2015 Draft

Steelers 2015 Draft: Top 40 Big Board 3.0

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The Big Board drives on as we get further into the offseason!

In order to hopefully spur on more discussion and keep things dynamic I’ve again included 10 more players. I’ve added some running backs. You can kill me for this but I don’t see Todd Gurley or Melvin Gordon as being there for the Pittsburgh Steelers right now outside of round 1. 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 and second Big Boards.

I finally gave into my own intuition and put Alvin Dupree over Dante Fowler Jr.. I still like a lot about what Fowler brings to the table so they are 1a and 1b as far as I’m concerned. Dupree is still raw but I just see him as being a special player at the next level. The more I watch of Shane Ray and Randy Gregory the more I think they’re overrated and won’t be great system fits.

Please remember there is still a long way to go in the whole draft process. I will continue to add 10 names each week and this board may look completely different by April.

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 3.0

1) 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.

2) 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.

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) 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.

5) 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.

6) 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.

7) 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.

8) 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

9) 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.

10) 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.

11) 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.

12) Quinten Rollins – Cornerback – Miami of Ohio – 6’0″ 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.

13) 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.

14) 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.

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. The more tape I watch of Ifo the more I think he’s going to be a special player.

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) Alex Carter – Cornerback – Stanford – 6’0″ 202 lbs. – He’s got good size. I like him a lot as a press corner. He also looks comfortable playing zone. He’ll help out in run support. If he doesn’t jam his man well in press he’s not great in man coverage. Not a guy with great deep speed. I need to see more tape on him.

21) 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.

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) 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.

24) 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.

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) 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.

27) David Johnson – Running Back – Northern Iowa – 6’1″ 229 lbs. – He’s a big boy who can be an asset in the passing game. I love his jump cut ability. Johnson’s not very quick though. He was a guy that really popped at the East-West Shrine Game and Senior Bowl though. Scouts on scene noted that his leadership skills were evident as he was firing up teammates. These are the kind of reports you want to hear.

28) 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.

29) 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.

30) Lorenzo Mauldin – Defensive End/Outside Linebacker – Louisville – 6’4″ 252 lbs. – I love the motor on this kid. He’s very physical and I like his vision on the field. However… he doesn’t bend well. He plays too high. He can’t convert speed to power well at all. But he plays the run pretty well. Might not become an All Pro but he’s a solid football player you’d like to have as depth at least.

31) 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.

32) Steven Nelson – Cornerback – Oregon State – 5’11” 194 lbs. – He’s got decent but not great size. He seems like a typical Steelers cornerback (minus the length) because he’s a big tackler and never backs down in the run game. Good closing speed but not great acceleration. He’s a little too quick to take a holding penalty. He’ll punish receivers and give you a lot in a Dick LeBeau style defense but he’ll never be a top cover corner.

33) David Cobb – Running Back – Minnesota – 5’11” 220 lbs. – He’s a physical runner who is going to do his best work after first contact. I like his patience in setting up blocks. Not a great receiver out of the backfield though. Not a guy that does great on outside runs. He’s got ball security issues. I like him in a zone running scheme and I think he could be a great compliment back to Le’Veon Bell.

34) Ronald Darby – Cornerback Florida State – 5’11” 195 lbs. – Very fast corner. Darby is a special teams contributor. He’s a good cover corner who can be physical but also use his speed to eliminate separation. Good recovery speed too. Good at breaking up passes but he’s not a ballhawk. He’s a little bit up and down in his play. Some possible character concerns as he was witness in the Jameis Winston sexual assault allegations.

35) Quandre Diggs – Cornerback – Texas – 5’10” 195 lbs. – Diggs is an intriguing cornerback prospect. He’s a four-year starter that played in the slot and outside. I worry that he doesn’t have the size to play on the perimeter (although the same could be said about Olomu) He’s a smooth, fluid athlete with great football IQ. He’s not ultra fast though and I’m not sure he has the short area quickness to deal with some of the smaller, shiftier slot receivers. Might be at the bottom of the next Big Board even with 10 more names added.

36) Cody Prewitt – Free Safety – Mississippi – 6’2″ 217 lbs. – 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.  I watched more tape on Cody and I was not impressed. He’s just too indecisive and not physical enough.

37) T.J. Yeldon – Running Back – Alabama – 6’2″ 221 lbs. – It’s been said before that when you’re choosing a backup quarterback your best bet is a QB similar to your starter. That same theory could be applied to the running back position. If your star running back goes down, you have a guy that can fit a similar role. I like Yeldon more than most people. Some people dislike his upright running style but this was a knock on Bell coming out as well. He’s got a good frame. He has quick feet. I like his jump cuts and his crazy good lateral agility. Now, for the bad news. Yeldon’s not very good in pass protection. Have to watch closer but I’m not sure if it’s due to effort, technique, ability, or a combination of all three. He’s got ball security concerns. He doesn’t have blazing speed or tremendous power in his game. However, I think he could be an excellent backup to Lev Bell.

38) 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.

39) Ali Marpet – Center/Guard – Hobart – 6’4″ 310 lbs. – Marpet impressed a lot of people at the Senior Bowl. Extremely consistent. He’s a small school guy with respectable strength, who uses his hands well. He’s got good leverage and uses great technique. Marpet will get knocked hard for playing Division III competition but he dominated as you would hope. I think he could play center or guard in a zone scheme. He would be a great eventual replacement for Ramon Foster.

40) Jesse James – Tight End – Penn State – 6’7″ 254 lbs. – This kid is incredibly tall even for a tight end. He needs a little more meat on the bones. He’s an average run blocker at best. I like his ability to get open in zones and I love his height in the red zone. He’s not a smooth route runner at all though. He’s not as physical as he should be, either, for a guy his size. Hard to say what his true potential is at the next level.

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