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Steelers 2016 NFL Draft Scenario 1.0: With Andrew Billings off the board, the focus is a cornerback

The Pittsburgh Steelers have several needs on the defensive side of the football entering the 2016 NFL Draft. We break down a scenario where the team focuses on a cornerback in the first round.

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With the 2016 NFL Draft just weeks away, it is time for us to start breaking down particular scenarios which could unfold throughout the selection process on Draft Day. We will unveil up to 10 scenarios between now and the draft, and the first one has a very high probability of coming to fruition when the chips actually start falling.


With the No. 25 pick in the draft, the Steelers don't elect to trade up, or down, and decide to see which player is available to them when their name is called. As always, the Steelers will be selecting the Best Player Available (BPA) from the talent remaining at several positions. Those positions would be (in no particular order): Safety, Cornerback, Defensive Line and Offensive Guard.

As the selection process begins, several names the team has targeted throughout the process of the NFL Scouting Combine, Pro Days and Pre-Draft visits are off the board. Obvious names like Jalen Ramsey and Vernon Hargreaves are long gone, but some surprises pop up when CB Eli Apple goes 8th overall and DL Andrew Billings is selected 12th. Shaq Lawson goes 13th, followed by Mackensie Alexander 14th.

At this point the Steelers options remain open with several prospects still available. However, when OT Taylor Decker is selected 17th and DL A'Shawn Robinson is selected 18th, and the players available begin to dwindle on the team's draft board. Still available at key positions are DL Vernon Butler, Safety Vonn Bell, CB Kendall Fuller, CB William Jackson III and S/LB Su'a Cravens.

As DL Robert Nkemdiche and WR Corey Coleman are selected 23rd and 24th, the Steelers are called to the podium.

The Steelers pick is in...

At this point the team is looking for a prospect who can help them from Day 1, not a selection strictly for depth. With that said, any offensive line positions are nullified, as well as a player like Butler along the defensive line. The safeties available aren't the type of players the team feels confident about using a first round pick on, so that leaves a crop of cornerbacks to choose from.

The pick: Houston CB, William Jackson III

Jackson impressed scouts at the Scouting Combine, and met and dined with Steelers brass at the Houston Pro Day. His size, speed and length make him an immediate option to start alongside William Gay, Senquez Golson and Ross Cockrell in 2016. With a CB being the top draft choice for the first time in over a decade, the team will then turn their focus to the defensive line and safety position in Rounds 2 and 3.