" vertical. So much for lack of speed and quickness... and look at the arms and hands on the kid! There's some kind of underlying story here that we don't have. On the numbers alone, however, Cam Worthy looks like a potential late round steal.

WR

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 pro day could matter for Sam Carter because he seems to come with enough concerns about his foot speed to counterbalance his supposedly excellent instincts (he wasn't at the Combine).

S

HV 6:01

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

CB

HV 6:01

Jamon Brown, OT/G, Louisville - 6'4", 323 lbs., with long 34-3/8" arms. 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. This article by the respected scout Dave-Te Thomas has nice summary reports for several offensive linemen, including Jamon Brown.

OL

HV 6:01

Max Garcia, C/G, Florida - 6'4", 309 lbs. with 33-1/8" arms. On the Board after showing an ability to handle the monstrous Danny Shelton one-on-one at the Senior Bowl. As summarized by Big_Jay_71 in one of his mocks, "Max Garcia is the jack-of-a-trades type of offensive linemen with 37 career starts (17 LT, 13 OC, 7 LG)." Garcia would make a really nice Day 3 option, and might be ranked even higher if not for a history of nagging injuries that hampered his play even if they didn't keep him off the field.

OL

HV 6.01

Greg Mancz, G/C, Toledo - 6'4", 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. This article by the respected scout Dave-Te Thomas has nice summary reports for several offensive linemen, including Mancz.

OL

HV 6:01

Cameron Clear, TE, Texas A&M (Private Workout) - 6'5", 277 lbs. with 33-5/8" arms but weirdly small 9-5/8" hands. A pure blocking tight end who went on the Board after it was announced he's scheduled a private workout with the Steelers. He looks the part, that's for sure. Had a good Combine with top numbers in the two shuttles, and ran a decent 4.81 at his pro day. The NFL.com scouting report lists character concerns as another red flag, but that's one where the team is in a much better position to know that we are. Reading between the lines, one senses maturity and motivation issues as much as anything else. Would have a UDFA grade but for the workout.

TE

HV 6:01

Jean Sifrin, TE, U. Mass. - 6'5", 245 lbs. with 33-3/8" arms. A name first thrown into the ring by BTSC member bradshaw2ben. As you can see in 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 because he took 5 years off from college to raise his son. It's an admirable story but the age certainly does limit his upside by a good bit. Here is another article from when Sifrin was announced as a semi-finalist for the Mackey (best college tight end) award. If you watched the Combine telecast, Sifrin was one of the kids Mike Mayock was really pulling for but who underperformed, and then seemed to get so nervous that he started dropping things.

TE

HV 6:16

Da'Ron Brown, WR, Northern Illinois - 6'0-1/8", 208 lbs. with 32" arms. Known as an outstanding possession receiver (10-1/4" hands!) who has trouble getting separation. He looks like a good Day 3 prospect because the measurables don't support that criticism. With 4.54 straight-ahead speed, very good size and strength, and not-good-but-satisfactory scores on the agility drills, he should have separation ability too. One has to wonder if the issue isn't pure technique... which is exactly the kind of solid-but-potentially-good talent you want in a late round pick.

WR

HV 6:16

Josh Harper, WR, Fresno State - 6'0-7/8", 191 lbs. with 30-7/8" arms. According to the game tape Harper is fast enough to get by but makes his living off being exceptionally quick and having reliable hands (albeit small ones at 8-3/4"). Unfortunately for Josh Harper, not one of those assets showed up in the Combine tests, which were actually a bit ugly if you come right down to it. He's one of those guys who sent squadrons of scouts racing back to the game tape to confirm their original grades; just for the wrong reason. Hopefully he can fix the testing issue at his pro day. There was a good chance he'd fall into Day 3 even if the measurables had come through because he's a skinny kid who lacks in the strength department and is a bit raw with his routes. Now it's a question of how far. Here is a nice little scouting report uses Golden Tate as a comparable talent, which sounds fair.

WR

HV 6:16

Obum Gwachum, OLB, Oregon State - 6'5-3/8", 246 lbs. with long 34-3/8" arms. A late round flier with a really interesting background. He is a track and field champion in the high jump (7 feet!), long jump, and triple jump who played receiver for most of his college career. He only transitioned to the defensive side for a single season, but also earns points for having a sterling character as both human being and football player. The NFL.com profile sums things up perfectly: "Gwacham lacks the functional strength to play the run and he's still in the infant stages of learning how to rush the passer. His desire and character combined with his superb physical traits could make him a late-round project [for] teams with patience." For the Steelers I would peg him as a 7th-round flier or (more likely) a top-priority UDFA who could join the likes of Howard Jones and Roosevelt Nix as cosmic-level boom or bust projects on the practice squad. Any one of those guys could mature into something truly special.

OLB

HV 6:16

Zach Hodges, OLB, Harvard - 6'2-1/2", 250 lbs. with really long arms (34-1/4"). 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 you have to believe professional strength and technique training would yield more benefits to Hodges than to prospects who come from premier programs. Not a bad prospect at all for a Day 3 flier.

OLB

HV 6:16

Jeff Luc, OLB/ILB, Cincinnati - 6'1, 256 lbs. A physical, downhill ILB that Big_Jay_71 believes could make the transition to the outside. This article discusses his choice to transfer from Florida State to Cincinnati and makes fun reading. The only real draft new was a good day at the Senior Bowl practices.

OLB

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.

CB

HV 6:16

Rob Crisp, OT, North Carolina St. - 6'6-5/8", 301 lbs. with 34-1/2" arms. Athletic enough and possessing quick feet, but lacking when it comes to power and showed some tightness at the Combine. Give him a year of training, however, and there might well be something there to be discovered. He's a Day 3 pick for the Steelers, but might prove to be a good one.

OL

HV 6:16

Terry Poole, OT/G, San Diego State - 6'4-3/4", 307 lbs. with 33-1/4" arms. 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. This full scouting report comes from the well-respected scout Dave-Te Thomas.

OL

HV 6:23

STEELERS PICK AT #23 OF THE SIXTH ROUND (#198 OVERALL)

HV 7:00

Ross Scheurman, RB, Lafayette - 5'11-7/8", 204 lbs. A late Day 3 pick from a tiny school who flashes exceptional hands as a receiver. The big flaws are a serious need to add some oomph to his too-thin frame, and a failure to dominate the lower level of competition as completely as you might have preferred. Flashed great quickness at the Combine shuttle runs, which is what got him on the Board.

RB

HV 7:01

Darius Kilgo, NT, Maryland - 6'2", 310 lbs. An entry suggested by poster Pittsblitz56. The word is that he looks the part and has a lot of physical tools to call on, but plays way too upright and would need a redshirt year for Coach Mitchell to tear his technique apart and rebuild it from the bottom up. If Big Dan McCullers hadn't played so well in 2014 Kilgo's stock might be higher. Unfortunately, a pure Nose Tackle holds less appeal right now than his more versatile competitors.

DL

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.

DL

HV 7:01

Austin Hill, WR, Arizona - 6'3", 212 lbs. A very promising young receiver in 2012 who suffered a nasty ACL tear that cost him all of 2013. His 2014 was clearly sub-par with many commenters saying things like "hasn't recovered his form," "less than elite speed," and "slower than he should be going into and out of breaks;" all of which could be tied back to the knee. We think he's a good long-shot for a late round pick because ACL's often take two years to heal all the way (physically and psychologically). Based on his early promise Hill would be a huge bargain if that's the case. Keep an eye out for his pro day. Good results would be an especially promising sign in this particular case.

WR

HV 7:01

Vince Mayle, WR, Washington State - 6'2", 224 lbs. with 31-3/4" arms. A former basketball player with all the athleticism he needs to become a good wide receiver, but few of the skills. The biggest concern is an excessive number of drops, but his technique is so raw that this may prove to be just another issue that a good coach can solve (though his small 9" hands suggest a less generous answer). The quality of those raw materials are enough to make him a legitimate target late on Day 3 for a team like the Steelers that has no real needs at the position. Note that Mayle was another kid who basically flunked the Combine's measurables tests. A good pro day will be needed to get him drafted at all.

WR

HV 7:01

Ryan Mueller, OLB, Kansas State - 6'2", 245 lbs. A late round flier suggested by Fear94 based on this really interesting article.

OLB

HV 7:01

Cedric Thompson, FS, Minnesota - 5'11", 205 lbs. Went under the radar until the Minnesota pro day, where he put on a show. People went to see RB David Cobb and TE Maxx Williams, and instead found themselves admiring Thompson's 4.40 dash and 40-1/2" vertical. It may not be enough to get him drafted, but those results will get him targeted by a lot of teams looking for SPARQ-score stars in the UDFA market.

S

HV 7:01

Trenton Brown, OT, Florida - 6'8-1/2", 355 lbs., with absurd 36" arms. Described as a kid with an immense ceiling (look at the size and length!) but also a very deep floor. Primarily a power player, which makes him less desirable for a team like the Steelers that likes more athletic linemen. This article by the respected scout Dave-Te Thomas has nice summary reports for several offensive linemen, including Trenton Brown.

OL

HV 7:01

Laurence Gibson, OT, Virginia Tech - 6'5-3/4", 305 lbs., with long 35-1/8" arms and huge 10-3/8" hands. On the Board do to a superb workout at the Combine in which he recorded top dash, vertical jump, broad jump, and 20-yard shuttle scores. In other words, the kid clearly has athletic upside coming out the wazoo. On film, however, the story is different. There he showed a serious lack of strength and a number of bad technical habits. Combine that and you have an ideal late round flier or priority UDFA.

OL

HV 7:01

Adam Snead, G, Oklahoma - 6'3-5/8", 338 lbs. with 33-3/4" arms. 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. This article by the respected scout Dave-Te Thomas has nice summary reports for several offensive linemen, including Snead.

OL

HV 7:22

STEELERS PICK AT #22 OF THE SEVENTH ROUND (#239 OVERALL)

HV 7:35

STEELERS 7TH ROUND COMPENSATORY PICK (#252 OVERALL)

Developmental Players On The Roster

Why draft what you already have? Here are the lesser-known players that are waiting to compete with this year's incoming draft class.

Info

Pos.

Matt Conrath, DE, Futures Contract - 6'7", 306 lbs. A potential 5-technique.

DE

Ethan Hemer, DE, Reserve Contract - 6'6", 282 lbs. A potential 5-technique.

DE

Joe Kruger, DE, Futures Contract - 6'6", 287 lbs. A potential 5-technique.

DE

Howard Jones, OLB, Futures Contract - 6'4", 238 lbs. The Division II uber-athlete UDFA from 2014

OLB

Shawn Lemon, OLB, Futures Contract - 6'2", 250 lbs. The "developed" CFL pass rusher signed in January.

OLB

Roosevelt Nix, OLB, Futures Contract - 5'11", 260 lbs. Baby Deebo. Short, big & immensely strong. But can he move in space and around edges?

OLB

Jordan Dangerfield, S, Reserve Contract - 5'11", 200 lbs. A fan-favorite UDFA who made a splash last year but couldn't make the team.

S

Alden Darby, S, Futures Contract - 5'10", 192 lbs. Another special teams demon trying to be a safety. Fantastic locker room guy too.

S

Isaiah Lewis, S, Futures Contract - 5'10", 211 lbs. A thumping, in the box strong safety candidate. Will probably excel on special teams coverage duties.

S

Kevin Fogg, CB, Futures Contract - 5'11", 185 lbs. Decent sized small school prospect. Did he develop in his redshirt year?

CB

Mitchell Van Dyk, OT, Futures Contract – 6’7", 299 lbs. A 7th round draft pick for the Rams in 2014. Supposed to be a "badass" who’d be a perfect fit for a zone running scheme.

OL

Alejandro Villanueva, OT, Futures Contract - 6'9", 277 lbs. The army ranger without a position. Offensive lineman or super-big tight end?

OL

Rob Blanchflower, TE, Futures Contract - 6'4", 256 lbs. A multi-purpose tight end. Maybe. Rumors say the coaches like him.

TE

Michael Egnew, TE, Futures Contract - 6'5", 260 lbs. A good receiver who's never figured out the blocking part of his job description.

TE

Tim Benford, WR, Reserve Contract - 5'11", 198 lbs. A 2012 Cowboys UDFA who's supposed to be a good route runner and okay at everything else. Has been fighting knee issues since he came to the league.

CB

Brelan Chancellor, WR/KR, Futures Contract - 5'8", 188 lbs. A short but not small, very elusive receiver who will try to challenge for kick return duties.

WR/KR

C.J. Goodwin, WR, Futures Contract - 6'3", 190 lbs. Mel Blount's receiver donation from last year. Extraordinary leaping ability and decent hands. An early favorite for the #5 receiver spot, especially if he learns from Heyward-Bey's willingness to play special teams.

WR

L'Damian Washington, WR, Futures Contract - 6'4", 200 lbs. A skinny, high-leaping speed merchant; i.e., Martavis Bryant lite.

WR

The Ain't Gonna Happen List

NOTE: This list isn't meant as a "garbage slot" for players who aren't worthy of an exalted spot on the Steelers roster. Most of the following prospects fall more in the category of Tiffany window jewels that the Steelers lack the draft-capital to buy at a proper price. Besides, if one of them falls far enough to be worth the pick for Pittsburgh, his value as trade bait towards a needier team would probably be worth more than his benefit as a player for the Steelers roster. Plus its just plain silly (and a little offensive) to give these guys a Steelers HV # that is so much lower than where they should (and almost certainly will) go to a team with a need at their position.

Michael Bennett, 4-3 DT, Ohio State (Interviewed) - 6'2", 293 lbs. with 33-5/8" arms and 10-1/4" hands. Bennett is a great 3-technique (i.e., a penetrating defensive tackle for a 4-3 team) who is almost but not quite great enough to trigger the Aaron Donald ‘who cares about position?!' reflex. Here is a great scouting report if you're curious. As with Aaron Donald last year, the comparisons are all to Geno Atkins.

DL

INSIDE LINEBACKERS

ILB

Ereck Flowers, OT, Miami (Interviewed) - 6'6-1/4", 329 lbs. with long, 34-1/2" arms. A prototypical Right Tackle who would be at HV 1:15 if the Steelers needed a pure Right Tackle who might develop toward the Left as well; but with Gilbert already in place he'd be more use as trade bait than a pick. If he could play Guard too... This article by the respected scout Dave-Te Thomas has nice summary reports for several offensive linemen, including Flowers.

OL

Andrus Peat, OT, Stanford - 6'6-7/8", 313 lbs. with long 34-3/8" arms. Perhaps the best Left Tackle prospect of the draft, and worthy of a mid-1st grade for a team that has an open spot to step into. With the more limited, but already accomplished Kelvin Beachum and Marcus Gilbert on staff, he's worth more to the Steelers as trade bait than he'd be as an actual pick. He's probably not Guard-capable either, which lands him down here. Here is a brief scouting profile from a retired NFL scout. This article by the respected scout Dave-Te Thomas has nice summary reports for several offensive linemen, including Peat.

OL

Marcus Mariota, QB, Oregon - 6'4", 215 lbs. The Steelers won't consider any QB before the Third.

QB

Jameis Winston, QB, Florida State - 6'4", 232 lbs. The Steelers won't consider any QB before the Third.

QB

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.

RB

Todd Gurley, RB, Georgia - 6'0-1/2", 222 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 4.30, Olympic-caliber 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. Before the knee injury Gurley would have been in the running for "best athlete in the entire draft." Now he's going to fall. The only question is, how far? Knowing our luck, the answer will be the Ratbirds at #26.

RB

Thomas Rawls, RB, Central Michigan 5'9", 215 lbs. Decent talent, but too many off-field issues to take the risk.

RB

Karlos Williams, RB, Florida State - 6'1", 230 lbs. There are too many good running backs to use a slot on someone with all sorts of character and underperformance red flags. Here is a scouting report if you want to know more. The one reason I could see the Steelers picking him anyway is the connection to Vince Williams, the Steelers ILB who is Karlos' big brother.

RB

WIDE RECEIVERS BEFORE ROUND 4

WR

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. This link goes to an excellent Fanpost describing all the potential gems tucked away on futures/developmental contracts. 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).