When it comes to mock drafts, most fans look for the names Todd McShay and Mel Kiper Jr. for the latest and greatest draft information possible on their favorite team. Although many produce mock drafts, few are considered in as high regard as ESPN's two NFL Draft experts.
25. Pittsburgh Steelers - Eli Apple, CB, Ohio State
At this point, all 21 players with first-round grades are off the board, so every pick could feel like a slight reach. Apple's tape is good but not elite. While his 4.40 40 speed is a positive, he needs to improve his technique in press coverage. He's a willing participant against the run, which is especially important in the AFC North, and teams will like his long, 6-foot-1 frame.
For those who might be new to BTSC, or don't read our weekly mock draft analysis, the selection itself is worth discussing, but other prospects still available when the Steelers turn to draft arrives is more noteworthy, in my opinion.
Apple seems to have it all when it comes to a cornerback prospect. Size, no he is not Senquez Golson sub-6-foot size, speed and plenty of upside. However, when people use the word upside, there is typically a large downside as well. For Apple's case it is a lack of experience and a very "rough around the edges" coverage skill set. Nonetheless, if Apple was the Steelers' first round draft pick, they would be getting a solid cornerback who should be able to contribute early in his career, just maybe not his rookie season.
However, would you rather see the Steelers draft a player like Vernon Butler, William Jackson III, or Chris Jones? That is a tough call.
58. Pittsburgh Steelers: Kenny Clark, DT, UCLA
Clark has the quickness and agility to create some disruption in the backfield, and he's nimble enough to execute twists and stunts. After having just one sack in his first 26 games, he added six last season in 13 contests.
If the Steelers don't take CB and DT in any order in Rounds 1 and 2 this year, I would be stunned. McShay has Pittsburgh taking Kenny Clark of UCLA, and this just goes to show how deep this defensive line class is in the upcoming draft. Clark is a stellar athlete who would add much needed depth along the defensive line, and will hopefully be able to spell Cameron Heyward and Stephon Tuitt to keep them fresh and effective within the Steelers many sub packages.
The Steelers are preparing to load the defense with young talent, but I have to admit I would be stunned if their first two selections are Apple and Clark.