ESPN draftnik Mel Kiper Jr. released his newest mock draft on Thursday and this time around he has the Pittsburgh Steelers selecting Wake Forest cornerback Kevin Johnson with the 22nd overall pick in the first round.
The Steelers lack high-end talent at cornerback, and while Johnson, like all cornerbacks, doesn’t project as a star right away, he can play right away and helps this team where it needs help the most. A standout on a lousy team throughout his college career, Johnson has good length for the position and moves and mirrors as well as any cornerback in the draft. He can make man-to-man coverage look so easy at times, and he’s an active run defender. It’s hard to play while ahead in the NFL if you can’t cover, and the Steelers can improve their defense with this selection.
Kiper previously had the Steelers selecting Alabama safety Landon Collins in his previous two mock drafts. In his first mock of the offseason that was released in January, Kiper had the Steelers selecting Johnson.
Kiper only has one cornerback coming off of the board prior to the Steelers selection of Johnson as he has Michigan State’s Trae Waynes being selected by the Minnesota Vikings with the 11th overall pick.
It’s not hard to link Johnson to the Steelers. Head coach Mike Tomlin and general manager Kevin Colbert both attended Johnson’s Pro Day and dined with him while there. They also made sure to meet to talk with his parents during the annual college event.
We have been doing some extensive breakdowns of Johnson’s play against Florida State over the course of the last two seasons and you can see those posts by following the links below.