Most of the national media mock drafts that we’ve seen so far this year have the Pittsburgh Steelers selecting either tight end Hunter Henry or one of a few different cornerbacks with the 25th overall selection. Earlier this week, NFL Media draft analyst Charles Davis released his first mock draft of the offseason and like several others, he has the Steelers drafting a cornerback in the first round.
Davis slotted Ohio State cornerback Eli Apple to the Steelers at 25 overall and he writes:
Apple is another good cover guy who improved each year in school, and fits a big need for the Steelers.
According to STATS, Apple, who is expected to measure in this week at the 2016 NFL Scouting Combine at around 6’1″, 200-pounds, was targeted 58 times in 2015 and allowed 24 catches of which two were touchdowns. He also registered 33 total tackles in 2015 and just one interception, and totaled 22 passes defended over the course of the last two seasons
Apple decided to declare for the 2016 NFL Draft as a redshirt sophomore back in January after playing in 28 games at Ohio State.
It will be interesting to see what Apple runs this coming weekend at the combine as he certainly doesn’t appear to have 4.4 or lower speed. Many estimate he will run around a 4.5 or slightly higher, but that wouldn’t be too bad considering his size.
Apple is likely to be the third or fourth cornerback off the board this year so there’s definitely a chance he’ll still be unselected come time for the Steelers 25th overall selection in the first round. Pittsburgh, however, hasn’t drafted a cornerback in the first round since 1997.