It’s mid January and Mock Drafts are starting to surface.
The Steelers with big holes on the defensive side of the ball at nose tackle, outside linebacker and the secondary (cornerback/safety), will be heavily linked the next three months to those four positions leading up to the draft.
ESPN’s Mel Kiper released his first Mock Draft and has the Steelers selecting Wake Forest cornerback Kevin Johnson (6-1, 175).
Kiper writes: “The Steelers are long in the tooth at cornerback and need a player who can help early at that position (not an easy ask) but will get that kind of player if Johnson is still on the board here. Johnson has outstanding instincts and always seems to have a good idea of where the ball is going.”
Johnson had 43 tackles, 1 interception and 5 pass defensed.
Cornerback is among the Steelers biggest needs but the team hasn’t drafted a corner in round 1 since 1997, and are strong believers you can find value in the later rounds. It’s one position that the Steelers often feel they will rarely reach for, case in point this season when they intended to pass on Kyle Fuller at No. 15 if he were to be there.
Daniel Jeremiah, a former NFL scout and one of the best draft analyst out there, has the Steelers taking Louisville free safety Gerod Holliman (6-2, 215) with the 22nd pick. Holliman had 44 tackles, 1 sack and 14 INTERCEPTIONS. Holliman is a ball hawk in the secondary but was just a one year starter. He has drawn comparisons to Jairus Byrd.
Jeremiah writes: “The Steelers need to address the safety position, and Holliman is a ball magnet. He isn’t reliable in run support, but his playmaking ability might entice the Steelers to reach for him.”
Kiper doesn’t have Holliman going in the first round in his mock draft and Jeremiah doesn’t have Johnson going in round 1 in his mock draft for whats it’s worth.