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2021 NFL Mock Draft: The Steelers look to add a cornerback with their top pick

In the latest mock draft, the Steelers go defense in the first round and choose a player with NFL bloodlines.

Auburn v South Carolina Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images

The Pittsburgh Steelers are heading into the 2021 offseason. With free agency looming followed by the NFL draft in April, the Steelers will have a plethora of decisions and moves to make before making their first draft selection. Because the NFL combine will not be held, pro days are the best option to get player information. It will be interesting to see what limited information ends up being available in regards to draft prospects this year.

When talking about mock drafts or NFL free agency, you have to first identify the team’s main needs for the offseason. Before any gains or losses in free agency, there are some who would like to see the Steelers go with either offensive line or running back with their first-round pick. Others feel tight end or linebacker could be on top of the list. With plenty of chances for the Steelers to shape their roster prior to April, their goal is usually to get into position to draft the best player available rather than target a specific position. When it comes to what position the team will select with their first pick, it is certainly up for debate.

In the latest two-round mock draft by CBSSports, they have the Steelers going defense with their first pick and addressing the cornerback position before anything else. With both outside corners Joe Haden and Steven Nelson on the final year of their contract and set to have large salary cap numbers coupled with Mike Hilton and Cam Sutton set to be free agents, the Steelers may feel the need to add to the position at some point in the draft. Obviously, decisions between now and the draft will shape the need to add a cornerback more than anything. Since the Steelers could go in any number of directions with their first selection, it is important to look at all the possibilities presented by various mock draft outlets.

Check out the Steelers 24th pick:

24. Pittsburgh Steelers | Jaycee Horn | CB | South Carolina | JR |

Being early in the draft process, there may be some players most fans are not familiar with. If this is the case, here is a breakdown of Horn according to

The son of four-time Pro Bowl wide receiver Joe Horn, South Carolina Gamecocks cornerback Jaycee Horn enters the NFL after three seasons in the SEC where he demonstrated consistent growth. After primarily playing in the slot in 2018, Horn played out wide in 2019 and 2020 where he projects best in the NFL. Horn has a long and stocky frame that is built for competing with X-receivers in the NFL. His size, length, and physicality show up in coverage where he is highly disruptive in press and ultra competitive at the catch point. The concerns with Horn show up primarily as a tackler and playing off-man coverage. Unfortunately, Horn doesn’t play to his weight class as a tackler and there are too many missed tackles on film. Additionally, Horn can be guilty of guessing when mirroring routes, leading to false steps, which is problematic given how segmented his transitions can be in the first place. If used correctly and with development, Horn can be a quality starter, especially if his ball skills continue to progress as they did in 2020.

Ideal Role: Starting outside corner

Scheme Fit: Predominantly zone and press coverage with minimal deployment of off-man coverage.

For all you who are preparing yourself for the draft, what do you think of the selection? Would you be on board with the Steelers taking Horn with their first pick? Or do you feel there is a better player at this position or a different one who may still be available? Personally, I’m like most Steelers’ fans who are leery in taking a cornerback with their top pick based on their history in recent years. In a lot of mock drafts I have seen, Horn is off the board somewhere between pick 10 and 16 so if the Steelers got great value at 24 I would not be opposed. He does check a lot of boxes as he is only 20 years old and his father played in the NFL. Hopefully the Steelers sure up some things at the cornerback position in the offseason and it doesn’t become a position of need in 2021.

As always, let us know your thoughts in the comment section below, and remember these mock drafts are merely speculation and caused to create discussion among the fan base.