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ESPN NFL Draft analyst Mel Kiper Jr. has Steelers taking William Jackson III over Eli Apple in latest mock draft

Could the Pittsburgh Steelers draft a CB in the first round since 1997? ESPN's Mel Kiper Jr. certainly believes 2016 is the time to break the trend.

Bob Levey/Getty Images

When it comes to mock drafts, there are those who people rarely talk about, and those who cause a stir among the 32 NFL fan bases. Count ESPN's Mel Kiper Jr. into the latter group. Kiper is a personality fans love to hate. They yell and scream at his obsession with almost every prospect, and scold him when he projects their favorite team to pick someone they don't necessarily agree with.

With Kiper releasing his Mock Draft 4.0, you can only imagine there would be a great deal of discussion to stem from him having CB William Jackson III going to Pittsburgh with the No. 25 pick. However, Kiper isn't the only expert to predict Jackson to be donning a black and gold uniform in 2016. What makes Kiper's mock draft more interesting is who he has the Steelers passing on to draft Jackson III.

First, see what Kiper had to say about the team's selection of the Houston defensive back:

25. Pittsburgh Steelers

William Jackson III, CB, Houston
The Steelers could be a better secondary away from Super Bowl contention, and while you don't want to rely on rookies back there too often, Pittsburgh doesn't have a choice and should add talent wherever there's value to be had. Jackson is rising on boards everywhere and could be a good get at this stage.

The thought of the Steelers being a better secondary away from Super Bowl contention is right on. However, many will debate if Jackson III is the cornerback to select in the draft to get them there.

In this particular mock draft, the Steelers taking Jackson is followed by the Seattle Seahawks drafting Eli Apple from Ohio State. Not to mention Kendall Fuller and Mackensie Alexander both going undrafted in the opening round of the selection process.

So, is Jackson III the better prospect than Apple? Kiper, acting on the Steelers' behalf, certainly thinks so. Jackson lit up the NFL Scouting Combine, and had his size, strength, speed and range on full display. It was an impressive performance and one which saw him sky rocket up most experts draft boards, all the way to a first round talent.

Don't believe the hype? Check out the combine video for yourself HERE.

Nonetheless, Kiper certainly is high on Jackson III, and he isn't alone with his sentiment. Besides him being the choice over names like Apple, Alexander and Fuller, the question of the team drafting a cornerback in the first round since 1997 still lingers leading up to the big day.

Time will tell if Kiper is on to something, or if the draft will simply unfold and the Steelers will adjust accordingly, but it will be interesting to see who they grade highest if all four of these cornerback prospects are available when the team drafts No. 25th overall in the 2016 NFL Draft.