Todd McShay, ESPN NFL Draft analyst, refuses to do knee-jerk draft grades immediately after a draft has concluded. His partner, Mel Kiper Jr., is on the opposite end of this spectrum, and he has already released a set of grades for each NFL team’s draft class.
With McShay refusing to do the draft grades, ESPN gives him another assignment instead — the following year’s first mock draft.
So, with the 2017 NFL Draft in the books, McShay has released his first 2018 NFL mock draft.
Now before fans start to whine about how it’s too early to project anything like this, know that I agree with you 100 percent. What I find interesting, though, is where McShay has the Steelers picking, as well as the position he has the team focused on in the first round.
In this mock draft, McShay has the Steelers selecting 30th in the draft, again, behind only the New England Patriots and Seattle Seahawks. If you haven’t figured it out yet, McShay has the Patriots beating the Steelers in the AFC Championship (again) and the Pats also beating the Seahawks in Super Bowl 52.
Excuse me while I go vomit.
Okay, McShay sees the Steelers as legitimate contenders, but what position does he have them targeting in the first round? You might be surprised, but it’s actually a cornerback.
Take a look at his pick, and the reasoning behind it:
30. Pittsburgh Steelers
Iman Marshall, CB, USC*
Marshall has showed a promising skill set, starting 25 of 27 possible games in two seasons at USC. He has six interceptions and 17 pass breakups in that time.
When I saw this, I was very surprised. After all, the team has Artie Burns, the 2016 first- round selection, Cameron Sutton, the 2017 third-round selection, Senquez Golson, the 2015 second-round selection, already on its roster. Taking another high round cornerback would be insane, right?
William Gay might not have much football left in him, Ross Cockrell will be an unrestricted free agent after the 2017 season, and who knows what Golson will be able to provide to the team this year and beyond. What does that leave you with? A whole lot of uncertainty.
When you look at it through these lenses, the thought of drafting another cornerback makes sense, unless the team needs a quarterback, but we won’t open up that can of worms just yet.
Which position do you think the team will target in the first round of the 2018 NFL Draft?