Bucky Brooks is one of the latest major media draft analyst to release a new mock draft version and after previously having the Pittsburgh Steelers select Houston cornerback William Jackson III with the 25th overall pick in the first round of the 2016 NFL Draft, he now has Ohio State cornerback Eli Apple headed to the black and gold with that pick.
Brooks writes of the Apple selection:
The Steelers covet long, rangy corners with ball skills and instincts to thrive in a zone-based system. Apple is an intriguing prospect with a championship pedigree and a rapidly improving game.
While the Steelers haven’t taken a cornerback in the first round of a draft since 1997, they certainly haven’t shied away from drafting players out of Ohio State in round one. Apple, who measured in at the 2016 NFL Scouting Combine at 6005, 199-pounds, had four interceptions in his two years at Ohio State. However, it should be noted that he also drew seven pass interference flags during that span because of a tendency to be too grabby in coverage. Last season, Apple was targeted 58 times in coverage and allowed 24 receptions and 2 touchdowns, according to STATS.
The fact that Apple only played in 28 games during his college career is a bit concerning when it comes to him being the Steelers first-round selection this year as while the organization has never been afraid to draft underclassmen in round-one, they generally prefer that those younger players have a little more playing time experience.
Brooks has Apple as being the third cornerback drafted in the first round of his latest mock draft and this version also includes Jackson being selected 28th overall by the Kansas City Chiefs.