Here is a list of the Pittsburgh Steelers possible 1st round picks they may have to choose from when there pick comes up tomorrow night. Who exactly they will take is a mystery, this is just a short list of prospects that they may have the opportunity of drafting. We know that they already said they won't be moving up in the first round because of their lack of a third round pick, so some of these picks are a possible target if they were to trade down. Hope you enjoy it and I can't wait for tomorrow night!!
Eric Ebron, TE, North Carolina, 6’4” 250lbEric Ebron
Ebron is a physical specimen that fits the mold of the elite tight ends in the NFL right now. With 4.51 40 speed, he is able to stretch the field as a vertical threat lining up in the natural tight end position and also split out wide, much like Jimmy Graham in New Orleans. There have been a few issues that have come out in the past week, Bill Polian of ESPN, and a former GM for Buffalo and Indianapolis, has said that there are immaturity issues with Ebron, stating that he might be too immature to play right away and doesn’t run block as well as some other tight ends in the draft. I believe that his ability to make plays down the field and offer an instant threat on offense will over-shadow any possible immaturity issues. Most of these kids are 21-24 years old, there are will be growing pains with all of them. Some a little more than others, but it wouldn’t stop me from giving my Hall of Fame quarterback another target to throw to. Obviously he would have to slide a little in the draft, but if he slides past the Buffalo Bills at 9 or the New York Giants at 12, it is possible the Ebron could be the pick at 15.
Justin Gilbert, CB, Oklahoma St, 6’0” 202lbs
Justin Gilbert displays freakish athleticism in the defensive back field. Running a 4.31 40 he has speed to stay with any wide receiver in the game. He is very aggressive in coverage, helping him make plays in the secondary. Gilbert is dangerous with the football in his hands, has the potential to turn an interception into a pick six quickly. He will also be a dangerous weapon in the return game. There are some comparisons to Charles Tillman with his play-making ability and there are also comparisons to Terrance Newman. Gilbert is physical in coverage and at times gets penalties for it. He doesn’t always want to help out in the run game and the Pittsburgh Steelers love to draft corners that stick their nose into the line of scrimmage and help make tackles on the outside, but I’m not sure they can pass up his play-making ability. Gilbert will definitely help the teams biggest need. But is he systematically the best corner for their needs? My colleague, Andy Schmidt, tells you why the Steelers should take Justin Gilbert with the 15th overall pick right here. https://fantasyknuckleheads.com/2014-nfl-draft-steelers-draft-justin-gilbert-available/
Darqueze Dennard, CB, Michigan St, 5’11”, 181lbs
Darqueze Dennard is a gritty defender that plays with a lot of energy. He is very aggressive in coverage and had 4 interceptions last year. He is a very physical defender that loves to come up and makes plays around the line of scrimmage. He excels in man coverage but needs to develop in off man coverage. His aggressiveness can get him into trouble down field and will draw a flag from time to time. He reminds some, of former Steelers corner Keenan Lewis. Dennard struggling in off man coverage could become an issue for Pittsburgh because they like to play a lot of zone. Although on 3rd down, like many teams across the NFL, they do like to switch to man coverage. Dennard does have a lot of grit and plays with determination, but lacks the athletic ability of Justin Gilbert. Seems to fit the scheme of what the Steelers like to do despite not being the best at off man coverage. He’s hungry and is a willing and capable tackler in the run game, but will his athletic ability be what keeps him from being a Steeler? Will Justin Gilbert's skill set out shine the blue collar work ethic that Dennard displays?
CJ Mosely, MLB, Alabama, 6’2” 234lbs
A natural leader in the middle of the defense, Mosely is the best sideline to sideline middle linebacker in the draft. He has a high football IQ and is a very physical tackler. Over 200 tackles in his last 2 seasons in college football. His leadership skills could make an instant impact on the defensive side of the ball. Yes, Vince Williams played very well filling in for Larry Foote last year, but Mosely is an upgrade at the position and won’t have to come off the field during passing downs. His leadership will also help in making play calls on defense and give more freedom to Lawrence Timmons to become the Pro Bowl player that he is capable of being. Mosely has been falling drastically in the draft because of some injury issues and the stigma of Alabama defensive players not playing well once they are in the NFL. See Rolando McClain and Dre Kirkpatrick. The Steelers would most likely pass on him in the middle of the first round but he could come into play if there is a trade down scenario.
Kyle Fuller, CB, Virginia Tech, 6’0” 190lbs
Kyle Fuller may be the most complete corner in the draft with ideal size for an NFL corner that is good in coverage and helps in run support. He can play in man coverage and off man coverage, very physical player. Fuller tends to find his way to the ball, a sure tackler that tries to strip the ball away once he has them wrapped up. He’s opportunistic and may bring tenacity to the Steelers that they have been missing for a few years. Fuller is a guy that I was hoping wouldn’t get much off season buzz. In January and February he was my pick for the Pittsburgh Steelers in the 2nd round. His game is well rounded and he is a very intelligent player. He doesn’t have the blazing speed that Justin Gilbert has or he may not be as physical as Darqueze Dennard, but I also don’t think there is as big of risk when drafting him. Since the NFL Combine and Pro Days, he has sky rocketed him up draft boards. He will be a safe pick at 15, and the Steelers may even be able to trade down, say to the New York Jets or Miami Dolphins, and still get Fuller.
Odell Beckham Jr, LSU, 5’11” 196lbs
Odell Beckham is the proto-typical size that the Pittsburgh Steelers absolutely covets in a wide receiver. He’s a burner that has game changing ability who can line up in the slot or on the outside. In the mold of Antonio Brown and Markus Wheaton, he would be another small receiver that would add speed to the receiving corp. He has exceptional hands and uses his exceptional speed to get open and create depth in his routes. He had a great pro day and NFL combine and as done nothing but climb up everyone’s draft board. The extra time teams have used to evaluate talent has definitely helped Beckham out. He was once projected as a late first, early second round pick, to now possibly being taken in the top 10. Selecting Beckham doesn’t give Ben Roethlisberger the big target he covets but he could possibly make Big Ben forget about Mike Wallace.
Taylor Lewan, OT, Michigan, 6-7, 309lbsTaylor Lewan
I understand that Kelvin Beachum filled in at left tackle exceptionally well. But I also know that his natural position is on the inside at guard. When the Pittsburgh Steelers went out and signed LeGarett Blunt to back up Le’veon Bell it told me that they want to get back to having a dominating run game. Lewan is tailor made, no pun intended, to be a left tackle to lead in the run game. Beachum did an admirable job but he is not a true left tackle. Had Lewan left college early last year he may have been drafted in the top five. He decided to stay in school and it might cost him going in the top ten. Lewan brings a nastiness to the position that the Steelers would love to have in the run game. Lewan had some troubles off the field in the past year and it may affect where he is going to be drafted. He’s been projected between picks 6-20. If he slides a bit in the draft, the Steelers may be tempted to take him. If they do he will have as big of impact on the line as Maurkice Pouncey did during his rookie year.
Brandin Cooks, WR, Oregon St, 5’10” 189lbs
Another wide receiver with the size, play-making ability, and exceptional speed that Steelers love, Cooks won the Biletnikoff Award, which goes to the best wide receiver in the nation. He is even faster than Beckham, and is a threat to take it to the house on any given play. He can also help out in the return game. He may lack a little bit in size but his play-making ability is undeniable. The Oregon St. player is another guy that they could possibly move back and still get, but to move back in the draft you have to be able to find a team that is willing to move up.
Calvin Pryor, SS, Louisville
Yes, Pittsburgh signed Mike Mitchell as a free agent this off-season. Yes, they still have one of the greatest safeties to ever play the game in Troy Polomalu. Yes, they drafted Shamarko Thomas in the 4th round last year, which they used this year’s 3rd round pick to move up to get him. But you know as well as I do if you can upgrade at a position at any time then you should make the move. Pryor would also give their defensive an upgrade in talent and an intensity that everyone expects from the Steel Curtain. He’s an aggressive safety that loves to come up and help with run support as well as help out in pass coverage. Some have him listed as the best safety available over Ha Ha Clinton-Dix. He is a very reliable tackler and has an intimidating presence. That sounds a lot like someone that we have seen play for the Pittsburgh Steelers since 2003.
Thank again for reading through the Pittsburgh Steelers possible 1st round picks in 2014. I hope it was as informative for you as it was fun for me to put together. I would be happy with any of these picks because they would all be able to make an impact sooner rather than later for the team.