2015 Steelers NFL Mock Draft: 7 Rounds v14.0

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Mandatory Credit: Kelvin Kuo-USA TODAY Sports

Brice McCain is in Miami, whether Cortez Allen can rebound is still a mystery, Ike Taylor is likely retiring or headed elsewhere, and William Gay will be a free agent next spring. I am not sure about many of you, but I see a team with a rocky situation at the cornerback position which must be addressed through free agency and the draft processes.

Due to their inability to bolster their depth with any veteran help during free agency, I can definitely see the Steelers’ front office using more than one of their selections in the upcoming draft on the cornerback position. One player who should be on the team’s radars in the early rounds is Ronald Darby of Florida State.

Darby has had to share headlines, playing time and accolades with other talented members of the Seminoles’ secondary in recent seasons such as Xavier Rhodes, Lamarcus Joyner, P.J. Williams and Nick Waisome. Nevertheless, Darby has done well in his own right and established himself in the conversation as a potential early round selection in this year’s draft.

A former track-star who is more athletically gifted than Williams and Waisome, Darby did his best damage as an off-man defender in the Seminoles’ secondary. The 2012 ACC Defensive Rookie of the year, Darby followed that impressive freshman season by allowing only nine completions during his sophomore campaign. Overall, Darby finished his collegiate career with 79 tackles, 18 PDs and 2 INTs.

The former Seminole has great straight line speed, changes direction well, has fluid hips and is willing to play the run. Best of all, Darby possesses the type of closing speed and ball-skills to be a good fit in an off-man or zone-based defensive scheme. Although Darby has a decent sized frame (5’11” 193 lbs.), he will likely need to improve his block-shedding skills and illustrate that he has the type of strength to lock-up stronger receivers in press coverage.

Even if Darby’s off-field issues drive him down draft boards, he could be a tremendous value pickup on the second day of the draft. He would bring some much needed aggressiveness and talent to a Steelers’ secondary which is in desperate need of it as the front office tries to rebuild.

Next: Round 3