The 2015 NFL Draft is just hours away, and NFL Network's Draft expert Mike Mayock has released his final positional rankings as team's prepare for the upcoming festivities which are the NFL Draft. Some might glance over these rankings, but if you look deeper it could give you a glimpse of what certain organizations might be thinking about certain prospects, as well as where they stand among their peers.
For the Steelers, the obvious target for the early rounds in the draft is the defensive side of the football. Cornerback and pass rusher seem to be 1a and 1b in terms of draft needs for the team come Thursday. Mayock's rankings are below for both positions.
1. Trae Waynes, Michigan State
2. Kevin Johnson, Wake Forest
3. Marcus Peters, Washington
4. Jalen Collins, LSU
5. Byron Jones, Connecticut
Rise: Johnson (4)
Fall: Collins (2), Eric Rowe, Utah (T-5)
1. Dante Fowler, Jr., Florida
2. Bud Dupree, Kentucky
3. Vic Beasley, Clemson
4. Randy Gregory, Nebraska
5. Shane Ray, Missouri
Rise: Dupree (4)
Fall: Gregory (2)
When looking at these rankings the most notable to me isn't the overall ranking, but the rise and fall of specific players. Take a look at who has fallen in the rankings, and not a surprise how these players were all involved in recent news of off-field incidents.
In the cornerback rankings, Jalen Collins was previously considered the second best cornerback on the list, and then fell to the 4th in the most recent rankings. Not an incredible drop, but one of note. Same can be said about Randy Gregory in the edge rusher category. Shockingly, Shane Ray stayed in the 5th position even after the news of his citation for marijuana possession.
If you honestly look at the above lists, something else should stand out to you when looking at an expert's viewpoint of the potential which lies within this draft class. To me, it is the amount of fluctuation in the rankings. Players naturally rise and fall throughout the process heading up to the draft, but if this can tell you anything it would be how you never know what is going to happen on draft day. One team's trash pick is another team's treasure.
In the 2014 draft, everyone, including myself, saw the Steelers selecting Darqueze Dennard in the first round. We know how that panned out as the team took Ryan Shazier instead with the 15th pick. It is easy to throw out predictions on the upcoming draft, especially the first round, but the reality of the situation is when the Steelers make the 22nd pick in the Draft, it all depends on who is left on the board and who the team is targeting as to who they will select.