NFL Media analyst and former NFL general manager Charley Casserly released his first mock of the offseason a few days ago and he has a surprising pick for the Pittsburgh Steelers when it comes to their 25th overall selection.
Casserly has Miami cornerback Artie Burns going to the Steelers in the first round and he writes of his mock selection:
Some will say this is a reach but he is my next-best cornerback.
If that’s not surprising in itself, Casserly also has Burns coming off the board before top-rated cornerbacks William Jackson III and Mackensie Alexander.
Burns, who several other major media draft analysts have going somewhere in the second or third rounds of the draft, recorded 39 tackles and 6 interceptions last year at Miami. The 5-11, 193-pound underclassman ran a 4.46 second time in the 40-yard dash at the 2016 NFL Scouting Combine. While he did register 6 interceptions last year, Burns allowed 22 receptions for 334 yards and two touchdowns in the 47 times he was targeted in 2015, according to STATS.
As I have pointed out previously, the Steelers have a long history of only drafting cornerbacks who had entered the draft after their senior years of college so that’s seemingly one strike against Burns when it comes to the possibility of Pittsburgh drafting him. While Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin and general manager Kevin Colbert were both in attendance at Miami’s rainy pro day this year, there’s a good bet that they were there to see not only Burns, but safety Deon Bush as well. Bush, by the way, has already been brought to Pittsburgh for a pre-draft visit.
Should the Steelers ultimately wind up drafting a cornerback in the first round this year, my money is on Jackson being the selection. In my opinion, Burns won’t hear his name called until the second or third round.