2015 Steelers NFL Mock Draft: 7 Rounds v14.0

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Mandatory Credit: Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports

With Brett Keisel gone, the Steelers will need to add some depth along their defensive line during the upcoming draft. Cam Thomas is Pittsburgh’s only defensive end with any extensive experience at the professional level, and Daniel McCullers is the only nose tackle on the roster with any regular season playing time logged as well.

Cameron Heyward, Stephon Tuitt and Steve McLendon do form a solid starting three, but Pittsburgh could try to add someone to the roster to challenge McCullers and Thomas for playing time in the future. If the Steelers are trying to find value in the later stages of the draft, Warren Herring of Wisconsin could be a developmental prospect who makes sense for them.

Herring was a reliable and consistent contributor in the Badgers’ defensive line rotation during his final three years at the college level. Mostly a gap-clogging nose tackle or one-technique, Herring did plenty of dirty work in the trenches for Wisconsin’s defense. Overall, Herring recorded 47 tackles, 4.5 sacks and 10.5 TFLs from 2011-2014.

Due to his experience as a two-gap player, Herring could be a nice fit in the Steelers defensive scheme in the mold of a Chris Hoke. Armed with the frame of a bowling ball (6’2″ 287 lbs.) and adequate strength, the former Badger has a high-motor, some decent short-area explosiveness, and a penchant for taking on double-teams so his teammates could flow to the ball.

Unfortunately for Herring, he is still very much a work in progress at this point in his career and is likely destined to be a role player at the professional level. In addition to overrunning plays, Herring was also taken out of plays at times when he did not get the types of proper pad level and bend when he tried to anchor at the point of attack. Herring also had issues getting off the ball quickly on a consistent basis, and his hand placement could use some improvement as well.

Issues aside, the Steelers should only be in the market for developmental prospect along their defensive line this offseason. Herring has some tools and the experience which would make him a fit as a nose tackle or potentially a defensive end in Pittsburgh’s 3-4 defensive scheme, and I can see him being a logical option for the team in the seventh round or as a priority free agent.

Next: Is This The Year Of The McCullers?

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