Another major media draft analyst has released a mock draft update ahead of Thursday night and this one includes the Pittsburgh Steelers being given a defensive back that many consider to be a border-line first night prospect.
Rob Rang of CBSSports.com has the Pittsburgh Steelers selecting Utah cornerback/safety Eric Rowe with the 22nd overall selection in his most recent attempt at guessing the first-round of the 2015 NFL Draft.
New defensive coordinator Keith Butler inherits a once-proud unit in desperate need of an infusion of youth and speed. After heavy investments in the front seven over the past several years, the Steelers may turn to the secondary. Rowe has the length and physicality Pittsburgh has traditionally valued at the position and offers versatility, after starring at free safety earlier in his career.
Rowe is Rang’s fourth cornerback off the board in his latest offering as he also has Trae Waynes, Byron Jones and Jalen Collins all being selected in the first 20 picks. It’s curious that Rang has the Steelers passing on Washington’s Marcus Peters, who like Rowe, was brought in for a pre-draft visit.
At Utah, Rowe started all but one of the 47 games that he played in. 34 of those starts came at free safety, three at strong safety and ten at strong-side cornerback. During that span he recorded 261 tackles (158 solos) with seven stops for losses that included 1.5 sacks. He was credited with 35 total passes defensed and three interceptions.
Rang also has a second round mock in his latest offering and that includes the Steelers selecting Minnesota tight end Maxx Williams with the 56th overall selection.
The Steelers re-signed Matt Spaeth to a two-year deal so tight end may not be a critical need with longtime starter Heath Miller entering the final year of his deal. At this point in the draft, though, Williams’ upside (and fit in this scheme) may be too much to pass up.
Williams, who early in the offseason was considered to be a sure-fire first-round selection by many major media draftniks, started 19-of-25 games at Minnesota, catching 61 passes for 986 yards and 13 touchdowns. His 2014 season ended with him being a finalists for the John Mackey Award, which is given annually to the nation’s best tight end.