2015 Draft

Steelers 2015 Draft: Top 30 Big Board 2.0

Last week’s first Steelers Depot Big Board of the 2015 NFL Draft was met with largely positive results. There was a lot of good discussion and some people felt there weren’t enough of some positions and certain players should’ve been on the board.

In order to hopefully spur on more discussion and keep things dynamic I’ve included 10 more players. One has dropped off the board and some have been shuffled after more game film has been studied. I’ve shortened up notes on some of the guys already mentioned for brevity’s sake. If you want to see the full notes check out the first Big Board here.

I was severely close to putting Alvin Dupree as my #1 player but I see a little bit of Pernell McPhee in him and I think I might be getting biased. I’ve watched Randy Gregory and Shane Ray’s games multiple times and I just don’t see them as the elite pass rushers that the national media seems to.

Please remember this is a fluid board that is subject to change as we move further along in the process. If you have some players you think should be on there that aren’t or you see a guy that you think shouldn’t even be in the discussion feel free to tell me but also include why you think that in your comment. So without further ado here is the Steelers Depot Big Board 2.0

1) Dante Fowler Jr. – Defensive End/Outside Linebacker – Florida – 6’3″ 265 lbs. – I doubt he makes it to the Steelers but Fowler is built like a Steelers linebacker. I worry about his ability to set the edge in the run game but his pass rushing abilities are intriguing. He has violent hands and some excellent pass rush moves and counters.

2) Alvin “Bud” Dupree – Defensive End/Outside Linebacker – Kentucky – 6’4″ 270 lbs. – Dupree might be one of the best prospects in this draft capable of playing the “Elephant” role in some new hybrid looks in the Steelers defense. He’s got great length and agility. He had 24 sacks in his college career and one was one of the better pass rushers in college football in 2015. Dangerously close to surpassing Fowler as my #1

3) Maxx Williams – Tight End – Minnesota – 6’4″ 250 lbs. – Maxx is easily the top tight end in this class. He might be off the board before the Steelers pick because of it being such a weak tight end class. He’s a true dual threat tight end. His body control makes him a threat on the sidelines and in the red zone where the Steelers have really struggled.

4) Trae Waynes – Cornerback – Michigan State – 6-1″ 183 lbs. – This is a weak cornerback class but I think Waynes could be a good fit in Pittsburgh. Plays a lot like Kyle Fuller. He’s a versatile corner that can be your #1 corner. He has great awareness and ball skills.

5) Marcus Peters – Cornerback – Washington – 6’0″ 190 lbs. – If I was going off pure natural talent he might be #1. He’s a phenomenal athlete with good size. He can play press man, off man, and in zone. Short area quickness is impressive. He is an absolute head case off the field.

6) Vic Beasley – Defensive End/Outside Linebacker – Clemson – 6’2″ 235 lbs. – Beasley is stupid fast for an outside linebacker prospect. His first step is incredibly explosive. But honestly he reminds me too much of a player already on the Steelers roster: Jarvis Jones. Beasley was moved around a lot in 2014 and some of his production was inflated as a result. He can’t shed blocks.

7) Brandon Scherff – Offensive Tackle/Guard – Iowa – 6’5″ 320 lbs. – Iowa has produced some really great NFL offensive line talent over the past few years. He can play tackle, probably even left tackle, but I think he could be a monster at guard. He has the power to get great push. He has the athleticism and lateral agility to pull and get to the second level. Needs to be more tenacious in pass protection. I’m not sure he falls to the Steelers but if he did he could combine with Maurkice Pouncey and David DeCastro to make a nasty interior of that offensive line.

8) Landon Collins – Strong Safety – Alabama – 6’0″ 220 lbs. – Not sure the Steelers want to draft a strong safety with Shamarko Thomas waiting in the wings but they might not be able to pass on the talent of Collins if he’s there. He’s a splash play waiting to happen.

9) Jalen Collins – Cornerback – LSU – 6’2″ 195 lbs. – Collins is an intriguing size/speed prospect. He’s a big corner but he doesn’t defend the run as well as he should for a guy his size

10) Shane Ray – Defensive End/Outside Linebacker – Missouri – – 6’3” 245 lbs. – Ray is a fantastic athlete with elite athleticism. He’s got crazy speed around the edge. He has a really high motor and he can get great bend but it’s not consistent. He might be best suited within a 4-3 scheme being used in the same way Von Miller is.

11) Randy Gregory – Defensive End/Outside Linebacker – Nebraska – 6’6″ 240 lbs. – Long, rangy athlete plays similar to Browns outside linebacker Barkevious Mingo. Explosive first step when standing up. He can use a bevy of different pass rush moves. He’s able to get off blocks pretty effectively. He was a key member of the Huskers defense that got kicked in the teeth when Melvin Gordon ran roughshod for 408 yards on them. He just cannot set the edge.

12) Jordan Phillips – Defensive Tackle – Oklahoma – 6’6″ 334 lbs. – I’ve pretty much ignored nose tackle and I intend to stick to that because I believe Steve McLendon is a great starter with Dan McCullers being his promising young backup and understudy. However, I’ve made an exception with Phillips. He’s a huge guy that plays like a smaller player (in a good way). A guy his size shouldn’t be that explosive. He can line up at nose tackle but he would also cause some serious headaches for offensive lines in sub packages. He can eat space and allow linebackers to flow or he can be a dangerous penetrator. I do worry that he’s got an inconsistent motor and might be struck with Albert Haynesworth disease.

13) Quinten Rollins – Cornerback – Miami of Ohio – 5’11″” 203 lbs. – Rollins is a former basketball player with only one year of college football experience. He is extremely raw but extremely talented. He’s going to need some serious coaching at the next level. Tremendous upside.

14) Tyler Kroft – Tight End – Rutgers – 6’6″ 240 lbs. – I love Kroft’s size and versatility. I think he can play in-line, get split out wide or be an H-back. He’s a crazy good blocker, which could give him instant starting potential. He can be a deep threat too. I worry about his hands and the fact that he doesn’t seem like a natural route runner at times. Intriguing guy.

15) Ifo Ekpre-Olomu – Cornerback – Oregon – 5-9″ 195 lbs. – He was viewed as one of the top cornerback prospects until his terrible knee injury. He lacks the height you would expect in a top-flight cornerback but he has some absolutely elite athletic skills. I still love Ifo’s ability but his knee injury likely has him falling out of the first two rounds.

16) Derron Smith – Safety – Fresno State – 5’11” 195 lbs. – He’s an incredible ballhawk that can cover receivers and provide solid run support in the box. He’s got great vision and awareness but he still takes poor angles. Height and weight are a concern when he’s going up against tight ends. Could provide much needed playmaking ability in the secondary.

17) P.J. Williams – Cornerback – Florida State – 6’0″ 195 lbs. – Williams has good size and an impressive resume as the defensive MVP of the 2014 BCS National Championship. Plays a lot of press-man. He has a reckless style of play which is great when he’s making hits but it causes him to overpursue and misdiagnose plays sometimes.

18) Hau’Oli Kikaha – Defensive End/Outside Linebacker – Washington – 6’2 1/2″ 246 lbs. – I just did a full write-up on Kikaha (insert link here). I don’t think he has a really high ceiling but I think he can quickly become a contributor. I’m not as concerned with his injury history as some.

19) Owamagbe Odighizuwa – Defensive End/Outside Linebacker – UCLA – 6’3″ 270 lbs. – He wins the hardest name in the Draft to pronounce contest. He’s extremely strong and can be a great run defender from day one. Relentless motor but he’s not very polished as a pass rusher. The more I see of him the more I like. He’s moving up slowly.

20) Cameron Erving – Florida State – 6’5” 310 lbs. – Tackle/Guard/Center – Erving is an extremely versatile lineman with a rare combination of size and athleticism. He excelled at all three positions. Although I don’t see tackle, center or even guard as extremely high needs for the Steelers, Erving would easily be the eventual replacement for Ramon Foster and could be the ultimate swing lineman in the meantime.

21) Cody Prewitt – Free Safety – Mississippi – 6’2″ 217 lbs. – Prewitt probably won’t be an Earl Thomas at the next level but he could be a cheaper, better replacement for Mike Mitchell by 2016. I like his size and build. He doesn’t have the natural agility and explosiveness you’d like. I doubt he will test well at the Combine. Good closing speed though. He’s not the banger you would expect given his size. He has good ball skills and is an instant special teams contributor. If the Steelers draft him I think Robert Golden is gone.

22) Preston Smith – Defensive End/Outside Linebacker – Mississippi State – 6’6″ 270 lbs. – Our own Alex Kozora did a great write up on Smith. I think he’s a big, versatile guy who can put offensive skill position players in a hurt locker. Alex stated that he lacks a true position which in a way I find to be a good thing. The same was said about Pernell McPhee for the last few years. The more multiple the Steelers get on defense the more they need a guy like Smith. Not overly fast, not extremely flexible. I like how he sets the edge and I love his length. Have to watch more tape on this big fella.

23) Kevin Johnson – Cornerback – Wake Forest – 6’0″ 175 lbs. – He’s got the length you want in a premier corner but none of the bulk. He has a really slight frame and I’m not sure he really can bulk up. He tends to get hurt underneath as he’s expecting receivers with deep speed to run the length of the field.

24) Eli Harold – Defensive End/Outside Linebacker – Virginia – 6’4″ 250 lbs – Harold was a 2 year starter in Charlottesville who contributed greatly to an outstanding Cavaliers defense. He doesn’t show great flexibility when rushing and lets linemen get into his chest too easily.

25) La’el Collins – Offensive Tackle/Guard – LSU – 6’5″ 321 lbs. – Collins could probably play right tackle but I think he’d be a fringe Pro Bowler at guard. He’s got a nice mean streak to him. I like him as a pass protector but the only problem with him moving to guard is he sometimes struggles with interior pass rushers (especially faster guys). He plays a little high sometimes. I worry that he’s going to be better suited for a power scheme.

26) Clive Walford – Tight End – Miami – 6’4″ 258 lbs. – Walford made himself some money at the Senior Bowl. He offers great value because he can line up as an H-back, in the slot and as an in-line blocker. I like him as an in-line blocker best and I think he uses his long arms well. Doesn’t have the best hands. He doesn’t have blazing speed to be a big time deep threat. Definitely needs work in his route running. He’s a very physical guy who could offer some value in the right round.

27) Laken Tomlinson – Offensive Guard – 6’3″ 330 lbs. – I like Tomlinson because of the fact that he’s strong and can push guys around. I don’t like the fact that he doesn’t always use great technique and he lacks the athleticism to pull and to get to the next level. I do see potential for growth, especially under Mike Munchak. Ramon Foster isn’t old but he isn’t irreplaceable either.

28) Nate Orchard – Defensive End/Outside Linebacker – Utah – 6’3″ 251 lbs. – I’m not as high on Orchard as some but I see the talent there. Good hand placement. He has enough strength at the point of attack to set the edge. He’s got pretty good size. To me he just doesn’t do anything extraordinarily well. Too much finesse for my liking. He doesn’t dip the edge like I’d like to see. Haven’t watched all his available games yet so he might still change my mind.

29) Devin Funchess – Tight End/Wide Receiver – Michigan – 6’5″ 230 lbs. – Nobody knows whether he’s going to be used as a TE or wideout. I like him much better as a tight end. He presents mismatch opportunities. He could stand to add some more weight to his frame. He’s a long strider. Have to watch more game tape to see how his blocking holds up.

30) Markus Golden – Defensive End/Outside Linebacker – Missouri – 6’3″ 260 lbs. – Shane Ray gets all the love compared to Golden. He’s a good tackler with a pretty high motor with excellent football intelligence. He’s a bull rusher with a mediocre pass-rushing repertoire that lacks great lateral agility. I worry he can’t do much at the next level because he doesn’t have great bend or great speed. He might be a candidate to get bounced off the board like Nick O’Leary was this week.

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