2015 Steelers NFL Mock Draft: 7 Rounds v19.0
Mandatory Credit: Matt Kartozian-USA TODAY Sports
In a surprise move, the Steelers did not cut defensive end Cam Thomas after a dismal 2014 season and instead released Brett Keisel after “Da Beard” played some productive football before he sustained a season-ending injury. In addition, the front office also signed free agent Clifton Geathers to compete for a backup role along the defensive line.
While these moves made sense in terms of filling the back-end of their depth chart, the Steelers could use some young and promising depth behind their formidable starting three in the defensive trenches. If Henry Anderson of Stanford falls into the early stages of the fourth round, then I would have to believe that Pittsburgh would be interested in selecting him.
Anderson is not going to “wow” people with ridiculous athletic ability from the defensive trenches. He’s not much of a gap-shooter/one-gap player, and he is likely destined to be a fit in a 3-4 defense. Moreover, Anderson’s recent injury history at the college level is a definite cause for concern for teams looking to take him high. Questions aside, Anderson would be a tremendous fit for a defense which employs a 3-4 defensive scheme and is in the market for a guy to be a valuable role player at different positions along the defensive line.
The former Cardinal defensive end has a prototypical 5-technique frame (6’6” 294 lbs., 33.5” arms), plays with good instincts, possesses the strength to hold up against the run, and also can provide some pocket collapse with an effective bull-rush. A three-year starter in Stanford’s 3-4 scheme (2012-2014: 134 tackles, 35.0 TFLs, 17.5 sacks, 7 PDs), Anderson enjoyed an extremely productive collegiate career and did plenty of dirty work while manning two-gaps so playmakers like Shayne Skov and Trent Murphy could shine.
Although the Steelers retained Thomas and signed Geathers this offseason, they still need to add more competition and depth behind Heyward and Tuitt. A player like Anderson would represent an upgrade over the two veterans, and Pittsburgh needs insurance and capable role players behind their two best defensive linemen.
Next: Round 5