With the NFL draft just days away, the draft rumors have been heating up. Specifically with the Pittsburgh Steelers, it is a hot debate topic as to what position they will target. OLB, CB, S? The positions seem endless. But what if the cards fall perfectly though, and the Steelers draft goes perfectly. While odds are, this won't happen, here is my perfect draft for the Pittsburgh Steelers.
Round 1: Obi Melifonwu-S, Conneticut
While safety isn't the top need for the Steelers, Obi could really take this secondary to the next level. While he wouldn't be a conventional starter his rookie year, he would be a key chess piece. He can cover athletic TE's, large receivers, or just patrol the backfield. People argue that OLB, ILB, or CB is a bigger need. While OLB is our largest need, the late first round to second round talent is similar. We should still be able to nab a good player in the second round. CB is a little different, but this class is deep at CB, so a quality player could be found later. That being said, I would grab a CB before an OLB in this class. ILB could be partially solved with the selection of Obi. Williams has proven to be a good two down player at ILB. He may be able to turn it on this year, but if he doesn't, he can sub out with Obi on passing downs. In the end, Obi and Davis would be a future force as SS and FS. In turn, Obi would be a fantastic pick in the first.
Others considered: Marlon Humphrey CB, Tre'Davious White CB
Round 2: Derek Rivers-OLB, Youngstown State
While there should be a few quality CB's here, the value lies in the OLB. I counted roughly 16 prospects that could play OLB and had a 1st or 2nd round grade. Odds are, there will be a few quality options here for the Steelers in the second round. I picked Rivers due to preference, but this would be all depending on who is still available (see the others considered). Rivers is coming from a small school, meaning there will be a learning curve. Rivers will play with Harrison year one and ideally by year two, he will be terrorizing QB's with Dupree. While Rivers stock is ever changing depending on who you ask, there is a very real chance he is available here.
Others considered: Carl Lawson OLB, Jordan Willis OLB, Cordrea Tankersley CB
Round 3: Jake Butt-TE, Michigan
Butt would have been in the first round conversation had he not been injured. Due to the deepness of this TE class, he falls to the third. While I love Shaheen, he won't be here in the third and the Steelers can't spend a second on a TE. Butt is a nice consolation though. He has good speed, hands, and route running. His blocking could use some work, but overall, he could be a good starter next to James. Even if he takes some time to recover, he isn't needed as a starter yet.
Others considered: Chad Hansen WR, George Kittle TE, Cameron Sutton CB
Round 3c: Howard Wilson-CB, Houston
While some CB's stock soared after the combine (see UCF's Griffin), Wilson has held constant in the 3rd to 4th range. He is young, declaring after his redshirt sophomore year, but he is oozing potential. He has good size speed, but he is raw. He wouldn't need to start right away though, as he can play sparingly in his rookie season behind Cockrell and Burns. If he continues to develop though, he could easily become a starter as soon as next year.
Others considered: Rasul Douglas CB, Kareem Hunt RB, Marlon Mack, RB
Round 4: James Conner-RB, Pittsburgh
This is about half a round early, but Conner won't be there in the 5th. He is a powerful back who is easy to root for. In the letter he wrote to NFL GMs, he says that he is more than just a guy who cancer, he is a football player. He sounds like a Steeler and plays like a Steeler. There are plenty of quality RBs in this draft, and Conner would be a great compliment to Bell as a change of pace bruiser back and goal line back.
Others considered: Shelton Gibson WR, Blair Brown ILB, Carroll Phillips OLB
Round 5: KD Cannon-WR, Baylor
Cannon is an intriguing prospect. He isn't the biggest, but he has good speed. He plays hard and has good character. He has slot written on him, but he could play the outside. Coming from Baylor, he needs to work on his route running, but he should be able to compete for a roster spot and playing time in his rookie year.
Others considered: Dawuane Smoot OLB, Joe Mathis OLB, Joshua Dobbs QB
Round 6: Samson Ebukam-OLB, Eastern Washington
He's generated some pre-draft interest, and he has good numbers and good statistics. He was playing at a small school, and would have to adjust to the NFL competition. That being said, he could provide depth at the OLB position when Harrison retires (if he retires) and when Moats ends up leaving. He won't end up starting, but he should be able to provide quality depth in a year or two.
Others considered: Brandon Wilson CB, Chad Kelly QB, Connor Harris ILB
Round 7: Jamal Agnew-CB, San Diego
He is about as small school as they come, but he has great potential. He is undersized but extremely fast. While he has a long way before anyone can say hes a starter, he has potential to develop into a slot CB. Throw in the fact he can be a returner and he gives a lot of potential as a 7th round pick.
Others considered: Javancy Jones OLB/ILB, Hardy Nickerson ILB, Alek Torgerson QB
This draft does ignore some major needs at QB and ILB. I'm not really sold on any of the QB's in this class, but I do like Dobbs and some of the other late rounders have back-up potential. An UDFA could compete for the #3 spot, or having a QB on the PS couldn't hurt. At ILB, there are major depth concerns. We could target a free agent like Hodges to fix the depth issue. What do you think? Let me know in the comments below.