I've had the Steelers selecting a cornerback for a while, and I do think one is still a strong option. Both Kendall Fuller and William Jackson are viable options. However, the Steelers like to build from the ground up, and they currently have a big hole at nose tackle. That would change with Andrew Billings, who would potentially be a big upgrade at the position as a disruptive force.
*** OTHER 2016 NFL DRAFT POSSIBILITIES: ***
1. Keanu Neal, S - Neal is a very strong possibility here. The Steelers like him a lot, and he's not going to be available at No. 58.
2. Kendall Fuller and William Jackson, CBs - The two corners I mentioned could be chosen.
Rd. 2, Pk. 27
Jeremy Cash, S, Duke
The Steelers are going to have a hole at one of the safety spots next year. Michael Mitchell has played well, but Will Allen is a 34-year-old impending free agent. Shamarko Thomas can't get on the field, so I'm not sure he'll be in Pittsburgh's future plans if the team can obtain a talented safety early in the 2016 NFL Draft.
Rd. 3, Pk. 26
Will Redmond, CB, Mississippi State
It wouldn't be a surprise if the Steelers chose a cornerback in the first round. If they don't, someone like Will Redmond would make sense at this spot.
Rd. 4, Pk. 25
Jerald Hawkins, OT, LSU
Some Steeler supporters back Alejandro Villanueva, but the fact remains that Pittsburgh tried to upgrade him via free agency. A mid-round choice could be used on competition.
Rd. 6, Pk. 44
Vernon Adams, QB, Oregon
Vernon Adams will be considered in th later rounds, and Pittsburgh needs a reliable backup quarterback.
Rd. 7, Pk. 8
Ken Crawley, CB, Colorado
The Steelers were projected to obtain a cornerback in the first round, but multiple selections could be used on the position, considering how much of a liability it is.
Rd. 7, Pk. 25
Kelvin Taylor, RB, Florida
The Steelers should start looking for a future No. 2 running back for when DeAngelo Williams moves on.
The Steelers could start planning for life after Big Ben. Sources have told me Pittsburgh likes Kizer.
Of the quarterback prospects for the 2017 NFL Draft, Kizer has the best skill set and the most upside. The 6-foot-4, 233-pounder has a strong arm that can make all the throws for the NFL. He has also flashed superb accuracy and an ability to make accurate touch passes downfield to beat good coverage in tight windows. Kizer can also make beautiful passes in the face of a pass rush. Additionally, he has the mobility to buy time for his receivers, bail out his offensive line, and pick up yards with his feet. The big problem for Kizer is consistency as he is a streaky passer and player. He also had issues late in games with critical mistakes in crunch time, so his decision-making needs to improve.
In 2016, Kizer completed 59 percent of his passes for 2,925 yards with 26 touchdowns and nine interceptions. He also ran for seven touchdowns. His completion percentage was thrown off by playing a game in the midst of Hurricane Matthew and his receivers consistently dropping well-thrown passes. He also was hurt by losing his No.1 receiver (Will Fuller), left tackle (Ronnie Stanley), center (Nick Martin), and running back (C.J. Prosise) to the NFL before the season. In 2015, Kizer completed 63 percent of his passes for 2,884 yards with 21 touchdowns and 10 interceptions. He picked up 520 yards with 10 scores on the ground.
Rd. 2, Pk. 2
Josh Jones, S, N.C. State
The Steelers could use another safety.
Jones (6-2, 215) was a solid player for the Wolfpack over the past three seasons. He is a strong safety type for the NFL and plays with an aggressive and relentless nature. Jones had 109 tackles with eight passes batted and three interceptions as a junior before deciding to skip his senior year. He recorded 63 tackles as a sophomore with 56 stops in 2014. Jones snagged four interceptions as a redshirt freshman.
Rd. 3, Pk. 3
Jake Butt, TE, Michigan
The Steelers could use a receiving tight end for their offense.
Butt had 46 receptions for 546 yards and four touchdowns in 2016 before suffering some knee tears in his bowl game. He contributed as a freshman (20-235-2) and sophomore (21-211-2), but took his game to another level under head coach Jim Harbaugh in 2015. Butt notched 51 receptions for 654 yards with three touchdowns that season.
The 6-foot-5, 246-pounder is a good receiver down the seam and uses his size to his advantage. Butt looked very good as a receiver and pass blocker in Harbaugh's pro-style offense. Butt could stand to get nastier and improve his run blocking; however, he did show progress on that front as a senior.
The Steelers could use an edge rusher, and Phillips could be a steal.
In 2016, Phillips recorded 56 tackles with 20 tackles for a loss, nine sacks and one forced fumble. Some sources absolutely love Phillips, but others are lukewarm on him. The teams that love Phillips (6-3, 237) say he is super athletic and twitchy. They feel that his speed and athleticism are very similar to Leonard Floyd. Like Floyd at Georgia, Phillips can struggle somewhat on run downs. However, they feel that he is a very gifted, natural pass-rushing talent. They see him as a potential early rounder. As one could expect, the teams that aren't in love with Phillips don't see him as a high pick.
Rd. 4, Pk. 4
Josh Reynolds, WR, Texas A&M
The Steelers could use some wide receiver depth and have shown interest in Reynolds.
Reynolds totaled 61 receptions for 1,039 yards and 12 scores in 2016. He was a reliable receiver for the Aggies. Reynolds (6-2, 187) put together a quality week at the Senior Bowl, too. He showed the ability to get some late separation and is excellent on 50-50 contested catches. In 2015, Reynolds caught 51 passes for 907 yards and five touchdowns. He had a quality 2014 season with 52 receptions for 842 yards and 13 touchdowns.
Rd. 5, Pk. 5
James Conner, RB, Pittsburgh
The Steelers grab a backup running back.
Rd. 6, Pk. 6
Jalen Myrick, CB, Minnesota
Pittsburgh grabs more cornerback competition and has shown interest in Myrick.
Rd. 7, Pk. 7
Keion Adams, DE, Western Michigan
The Steelers hosted Adams. He could provide them with some edge-rushing competition.
NFL.com/My Comparison: Trumaine Johnson
Good height, weight and arm length combination. Clean footwork in transition with natural ability to mirror and match from press coverage. Won't open hips early and rarely turned around off line of scrimmage. Has foot quickness in short spaces to maintain feel for his man. Extremely competitive when ball is in the air. Has play strength to redirect receivers from their routes. Aggressive hands in coverage and fights hard to disrupt the catch by any means necessary. Finished with 22 passes defensed over last two years. Scouts praise him for work ethic and technical improvement over last two years. Will come downhill against run and is diligent with contain responsibilities. Has optimal size/speed numbers for an early round cornerback.
Highly recruited two-year starter who is entering the draft as a draft eligible redshirt sophomore. Apple's size and strength allows him to compete against physical receivers, but he also has the talent to mirror and match as a man defender. Covering for longer could be challenging early on after playing with talented defensive fronts who ravaged quarterbacks. Apple will have to learn to trust his feet rather than grabbing so often or he'll find that quarterbacks and refs will find him often.
I’d say amongst teams that seem to be likely contenders in the year coming up, very few needs stick out more than the Steelers need for cornerback help. William Gay returns and he was serviceable but he’s not a number 1 corner plus he’s 31 so he will likely begin declining somewhat soon. Past him, Cortez Allen has struggled big time, Ross Cockrell is average, and Senquez Golson has yet to play a down as he was hurt all of last year, though he’s got some intrigue to him. The secondary last year was abysmal and they need help big time. Enter a recent riser William Jackson out of Houston. This dude is looooong and very athletic. Ran very well and displays great ball skills and ability to make plays on the ball not just stay close to his man. Very productive with a 40% completion rate allowed and three interceptions this past season. Jackson needs to add strength as he gets knocked around a bit when asked to press cover someone or get body to body with bigger receivers. Needs to improve his hip fluidity as well must get better at opening up and turning with receivers so he doesn’t need to rely so much on his length and deep speed when he gets beat. Solid pick that fulfills both need and value.
Alexander has fallen because of his size (5'10 190) but he may be the best pure one-on-one coverage corner in the draft he proved in the national championship game even when he was injured why he was so valuable to the Clemson team, and had he stayed in the game the outcome may have been entirely different. Pittsburgh drafted a corner in Senquez Golson from Ole Miss last year, but he only played in the preseason before being put on IR. The Steelers also gave Cortes Allen a nice contract before he tore his ACL, William Gay is 31 years old, and is the only consistent corner on the roster, and that's not saying a lot. Alexander immediately provided an impact player who can, at the least, cover the other teams number 2 receiver to start.
Pittsburgh has one of the best offenses in the league but the defense has had too many letdowns to consider Taylor Decker here at No. 20. Instead, they grab Kendall Fuller. Fuller (6'0", 197) has the size to hang with bigger receivers on the outside. He should pass all medical exams after losing his junior season to a torn meniscus and should still be considered a mid-first rounder. Many remember him giving up a TD pass to Michael Thomas on a nationally televised game. But what most people do not know is that Fuller tore his meniscus during the offseason but played the first few games before opting to get it surgically repaired. The Steelers should recognize his grit and toughness and should applaud his efforts. Fuller's bloodlines run deep in the NFL as his brothers Vincent, Corey, and Kyle have all enjoyed varying degrees of success.
The Steelers secondary is one of the worst secondaries in the NFL, the Steelers actually I think have the worst secondary in the NFL. However they will improve their secondary a ton by taking William Jackson the corner out of Houston. Jackson may have not went to one of the biggest schools but he can ball. I think Jackson is just gonna be one of the guys that comes into the league and blows it up. I think Jackson can be a shutdown corner in the NFL. The Steelers or whoever takes Jackson are gonna love him.
Show/Hide Other Mocks with William Jackson Going to Steelers
Rd. 1, Pk. 25
Artie Burns, CB
The Steelers typically take highly ranked players who fall to them. Think Alvin Dupree, David DeCastro and Jarvis Jones. I figured they'd be all over Myles Jack, but they went with a different strategy this year - reaching for a second-round prospect. Artie Burns is certainly a second-round player. He has great athleticism and size, but he's pretty raw for a player. That's pretty much the definition of a second-round prospect; not someone worth grabbing at No. 25 overall. There were better players available for the Steelers, such as Kendall Fuller, Jarran Reed or Andrew Billings. I don't like this pick at all.
Rd. 2, Pk. 27
Sean Davis, CB/S
This is a lot better than the first-round pick. Sean Davis is a versatile player who might be able to play both cornerback and safety. He's a big prospect who has tons of athleticism and upside. Davis needs to work on becoming a better football player, as he's very raw, but he could fill a big need in the secondary.