2015 Steelers NFL Mock Draft: 7 Rounds v14.0

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Mandatory Credit: Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports

The Steelers need all of the help that they can get in their secondary after an offseason of inactivity. On paper, the Steelers appear set to go into the 2015 regular season with William Gay (entering the final season of his current deal), Cortez Allen (coming off of a disastrous 2014 season), Shamarko Thomas (almost zero professional experience), and Mike Mitchell (looks more like the player he was in Oakland) as their starting secondary.

If that projected secondary doesn’t scream “draft upgrades,” I am not sure what does. With this in mind, I can see the Steelers using at least two picks, if not three, on defensive backs in the upcoming draft. One late round player who could be of service to Pittsburgh is Justin Coleman of Tennessee.

A three-year starter for the Volunteers, Coleman recorded 157 tackles, 8.5 TFLs, 22 PDs and 5 INTs. In terms of where he lined up on the defensive side of the ball, Coleman illustrated that he could chip in at both the slot and outside the numbers at Tennessee. Coleman was a reliable contributor in the secondary with his good instincts, willingness to take on better receivers in man-coverage, his tenacity and tackling skills versus the run and his ability to play in zone and off-man coverage.

On the downside, Coleman did have issues when it came to peeking in the backfield and turning his hips fluidly on a consistent basis. In addition to questions about his deep-speed when beat in man-coverage, Coleman was also sloppy at times with his overall footwork in space against quicker and faster receivers. Issues aside, Coleman has the potential to be a reliable nickelback or dimeback at the professional level and a constant contributor on special teams.

For a defensive backfield in need of as much help as Pittsburgh’s, one has to figure Coleman could compete for a roster spot during his rookie season. The Steelers need to build for the future at cornerback, and that means they must solidify their depth chart from the top to the bottom.

Next: Round 7