ESPN draft analyst Mel Kiper Jr. released the latest version of his mock draft on Wednesday and it includes several surprises not related to the Pittsburgh Steelers.
For starters, Kiper again has the Steelers selecting Houston cornerback William Jackson III with the 25th overall selection just as he did in his last mock draft. Kiper writes of his choice for the Steelers.
The Steelers could be a better secondary away from Super Bowl contention, and while you don’t want to rely on rookies back there too often, Pittsburgh doesn’t have a choice and should add talent wherever there’s value to be had. Jackson is rising on boards everywhere and could be a good get at this stage.
There’s no doubt that the Steelers have interest in Jackson as not only does he check several boxes when it comes to what they look for in a cornerback, they also had a large contingent at his March pro day that included head coach Mike Tomlin and general manager Kevin Colbert. Should the Steelers ultimately wind up selecting a cornerback in the first round of the 2016 NFL Draft, Jackson will likely be the pick.
Kiper, by the way, has Jackson coming off the board one pick ahead of Ohio State cornerback Eli Apple as he has the Seattle Seahawks selecting him 26th overall. As far as other new developments in Kiper’s latest mock draft, he now has Clemson cornerback Mackensie Alexander and Eastern Kentucky edge-rusher Noah Spence both falling into the second round.
As I have noted recently after breaking down Alexander’s tape from 2014 and 2015, I won’t be shocked if the Clemson cornerback winds up being a second-round selection.
As for Baylor defensive tackle Andrew Billings and Louisiana Tech defensive tackle Vernon Butler, Kiper still has both players falling outside of round