Hey guys I haven't commented here in a little bit, but I'm done with my mock draft and was wondering if you guys could critique it.
Everyone knows the Steelers draft philosophy; draft for value. With a deep DE class, I believe Kevin Colbert will be targeting a player like Muhammad Wilkerson or Cameron Heyward to be the future DE as they did with Ziggy Hood two years back. The only problem is that the top tier of defensive lineman that fit the 3-4 are destined to be gone by pick #31. Another position people believe Pittsburgh is targeting is the offensive line, but Max Starks and Maurkice Pouncey are coming back from injury and should solidify the line for next year. With that being said, I believe CB is a glaring need in the defense, and needs to be addressed very early on in the draft. Throughout the season, the Steelers were able to beat just about any team they played, but when they faced an elite passer they struggled. Drew Brees and the Saints were able to handle the defense, and Tom Brady and the Patriots embarrassed the Steelers secondary. When the super bowl came around and Pittsburgh faced an elite passer in Aaron Rodgers, the Steelers could not handle it. After Rodgers’s 300 yard 3 TD performance, teams realized the way to beat the Steelers is to spread out the defense and isolate the cornerbacks. The NFL is shifting into a passing league, and at this point you can’t have enough cornerbacks. Unfortunately for the Steelers, top CB Ike Taylor is a free agent and will get looks from many teams this upcoming off season. Nickel back William Gay is also a free agent, and #2CB Bryant McFadden statistically had the worst season of any cornerback in 2010. With that being said, cornerback is a desperate need in Pittsburgh. Brandon Harris is more of a man coverage CB, so wouldn’t fit well in Pittsburgh’s zone scheme, and Aaron Williams may translate into a FS at the NFL level and doesn’t fit the scheme perfectly. Fortunately Ras-I Dowling would be an absolute perfect fit for the Steelers. Dowling fought injuries last season at Virginia, and saw his NFL draft stock drop from a potential top 15 pick to a high second round grade. If he had performed decently, I’m convinced he would be ranked up there with Prince Amukamura. Unlike Brandon Harris, Ras-I played in a zone defense in college, and with his fluid hips would translate in the NFL as a zone CB. Because of that, he fits the mold of a Steeler cornerback perfectly, and is perfect for their zone blitz scheme. On top of coverage skills, Dowling has great size and strength and will be able to help in run support often. He also has great soft hands and has the ability to intercept balls and become a game changer. Pittsburgh lacks this from Ike Taylor and the CB’s who had just 5 interceptions last season. On top of all this, former Virginia Head Coach Al Groh has praised Dowling’s character and regards him as a class act, a trait the Rooney’s absolutely love in their draft picks. Though Pittsburgh’s defense is complicating to learn and will take some time, Dowling can play in the nickel his rookie season in case a team picks up William Gay. In the end, if all works out and injuries are not a problem, the Steelers are getting a stud CB in Ras-I Dowling who has the potential to develop into an exceptional NFL cornerback.
Sleeper Pick: Kyle Rudolph/TE-Notre Dame