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2016 Mock Draft: Pittsburgh Steelers select cornerback in the 1st round

The Pittsburgh Steelers are still in the 2015 AFC Playoff race, but while college football wraps up their season it begins the season of mock drafts.

Tim Fuller-USA TODAY Sports

The Pittsburgh Steelers are embroiled in a race for an AFC Wild Card spot in the 2015 playoffs, but as the college football regular season has come and gone, it is time for the mock draft season to begin. Despite the Steelers consistency, the team's roster has holes at several positions. In the secondary, there are issues at the starting position and depth at all positions. Offensive line could be a target, as well as defensive line. With the Steelers, linebacker is never a position off the board.

There are a myriad of ways the Steelers could go in the first round of the 2016 draft, but in Matt Miller's first mock draft of the season, he has the Steelers selecting at the No. 20 position. Not only does he have Pittsburgh picking in the back half of the draft, he has the team looking at cornerback with their first pick. The selection? Ohio State cornerback Eli Apple.

See what Miller had to say about the selection:

How long has the need at cornerback existed for the Pittsburgh Steelers? This is my fifth year at Bleacher Report, and every year I'm writing about how they need to get younger and faster at the position. And yet, they still haven't addressed the need and continue to survive with substandard play in the secondary.

Given that the offense in Pittsburgh is exceptional, perhaps this will be the year general manager Kevin Colbert invests in the secondary. If so, Apple, a redshirt sophomore, is an incredible fit for the defense. He's long, very fast, instinctive and has the toughness to hang with the big wide receivers of the AFC North from the get-go.

The Steelers going cornerback in the first round wouldn't shock anyone, not only because of the holes in the secondary, but also because of the status of the remaining cornerbacks on the roster. William Gay, Antwon Blake and Brandon Boykin will all be unrestricted free agents at the end of the season, leaving their future in jeopardy. The team will have 2nd round draft pick Senquez Golson back in 2016, as well as Ross Cockrell, but another young talented cornerback could be a big boost to a defense looking for secondary help.

There is a lot of time between now and the 2016 NFL Draft, but it is never too early to start the debate on which direction the Steelers and Kevin Colbert will go when the Steelers go on the clock.