The Pittsburgh Steelers have not officially identified needs for the team heading into the 2015 NFL Draft, but it doesn't take a rocket scientist to figure out which positions they could target with their first round pick. The team brought in more pass rushers and cornerbacks than any other positions for pre-draft visits. The simple fact remains the Steelers drafting with the No. 22 pick leaves them in a precarious situation, and they are forced to choose from the best of what's left on the board.
With our friends at fanspeak.com, we have outlined specific scenarios in which the Steelers might find themselves in on Thursday night. In this scenario, not all of the high profile pass rushers are off the board, but there are still a few top tier cornerbacks on the board as well. What do the Steelers do?
With pass rushers Vic Beasley, Dante Fowler, Randy Gregory and Eli Harold off the board, it leaves Shane Ray and Bud Dupree still available. Top tier cornerback Trae Waynes is the lone cornerback off the board, leaving Marcus Peters, Jalen Collins, Kevin Johnson and Byron Jones still on the board too.
The Steelers like their ability to get a quality cornerback in the second and third rounds, but still have to make a decision about whether they want to draft a cornerback they feel will change their secondary as a rookie, or if they want to stick with their original thought of taking cornerback in rounds 2-3 and take a pass rusher in the first.
With Shane Ray and Bud Dupree still on the board, it shows two prospects the Steelers have shown heavy interest in. Mike Tomlin, Kevin Colbert and Joey Porter all traveled to both Dupree and Ray's pro days and are obviously impressed with their skills. As impressed as they've been, both Ray and Dupree have their issues from a schematic standpoint and would be viewed as a project the organization could use in specific situations and on special teams.
The debate between a good pass rush covering up a mediocre secondary vs. a solid secondary forcing a quarterback into second and third reads helping a mediocre pass rush ensues, but the Steelers still feel strong about cornerbacks in the later rounds and decide against taking a defensive back in the first round for the second straight year.
Between Shane Ray's off-field issues and ongoing concerns over his foot, the Steelers decide to draft pure athleticism with Alvin 'Bud' Dupree from Kentucky with the 22nd overall pick in the 2015 NFL Draft.