No matter how much anyone’s stock rose at the 2014 NFL Scouting Combine, all the players at the top of the Steelers board remain within their reach in the 2014 NFL draft.
Sure, not everyone among Mike Evans, Justin Gilbert, Darqueze Dennard, Ha Ha Clinton-Dix, Calvin Pryor and Louis Nix will be available when the Steelers pick at No. 15. But at least one of them will be.
This will not be a repeat of 2012, when Dontari Poe went to the Steelers at No. 24 in a lot of pre-combine mock drafts. Then the Memphis nose tackle blew away everyone at the combine with 44 reps in the bench press and skyrocketed into the top half of the first round, eventually going to the Kansas City Chiefs at No. 11.
Current Steelers nose tackle Loni Fangupo tied for third at the 2012 combine with 36 reps in the bench press, but he’s struggling to crack the lineup. Poe made the Pro Bowl in 2013 for a playoff team. The Steelers could have used Poe in 2013. They allowed 4.3 yards per carry, the most they’ve allowed since 1999.
Not that the Steelers had to “settle” for David DeCastro in the 2012 draft. He’s on a Pro Bowl track, and if they could get him at No. 24 in 2012, they can get Evans, Gilbert, Dennard, Clinton-Dix, Pryor or Nix at No. 15 this year.