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Steelers 2016 NFL Draft Scenario 2.0: Pittsburgh takes gamble on Safety in Round 1

The Pittsburgh Steelers target a defensive player, but they also take a large gamble in the first round on a player coming off an injury.

Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

With the 2016 NFL Draft just weeks away, it is time for us to continue 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 our second scenario could have 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.

Such a late pick in the 2016 NFL Draft, the Steelers certainly have to accept the fact their selection is more about the waiting game than having their pick of players to select. Barring an unforeseen trade up, the team will be sitting back taking names off their Big Board as the other 24 NFL teams who are picking before them in the first round.

With that said, in this scenario the Steelers have watched coveted players like Andrew Billings, A'Shawn Robinson, Mackensie Alexander and Taylor Decker all go off the board. There are some high profile cornerbacks still available in Eli Apple, William Jackson III, Kendall Fuller and Artie Burns, but the Steelers see those prospects as second tier players.

The team is looking for a playmaker who can step in on Day 1 and help contribute to the 2016 Steelers team winning a seventh Lombardi trophy. They decide to take a risk in the first round, and after the Cincinnati Bengals announce their pick at No. 24, 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 cornerbacks available aren't the type of players the team feels confident about using a first round pick on, so that leaves a crop of safeties to choose from.

The pick: West Virginia University Safety, Karl Joseph

Joseph is a tremendous talent, and certainly would have been a top tier safety if not for tearing his ACL in his final season at WVU. Nonetheless, the team needs a playmaker like Joseph to play alongside Mike Mitchell and in the team's various defensive sub packages, but is he completely healthy? That is the risk the Steelers are taking by having him be their prized draft pick in the upcoming selection process.

Barring any setback from his knee surgery, Joseph should immediately transform the Steelers defense from the Safety position, but is the risk worth the reward?

Other BTSC Draft Scenarios:
Steelers NFL Draft Scenario 1.0