The major media mock drafts are pouring in following the 2016 NFL Scouting Combine and on Wednesday, ESPN draft analyst Todd McShay released his third version of his first-round predictions.
McShay, who in his last mock draft had the Pittsburgh Steelers selecting Ohio State cornerback Eli Apple 25th overall, now has Clemson cornerback Mackensie Alexander going to them in that spot in his latest offering.
Tight end is a need, and we have a first-round grade on Hunter Henry, but you have to think the Steelers are going to spend this pick on a defender. Quick-twitched, instinctive and capable versus the run, Alexander is a really good all-around player. But he finished college with zero interceptions and lacks ideal length; he measured 5-foot-10 with arms less than 31½ inches at the combine. Houston CB William Jackson III, who had an impressive combine workout and has really underrated tape, is another possibility here.
This isn’t the first time we’ve seen Alexander mocked to the Steelers in the first round and it probably won’t be the last time. The real concerns with Alexander right now, outside of him measuring in at under 5’11”, is the fact that he failed to register an interception during his college career. Additionally, it will be interesting to see how he performs at his upcoming pro day being as he only lifted at the combine this past week.
The fact that Steelers general manager Kevin Colbert views this year’s draft class deep at both the cornerback and safety position would easily lead you to believe that the team won’t be addressing either position this year in the first round. Additionally, it’s been 1997 since the team last drafted a cornerback in the first round and I just don’t see that changing this year. Even so, expect the major media to continue mocking a cornerback to the Steelers over the course of the next several weeks.