Pittsburgh needs a playmaker in the first round of the 2016 NFL Draft.
With the combine over teams can add some more finality to their draft boards. The Steelers need someone in the first round who will make plays for them, I think sooner rather than later.
Eli Apple CB – 6’1 – 199
Cornerback is a position everyone covets and one that is a glaring need for the team but it is also the defensive position with the longest learning curve. Mackensie Alexander and Vernon Hargeaves are the top two ranked corners that most draft authorities see going in the top ten (most probably out of reach for the Steelers).
After those two is Eli Apple who had a quality combine and has surely cemented himself as a first round pick. If they want to get their cornerback in the first round he may be their only option, but there is no guarantee that he is not snatched up before the 25th pick. Many mock drafts have the Steelers selecting Apple and if they see him as the highest on their board he could very well be the pick.
Noah Spence DE / OLB – Eastern Kentucky – 6’2 – 251
The 3-4 Zone Blitz scheme is predicated on pressure so while the need in the secondary is great, getting another player to collapse the pocket could prove to be just as important. Spence ran slower than expected at the combine and for that reason will fall to the end of the first round or possible the top of the second. He has had some issues that could be concerning testing positive for banned substances that caused his expulsion from the Big Ten conference. He claims to have turned things around at Eastern Kentucky and as a pass rusher could have an immediate impact as a rookie next year.
Leonard Floyd OLB – Georgia – 6’4 – 244
Unlike Spence, Floyd did have a quality combine running the 40 yard dash in 4.6 seconds and doing very well in the vertical and broad jumps. Perhaps Floyd could be what the team had in mind when they drafted Jarvis Jones with the 17th pick in 2013. Jones has improved but maybe a little slower than expected, his sack production is low and with James Harrison almost certainly in the last year of his career adding another first round linebacker to the team good really payoff this year and in the future.
I see the need for corner as much as anyone else I just think that signing William Gay and looking for another experienced corner while drafting a quality pass rusher could be more fruitful for the improving Steelers defense.