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 in the first round of the 2016 NFL Draft.
Rd. 2, Pk. 25
Kentrell Brothers, ILB, Missouri
Lawrence Timmons has enjoyed a great career in Pittsburgh, but it appears as though it's coming to an end. Timmons, 30 next spring, has regressed recently and hasn't been good at all this year. He has a $15 million cap hit next year, so there's no way he'll be back at that price. He may not be back at all.
Rd. 3, Pk. 25
Kyle Murphy, OT, Stanford
Here's some insurance for Kelvin Beachum, who tore his ACL. On top of being hurt, Beachum is an impending free agent, so it's unclear if he'll be back next year.
Rd. 1, Pk. 25
Adolphus Washington, DT/3-4DE, Ohio State
The Steelers grab an upgrade at nose tackle. Having an impact defender in the middle of the line will get more out of Pittsburgh's linebackers.
In 2015, Washington has 40 tackles with six tackles for a loss, four sacks, a forced fumble and a pick-six. The 6-foot-4, 295-pounder made a nice impact in 2014 as part of an excellent defensive line. He teamed with Michael Bennett and Joey Bosa to produce a consistent pass rush and a ton of plays behind the line of scrimmage. Washington had 48 tackles with 10.5 for a loss, 4.5 sacks, three passes batted and one forced fumble on the year. He totaled five sacks over his sophomore and freshman seasons.
Pick change; previously Andrew Billings, DT
Rd. 2, Pk. 25
Cameron Sutton, CB, Tennessee
The Steelers continue to work on rebuilding their vulnerable secondary.
In 2015, Sutton has 27 tackles, one interception and five passes batted. He was excellent for the Volunteers in 2014, recording 37 tackles with three interceptions, 13 passes broken up and four tackles for a loss for the year. Sutton was one of many superb freshman cornerbacks in college football in 2013. He recorded 39 tackles, seven passes broken up and two interceptions that season.
Sutton has good size and speed for the position. He prevents separation, but needs to get better at playing the ball. The 5-foot-11, 186-pounder is a very physical defender who plays with a chip on his shoulder.
Rd. 3, Pk. 25
Josh Ferguson, RB, Illinois
The Steelers signed DeAngelo Williams to back up Le'Veon Bell, but Williams is aging and injury prone. Taking another back to go with Bell would make sense for Pittsburgh offense.
Sources have said that Ferguson has impressed them as a fast running back who can contribute as a receiver and on special teams. Over 2014 and 2013, Ferguson averaged more than five yards per carry for over 700 yards. Each season, he caught 50 passes as well with six scores through the air.
Ferguson has been banged up with a shoulder injury this year, but is averaging 5.8 yards per carry for 668 yards and three touchdowns. He also has 30 receptions for 180 yards and two scores. Sources say that the 5-foot-10, 200-pounder could end up going as high as the third round.
Okay. This is probably another pick that can be labeled as weird, ill-advised, a reach, or downright stupid; I don’t care. Pittsburgh still needs a young, future starting cornerback and I’m making a prediction more so about Cameron Sutton than anything else. His coverage skills are pretty good and will only get better with each game. If he improves his tackling ability too, he’ll be drafted around here come May 2016.