Overall, the 2015 draft haul for the Pittsburgh Steelers looks very good on paper. The secondary was an obvious area of need for the team going in, and turnovers were lacking so what did they do? They added a cornerback in Senquez Golson that snared 10 picks last year, best in the nation at his position. He compares favorably to Miami Dolphins’ Pro Bowler, Brent Grimes, and despite his short stature at a lick under 5-foot-9, he possesses Pro Bowl potential himself.
The team double-dipped at the position, adding Ohio State’s Doran Grant in the fourth round. “In this sense, a corner that has matched up with some top-notch programs has seen a lot of receivers that have gone in probably the first, second or third round,” Steelers defensive backs coach Carnell Lake said, according to Steelers.com. “Ohio State has seen them. They have played them in the biggest game there is in college football and that would be in the National Championship game. To have that kind of experience and step right into the NFL, gives him a slight advantage.”
The team sprinkled in a few offensive picks, including Auburn’s burner of a wide receiver, Sammie Coates. It’s clear he possesses the ability to absolutely blow the roof off a defense, and one need look no further than his torching of Alabama in the Iron Bowl, when he caught only 5 balls but racked up an Iron Bowl record 206 yards with scores from 34 and 68 yards out.
In the seventh, the team added interception machine, safety Gerod Holliman, of Louisville, who some draft analysts had going as high as the second round. He had 14 interceptions last year, which is the same amount Ike Taylor had in his entire career, but he seems to shy away from contact, which is his biggest question mark. His ball skills are top-notch though so OTA’s and training camp will be key for him.
Overall, six of the team’s draft picks were spent investing youth and athleticism into the defensive side of the ball.
“We knew we had more holes to fill defensively when you just look at our roster,” general manager Kevin Colbert said, according to Ed Bouchette of the Pittsburgh-Post Gazette. “We thought it was going to be a 6-2 ratio [defense-offense] and if it was close we were going to favor the defense.”
Overall, their draft looks good on paper, and it’s clearly highlighted by their first rounder, Bud Dupree, the freakishly talented linebacker out of Kentucky. They double-dipped at that position as well, adding University of Miami’s Anthony Chickillo in the sixth round. A hustle player with a non-stop motor, he’s a versatile player who while watching his game tape, sort of reminds you of former Baltimore Ravens standout, Jarrett Johnson.
“The Steelers got a break when Dupree fell to them to fill a major need,” said Pete Prisco, an NFL writer for CBS Sports. “They landed a couple of corners in rounds two and four, which they had to do. It was a solid draft, one I like more than most because I like Dupree.”