One of the arguments against the Steelers drafting a cornerback with the 25th pick of the 2016 NFL Draft on April 28, is that people hate cornerbacks.
OK, that is just trolling on my part. Actually, if you really want a good reason for not finally addressing a major need for Pittsburgh's defense in 2016, it's that, by the time the 25th selection comes around, all the top corners -- Jalen Ramsey, Vernon Hargreaves, Mackensie Alexander and maybe William Jackson III -- will most likely be gone, leaving the front-office with maybe the fourth or fifth best prospect to choose from.
That's certainly a good point, but couldn't you say that about every other position on the board? That's the thing about drafting so late in the first round; you're not going to get the cream of the crop at any position (well, except for tight end Hunter Henry, which would CLEARLY be trolling if I suggested that).
This year's draft is believed to be historically deep in defensive linemen, with seemingly countless prospects receiving first round grades and plenty of kudos from fans and experts, alike. With the Steelers in-search of some depth along the defensive line (and perhaps the next Casey Hampton), a stud lineman is a popular choice among many.
Vernon Butler and Andrew Billings appear to be receiving a lot of love from plenty of Steelers fans who would be happy if one or the other was the top pick in less than three weeks. I can certainly see the excitement for both, as either could potentially be an upgrade over Cam Thomas and even Steve McLendon. However, Billings is generally considered the fourth or fifth best tackle prospect, and Butler is right behind him in most rankings. In other words, while it wouldn't be a surprise if either was selected in the mid-first round, it wouldn't be a shocker to see both fall to even the early second round -- particularly Butler.
My question is, if it's unwise to select the fourth or fifth best corner prospect, why would it be smart to go after maybe the fifth or sixth best defensive line prospect?
I can answer that question by saying that neither would be unwise and neither would necessarily be intelligent. If a player like Billings is selected, that would make sense since he has a first round grade and would address a need for Pittsburgh. Along those same lines, corners like Jackson, Alexander and Eli Apple are also receiving first round grades, so why would it be a bad thing if one of those prospects was the top pick?
All things being equal, if a cornerback with a first round grade is sitting there at 25, it shouldn't cause much angst if he's the Steelers top pick on April 28.