They got their cornerback and, despite fans’ disappointment that the Bengals snagged William Jackson III, Artie Burns is a quality corner with speed to burn (at least, that’s what we all hope). He’ll fit in to the Steelers plans nicely, provided he can step in and contribute at an NFL level. The ACC isn’t the AFC North after all.
So, with Rounds 2 and 3 coming up this evening, where will the Steelers go with their selections? Chances are they’ll stay on defense for at least one of those two picks. The good news is that there’s plenty of exceptional defensive talent left on the board.
It’s definitely possible that the Steelers will go back to the well and select another corner back with their second pick. After all, they need all the help they can get at the position, unless they really believe Ross Cockrell is the next Rod Woodson, which doesn’t appear to be the case.
The next best corner on the board is Mackenzie Alexander, but he was considered a possible first round pick. The chances that he’ll still be there for them at pick 58 is slim.
Jalen Mills from LSU may still be available, but character issues are almost certain to scare the Steelers off. Virginia Tech’s Kendall Fuller is another possibility and could be there when the Steelers pick. According to NFL.com, Fuller "logged 34 passes defensed and eight interceptions in 2013 and 2014 combined." Clearly, he’s a ball-hawking corner who might fit best in the slot, and he could be there for them in either round two or three.
Safety Help Needed
Robert Golden is a solid backup and a special teams ace, but he lacks the pedigree and play making ability. The Steelers can upgrade the safety position in rounds 2 and 3 and their should be some solid players to choose from.
Jeremy Cash from Duke is a player that the team has reportedly been interested in, enough so that Kevin Colbert and Mike Tomlin visited with Cash at the NFL combine. He may be there when they pick at 58.
Another intriguing player is USCs Su’a Cravens. He’s listed as a LB/S. Measuring 6’1" and weighing 226, he definitely fits the strong safety mold. The fact that he can play hybrid linebacker (which is becoming the rage with the Steelers these days. They’re starting to have an affinity for hybrid style players), makes him a candidate. And let’s face it, wouldn’t Steeler Nation love to see another strong safety from USC?
A safety prospect who also might be on the board is Vonn Bell from Ohio State. Given the Steelers’ propensity for drafting defensive players from Ohio State, this could be their guy.
Round 3 Linebackers
The Steelers could add some linebacking depth in round three, as there are a number of players who could provide excellent value at the pick (89).
Players like Kentrell Brothers from Missouri, Tyler Matakevich from Temple, and Joshua Perry from Ohio State may be worth a look. Each of them bring a certain tenacity that makes up for their lack of elite athletic skills. The Steelers can’t ignore the position, as the futures of Jarvis Jones, Lawrence Timmons, and Vince Williams are up in the air beyond 2016.
Don’t Rule Out Offense
It’s assumed that the Steelers will go defense in the 2nd and 3rd rounds. However, an intriguing player may be available for them on the offensive side of the ball: Tyler Boyd. Pitt fans know all about Boyd, particularly his hands and his competitiveness. He’s a player in the mold of Hines Ward, perhaps. Boyd, like Ward, does not possess blazing speed or imposing size, but overcomes it with his hands and his route running. With the future of Martavis Bryant in doubt and Marcus Wheaton’s rookie contract up after this year, adding Boyd could be a huge value move.
As to how night two of the draft shakes out, only time will tell.