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2019 NFL Mock Draft: Steelers shock fan base and go for lesser known cornerback

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The Steelers haven’t had the best success with drafting cornerbacks in the NFL Draft, and the latest mock draft has them taking another stab at the position in Round 1.

NCAA Football: Vanderbilt at Kentucky Mark Zerof-USA TODAY Sports

The 2019 NFL Draft is just days away, and those who produce mock drafts almost on a weekly basis are feverishly typing away trying to give their best estimation as to what will take place in late April when the three day selection process takes place.

For Pittsburgh Steelers fans, the biggest debate is what position the team will target in Round 1? Will it be inside linebacker? Will it be wide receiver? The Steelers have options early in the draft, but which player should be their top pick is a debate which turns ugly depending who you are talking to.

For this Mock Draft Monday, a space where we all understand mock drafts are nothing more than guesses, I looked at NFL Networks’ Daniel Jeremiah’s latest mock draft to see who he had tabbed as going to the Steelers.

Here is the pick:

Lonnie Johnson Jr. - CB

School: Kentucky | Year: Senior

This is higher than I have Johnson rated, but he’s catching a lot of buzz right now and the Steelers have a need at the position.

For the record, it should be noted both Devin White and Devin Bush were both off the board before the 13th pick. White went to the Broncos at pick 10, and Bush to the Packers at pick 12. With those prospects gone, the Steelers snagged themselves a cornerback they hope can break their failed draft pick mold — even though many don’t know much about him.

If you are like me, you don’t keep tabs on all of these players in college football. There just isn’t enough time in the day to watch all these prospects. While many will know plenty about Murphy as a prospect, others just want to know the basics. Here is a draft breakdown via The Draft Network:

BEST TRAIT - Length/Leaping Ability

WORST TRAIT - Press Technique

RED FLAGS - None

Lonnie Johnson’s standout performance at the Senior Bowl (compared to most of the other corners anyway) generated some buzz in January, but he’s going to need one heck of a Combine effort to continue to make teams forget about his tape. Troublesome in press and problematic in off coverage, Johnson gives up a ton of separation on short-to-intermediate patterns due to his inability to mirror and match, while also failing to stay in phase and make plays on the ball vertically.

Despite his length and size, I’m not even sure I would bother trying to develop Johnson’s press technique that much, rather opting to play him in a zone-heavy scheme where his length and ability to come forward and tackle can be put to their best use. He just needs way too much work to be trusted in man coverage anytime soon, and will likely need to begin his career by impressing on special teams as a rookie.

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What do you think of the pick? Would you be okay with Johnson being the Steelers’ top pick? Let us know what you think in the comment section below!