There are many scenarios which could play out for the Pittsburgh Steelers in the first round of the 2015 NFL Draft, and we are trying to diagnose several which could actually come to fruition for the team on draft day. With the draft just hours away, the scenario we play out has the elite cornerbacks off the board, but the team is left choosing between very capable pass rushers.
The team clearly is looking at pass rushers and defensive backs in the early rounds of the draft, but the fact the top tier cornerbacks are off the board won't deter the team at all. In fact, the team feels they can get quality cornerbacks in Rounds 2-3 which might be just a step below those cornerbacks who were taken early in the first round.
Several pass rushers have fallen to the No. 22 position, what do the Steelers do?
As stated earlier, the top tier cornerbacks are all of the board. Trae Waynes, Marcus Peters, Kevin Johnson and even safety Landon Collins. Jalen Collins and P.J. Williams remain the best options at the cornerback position on the draft board. In the pass rushing category, Vic Beasley, Dante Fowler and Shane Ray are all off the board. Randy Gregory, Bud Dupree and Owamagbe Odighizuwa all remain on the board.
The Steelers have done their homework on potential pass rushers who are still available in this scenario. Mike Tomlin, Joey Porter and Kevin Colbert were present at Bud Dupree's pro day and hosted Randy Gregory on a pre-draft visit not long before the NFL Draft. Owamagbe Odighizuwa was a player they didn't have an official public visit with, but certainly they did their diligence with the disruptive edge rusher.
Odighizuwa seems to be a reach at the No. 22 pick, and even though he has tremendous upside, this decision boils down to Gregory or Dupree. Gregory brings plenty of baggage with him to the table as he tested positive for marijuana before the 2015 NFL Combine, but after meeting with Gregory the Steelers should have a solid feel for whether they view him as a solid prospect or not. Gregory is far more advanced as a pass rusher than Dupree, and despite Gregory's issues, the team feels confident he will be the player they need from a speed and pass rushing standpoint moving forward.
Dupree is impressive, but also a project. The Steelers are looking for someone who could possibly chip in as a rookie on special teams and in specific defensive packages and situations, and Gregory fits the bill.
With the No. 22 selection in the NFL Draft the Pittsburgh Steelers select pass rusher from Nebraska, Randy Gregory.