Steelers 2015 NFL Mock Draft: 7 Rounds v4.0
Mandatory Credit: David Butler II-USA TODAY Sports
Pittsburgh’s secondary is in need of a serious overhaul from a personnel standpoint. Not only is the team thin in terms of depth at cornerback, the depth chart could be equally void of experienced depth at safety if Troy Polamalu and Will Allen are not back this fall. Not helping the situation is the fact that we might actually be treated to another season of Mike Mitchell and Cortez Allen due to their hefty contracts.
Multiple draft picks could be used on the secondary in the 2015 NFL Draft, and one player who should interest Pittsburgh’s brass is Byron Jones of Connecticut.
Before he assumed a starting role as a cornerback in 2013, Jones was a starter (20 games) at safety when Blidi Wreh-Wilson and Dwayne Gratz, both in the NFL at the moment, were ahead of him on the depth chart in 2011 and 2012. After a productive junior season, it appeared as if Jones was primed to capitalize in 2014. Unfortunately for the former Husky, a shoulder injury cost him the final half of what was supposed to be a stellar senior campaign (19 starts at cornerback).
A versatile prospect who fits the physical mold (6’1″ 196 lbs.) of what the Steelers look for in their cornerbacks, Jones has good ball-skills and can contribute in either man or zone coverage (2011-2014: 223 tackles, 18 PDs, 8 INTs) like his former teammates Wreh-Wilson and Gratz.
Granted, issues do exist for Jones when it comes to Jones taking angles, how quick he can turn his hips and how disciplined he can be in zone coverage. Nevertheless, there will be plenty of teams in the market for a cornerback with Jones’ frame and upside. If the Steelers are secondary-starved in April, then a developmental defensive back like Jones could be a potential solution for Carnell Lake to groom.
Next: Round 6