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Mock Draft Monday: Steelers decide to attack secondary over pass rusher in Round 1

The Pittsburgh Steelers could use a cornerback as well as a pass rusher, and the latest mock draft has the team targeting a cornerback, not an EDGE rusher, in the first round.

NCAA Football: Rose Bowl Game-Penn State vs Southern California Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports

Which came first, the chicken or the egg?

This philosophical question resembles asking football fanatics which helps a defense more, a pass rush or a great secondary?

This is the debate which has been ongoing among Pittsburgh Steelers fans since the team was torched in the AFC Championship game against the New England Patriots.

One side of the argument will say a team who can pressure the quarterback will help prevent the quarterback from having the time necessary to throw to his first few reads on any given play.

On the other hand, some will argue the team who has a better secondary can blanket their receivers, allowing the pass rush to get to the quarterback.

Either way, the Steelers have needs at both positions as they head into the 2017-2018 season. While the team could address these needs through free agency, there is a strong likelihood they will be addressed in the 2017 NFL Draft.

But which position will get top billing? A lot will depend on which prospects are available when the team drafts at No. 30, but in the latest Charlie Campbell mock draft at WalterFootball.com, he has the Steelers taking a cornerback in Round 1.

Pittsburgh Steelers: Adoree' Jackson, CB, USC

The Steelers could use a cornerback to pair with Artie Burns.

Jackson notched 55 tackles with 11 passes broken up and five interceptions in 2016. He also returned two kickoffs for touchdowns, returned two punts for touchdowns, and made a 52-yard touchdown catch. Jackson had an awesome game against Alabama as he shut down star wide receiver Calvin Ridley. He held Ridley to only two receptions for nine yards on the night. Jackson has given the NFL proof that he is a serious cover corner prospect for the 2017 NFL Draft.

Jackson played on offense and defense in 2015. He had 35 tackles with eight passes broken up and one interception at corner. As a wide receiver, Jackson had 27 receptions for 414 yards and two touchdowns. The sophomore also returned punts and kicks.

Jackson became a starter in 2014 and was a sensation who also contributed as a wide receiver and returner/coverage defender on special teams. Defensively, the freshman had 49 tackles with 10 passes deflected. He also caught 10 receptions for 138 yards with three touchdowns on offense. On special teams, Jackson returned two kickoffs for touchdowns and averaged 30 yards per kick return. For the NFL, the 5-foot-11, 185-pounder fits best as a cover cornerback. He is a fast corner to prevent separation, but can struggle with size and defenders making receptions over him.

The intrigue factor with Jackson is high. The team wouldn’t just be getting a cornerback, but a return man and potential receiver. Now, the chances Jackson would see time as a receiver is slim-to-none, but his return skills shouldn’t go unnoticed. Mike Tomlin loves versatile players, and Jackson screams of that entering the draft process.

With the NFL Scouting Combine underway, a lot can change for NFL prospects who are hoping to cash in on a big pay day in the NFL, but Jackson would be a welcome addition to the Steelers secondary as they try to get over the hump in 2017-2018.