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Insider Only Steelers Round 1 Draft Buzz: Apple, Jackson, or Joseph?

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Round 1 Draft Buzz

From Kevin Colbert to Mike Tomlin, those running the show for the Steelers always say they will take the best player available in Round 1 and that every position except quarterback is in play.

Facts are the Steelers almost always target a specific need in Round 1 and that’s what they plan to do again tonight.

Believe it or not, the team has full intentions of addressing the secondary by selecting a cornerback or safety with the No. 25 pick.

Expectations are it will be secondary or trade down tonight.

Will Be Gone well before Pick No. 25

The cornerback class is led by Jalen Ramsey, Florida State (6-1, 207) who is head and shoulders above the rest of the class. Considered to be the best defensive back prospect since Patrick Peterson, Ramsey has it all from size to running a 4.38 forty. Scouts believe he will be a great player whether he’s a corner or safety.

A potential top-5 pick who certainly won’t fall out of the top-10.

Unlikely Group

Florida’s Vernon Hargreaves (5-10, 206) is the consensus No. 2 cornerback but he has some short comings with his size and raw talent. He’s one of those wildcards who some feel could go as high as No. 9-10 or fall into the 20’s because of his size. Would be phenomenal value at No 25 if he fell.

The Top Contenders to be selected at No. 25

What would the Steelers love to play out?

To have their choosing of cornerbacks Eli Apple, Ohio State (6-1, 202), William Jackson III, Houston (6-1, 187), MacKensie Alexander, Clemson (5-11, 190) and safety Karl Joseph, West Virginia.

There’s a good chance at least two or three of them will still be on the board.

The buzz in Steelers circles has been that Eli Apple is the player they desperately covet.

The Steelers love Ohio State players and they love young players as Apple is only 20 years old. Tremendous upside but some scouts and personnel men have concerns about Apple’s off field issues, namely he’s not very smart.

One scout blasted Apple in Bob McGinn’s excellent position draft features he does every year. “I worry about him because of off-the-field issues. The kid has no life skills. At all. Can’t cook. Just a baby. He’s not first round for me. He scares me to death.” Wonderlic was 21,” a scout told McGinn of Apple.

Whether he can cook or not has anything to do with covering receivers, I’m not sure.

Houston’s William Jackson has been a popular player linked to the Steelers for months and during Jackson’s pro-day the Steelers weren’t shy right in front of other teams of how much they like Jackson.

Jackson has the makings of being a very safe pick for anyone in the mid-to-late first round. Has really good ball skills, great speed (4.35) and long arms that evaluators love from corners.

Between Apple or Jackson, a bigger year one impact would likely come from Jackson.

Clemson’s MacKensie Alexander (5-11, 190) has drawn mixed reviews. Some scouts love him, comparing him to Darrelle Revis, others see him as a third round type talent.

The Steelers are said to be one of the teams that see him as a legit first round prospect who will get strong consideration at No. 25.

That’s what you have after the first two-three corners in a deep draft at the position. There’s not a lot of separation between No. 4 – No. 8, which could also put the Steelers in play to trade down if one of their top targets is off the board.

Cornerbacks who are considered tweeners in this class, the type of who are not widely considered first round prospects but are from a few select teams include Miami’s Artie Burns (6-1, 190). Runs a 4.4 forty, had 6 interceptions in 2015. Long and fast but mainly considered a press corner.

The other is Virginia Tech’s Kendall Fuller (5-11, 188).

Safety Talk: Go Joseph in Round 1, Corner in Round 2?

West Virginia’s Karl Joseph (5-10, 2010) Want the Full Story? Get "Inside Access"

About The Author

William DePaoli

TIOPS Insider

William DePaoli is the President/Founder of Inside Pittsburgh Sports LLC and can be reached at wdepaoli@insidepittsburghsports.com

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