You can tell that the end of the 2015 NFL season is near as the 2016 NFL mock drafts are now starting to surface on the major media sites.
Todd McShay of ESPN.com released his first version on Wednesday and the longtime draft analyst has the Pittsburgh Steelers selecting Tennessee cornerback Cameron Sutton in the first round with the 24th overall selection.
The Steelers will need to address the cornerback position somehow this offseason. Sutton would be a good option if they want to pick one early. At 5-11, 196 pounds, he’s at his best in press-man coverage. His closing burst has helped him rack up six interceptions and 26 pass breakups over the past three seasons.
Sutton is expected to declare for the draft in the coming weeks. He was a three-year starter at Tennessee and that included him starting all 37 games during his college career.
While Sutton did record 26 total pass breakups and 6 interceptions during his career at Tennessee, he only had 6 pass breakups and 1 interception in 2015.
During the upcoming offseason, the Steelers are expected to re-sign unrestricted free agent William Gay and exclusive rights free agent Ross Cockrell. Additionally, 2015 draft picks, Senquez Golson and Doran Grant, will both be competing for starting jobs over the summer as will disappointing veteran Cortez Allen, whose 2015 season ended very early due to a knee injury. Even with all of those bodies expected to be present for training camp in late July, the Steelers will more than likely spend a 2016 draft pick on another cornerback.
Being as the Steelers haven’t selected a cornerback in the first round since 1997 when they drafted Chad Scott, it’s hard to imagine at this point in the offseason that that streak will be broken in 2016 and especially if they wind up picking later in round one.
As usual, these ultra-early mock drafts that take place prior to the scouting combine should be taken with a grain of salt. More than anything, they should be used to help introduce to players.
As the offseason progresses, we’ll have a thorough draft profile of Sutton after we have time to watch multiple games of his.