The 2015 NFL Draft is in the books, and a new group of fresh faces are ready to make their mark on the NFL with the Pittsburgh Steelers. Draft picks don't always become difference makers in their rookie seasons, but there are exceptions to ever rule. It is now time to review who the Pittsburgh Steelers selected and what they could possibly do to help the team in the upcoming 2015 NFL season.
1st Round selection: OLB, Alvin Dupree, University of Kentucky
Dupree falling to the Steelers at No. 22 was a shock to most, but to say it worked in Pittsburgh's favor is an understatement. The team had a glaring need for a pass rusher and Dupree has a unique skill set of size, speed and strength which will help propel him into the NFL with quality coaching and refinement of his overall game. Look for Dupree to play special teams, but also to play in the standard defense on obvious pass rushing downs as well as in sub packages.
2nd Round selection: CB, Senquez Golson, Ole Miss
Golson, although a smaller cornerback by NFL standards, is the epitome of the word 'ballhawk'. Golson had 10 interceptions in 2014 within the SEC football conference at Ole Miss. Golson isn't afraid of getting involved in run support and has been lauded as having better hands than most wide receivers in this draft class. Golson will certainly look to play in nickel and dime situations, but depending on the play of Cortez Allen could see time on the outside as well.
3rd Round selection: WR, Sammie Coates, Auburn
Can you imagine another Martavis Bryant on the already formidable Steelers' offense? Well, that is essentially what they have when drafting Sammie Coates in the third round. Coates is a speed player, but with freakish size to accompany his ability to stretch the field. In 2014, Coates averaged over 20 yards a reception in the SEC, not too shabby right? Although Coates has had his share of drops in college, the Steelers are hoping they can get similar production out of Coates as they did out of Bryant in his rookie season of 2014.
4th Round selection: CB, Doran Grant, Ohio State
Despite selecting a cornerback in the second round of the draft, the Steelers still felt the need to address the position again in the early portions of Day 3. They did so by drafting Doran Grant from Ohio State. Grant not only played quality football for the National Champion Buckeyes in 2014, but by grabbing 5 interceptions in 2014 in the Big 10. Grant is a tremendous tackler and plays great in space. There are questions surrounding his ability to play man coverage on the outside, but Grant should be able to contribute on special teams as well as in sub packages, if need be.
5th Round selection: TE, Jesse James, Penn State
Heath Miller cannot play forever, and the Steelers' saw the writing on the wall entering the 2015 draft. The team decided to draft Jesse James, a local product who attended Penn State, in the 5th round. James is a large target with average blocking skills and good hands. Not a pure receiving tight end by any stretch of the imagination, James will be battling Rob Blanchflower for the spot as third tight end on the team's roster behind Miller and Matt Spaeth.
6th Round selection: DT, Leterrius Walton, Central Michigan
Walton is a player who certainly could add depth at a position of need along the Steelers' defensive front. After Cameron Heyward and Stephon Tuitt, the Steelers' depth along the line lies with Cam Thomas and Clifton Geathers. Both of which could easily be uprooted for their role in the rotation along the defensive line. Walton will get his chance to make the roster if he has a good camp.
6th Round selection (compensatory pick): DE, Anthony Chickillo, Miami (FL)
In somewhat of a head scratching selection, the Steelers chose DE/OLB Chickillo from Miami. Chickillo could be a special teams player for the Steelers, but isn't built to be a defensive tackle within the Steelers' 3-4 scheme, and doesn't have the speed and athleticism to play the outside linebacker position. The Steelers very well could have a plan for Chickillo, but he will be competing with nearly 9 other pass rushers for 2-3 spots remaining on the team's 53-man roster.
7th Round selection: S, Gerod Holliman, Louisville
Remember how we called Golson a 'ballhawk', well only one player in Division 1 football player had more interceptions than Golson, and that was Holliman who had 14 last year. Yeah, 14 interceptions. Holliman can take the ball away with the best of them, but his tackling skills, or lack thereof, are a large part as to why he was selected in the 7th round. The Steelers have a player with a ton of upside, and got him with their 7th round selection. Holliman will be vying for time with Mike Mitchell, Shamarko Thomas and Will Allen in the back end of the Steelers secondary.
Undrafted Rookie Free Agent Signings (As of 5/3/15):
Cameron Clear, TE, Mississippi State
Nigel Crawford-Kinner, DT, Saint Augustine's
Dominique Davis, DE, Liberty
Miles Dieffenback, G, Penn State
Reese Dismukes, G, Auburn
B.J. Finney, C, Kansas State
Tyler Murphy, WR, Boston College
Brandon Prate, DE, Illinois State
Collin Rahrig, G, Indiana
Eli Rogers, WR, Louisville
Ross Scheuerman, RB, Lafayette (Pa.)
Kevin Whimpey, T, Utah State