A look at who the Steelers should pick in the 2016 NFL Draft.
The secondary is the prime focus for the Steelers in this draft, and more than likely what will be targeted with the first two picks. It is hard to assume the order in which they like the top-level Cornerbacks as all pre-draft visits for the position have been those expected to go in the later rounds. There are two routes they could take, if the Corner they want (potentially Eli Apple, William Thomas or Mackensie Alexander) isn’t there, then they may go ahead and pick the Safety at the top of their board as an alternate, hoping a quality corner that they had scouted would be available at pick 58.
The overall draft focus has to be on defense. While O-Line depth, receiver depth or even another Quarterback is warranted and useful, the team needs immediate role players who can come in and contribute on the defensive side of the ball.
The showing of love to Ohio State players in the first round continues with the Steelers getting their Cornerback. Apple is strong, very fast and will bring an aggressive approach to the position. Apple has the height that has been lacking at Corner for the Black and Gold, and could prove to be a quality starter for years to come.
The pick here last week was Karl Joseph who won’t make it to pick 58, but with Neal the Steelers get a quick explosive player with a strong motor. NFL.COM compares him to the Saints’ Kenny Vaccaro, a player Pittsburgh wanted in the 2013 draft that was taken two picks before they took Jarvis Jones. Neal looks NFL ready and could come in and play right away, something that could be vital this season.
Day could come right in and contribute on the defensive line. His versatility would make him very valuable on the interior in sub-packages or while spelling Heyward and Tuitt when they tire. Sure he is undersized but maybe Coach Butler plans on having big Daniel McCullers in on first down and obvious running downs.
The initial comparison for Prescott is to a former dual-threat SEC Quarterback by the name of Tim Tebow. Whether that is fair or not remains to be seen. If Prescott is taught the right way at the next level he definitely has some potential. His size is good at 6’2 220, and he has a very quick release and a big arm. He can withstand a lot of contact but shouldn’t have to over his first few years as he learns the NFL game. If brought along the right way he has the potential as he is a proven winner to this point.
Friend is a strong player who played on a quality Temple team and went against very good defenders every day in practice. He is versatile with the ability to play Center and Guard and shows a lot of grit. He impressed scouts at his pro day when he posted 41 bench reps at 225 lbs. The best number at the NFL Scouting Combine was 34.
In an attempt to add another corner to the mix through the draft the Steelers could take a flyer on Crawly. Where he lacks in bulk and strength he makes up for in speed (4.41, 40 at his pro day).
In contrast to Sheldon Day, Balducci is a very big man who can play the nose position. Listed at 6’4 and weighing 310 pounds he plugged the middle at Oregon helping potential Top-10 pick DeForest Buckner wreak havoc in the offensive backfield. He could pay off as a late selection because he seems to have more of a motor than current Steeler Daniel McCullers.