Yesterday, CBS Sports released their first With The First Pick mock draft, which is a mock comprised by a group that includes CBS Sports analysts Ryan Wilson, Chris Trapasso, Josh Edwards and former NFL General Manager Rick Spielman. With the 17th pick, the group had the Steelers selecting University of Georgia cornerback Kelee Ringo. Spielman made the pick for the Steelers
“Mike Tomlin has a history of adding guys with this much talent who maybe didn’t play as well, and he has a tendency to bring the best out of players. And I think if he got a hold of Ringo, that he is going to be an excellent corner in that defense, especially if Mike Tomlin gets his hands on him,” he wrote in justification for the pick.
He also noted he believed it was too early to select USC wide receiver Jordan Addison, who played with Kenny Pickett at the University of Pittsburgh. With Pickett throwing him the ball, Addison won the Biletnikoff Award for the best collegiate wide receiver.
Ringo was a consensus top-ten selection before the season, but he struggled in his redshirt sophomore campaign as he consistently got beat in coverage and struggled with mental lapses. Yesterday, Jonathan Heitritter tweeted that Ringo’s mental lapses and technical errors don’t make him worthy of a first-round selection.
In this mock, Ringo was the second cornerback off the board after Penn State’s Joey Porter Jr. It would be really hard to justify selecting Ringo over the likes of South Carolina’s Cam Smith or Oregon’s Christian Gonzalez.
I’m not a proponent of taking Addison or any receiver in the first round, but I would be much more in favor of taking one than Ringo. The production absolutely did not match the preseason hype this season, and while he might eventually develop into a solid corner, it’s way too much of a risk to select him in the first round.
While cornerback is a position of need for the Steelers, Ringo just isn’t the guy. Gonzalez, Smith, Porter Jr. (who obviously wasn’t available in this mock), or Illinois’ Devon Witherspoon would all be better selections here than Ringo. If those guys are off the board by No. 17, then the Steelers would be wise to turn their focus to linebacker, offensive line, or defensive line with their first-round selection.
There’s still a lot of time pre-draft for guys to rise and fall and justify their current rankings, so it’s possible that Ringo really impresses at the Combine and at his Pro Day and is once again considered a consensus first-round pick. But just based on his college tape and production, I’m pretty hard-pressed to believe that Ringo would be the guy at No. 17