AFC North: Cody Latimer

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PITTSBURGH -- The pick: Stephon Tuitt, DE, Notre Dame

My take: The Steelers addressed one of their most glaring needs, and they did so without taking a cornerback or wide receiver with their second-round pick. I like the pick, though I would have thought long and hard about taking Indiana wide receiver Cody Latimer or Nebraska cornerback Stanley Jean-Baptise with this selection.

Tuitt will help fill a gaping hole at defensive end. Tuitt, who doesn't turn 21 until later this month, had been widely projected as a late first-round pick. He put on weight in the 2013 offseason after recovering from a hernia injury and didn't play up to expectations as a junior. The Steelers worked out Tuitt in Atlanta and are confident that his weight issues are a thing of the past. "We feel like we got a steal," Steelers defensive line coach John Mitchell said.

Tuitt has the size and physical talent to excel as a 5-technique defensive end, and he will get an opportunity to learn under Mitchell, who molded Aaron Smith and Brett Keisel, among others. Tuitt had 21.5 career sacks at Notre Dame, so he can push the pocket as well as hold up physically against the run. Mitchell said Tuitt would have been a top-10 pick in the draft had he been healthy in 2013 and built on a sophomore season in which he had 47 tackles and 12 sacks. "When you're drawing up an end for our defense, that's the guy you want," Mitchell said of Tuitt.

Still no CB or WR: The Steelers have yet to address two of their biggest perceived needs, and part of that is probably because of the draft's depth at wide receiver and cornerback. Teams seem to be content to wait until later to take a wide receiver because there are so many quality ones in this draft. The Steelers figure to take a cornerback or wide receiver later Friday.

What's next: The Steelers don't pick again until late in the third round since it is a compensatory selection. They traded their third-round pick last year to the Browns for a fourth-round selection. They used the pick on safety Shamarko Thomas, and the Steelers made the trade because they were confident they would get a third-round pick this year as compensation for free-agent losses in 2013. The pick is No. 97 overall, and the Steelers are not allowed to trade it.
The Browns got their quarterback with the fourth pick of the NFL Nation mock draft, with players chosen by each of the 32 NFL Nation team reporters.

I had the Browns taking Johnny Manziel first (again, this is what I think will happen, now what I hope happens).

Now they need either a cornerback or a receiver with the 26th overall pick.

The better corners at this point are gone, but there are still plenty of receivers.

The guy I’m predicting at 26: Indiana’s Cody Latimer.

He’s tall, fast, fluid and he has excellent hands. He’s dependable, hard-working and willing to block. He can be a very good No. 2 opposite Josh Gordon.

I’d favor Sammy Watkins at four and a quarterback later.

But if the Browns walk away with Manziel and Latimer with their first two picks, well that’s a fine pair of players. Even if it’s my preferred two, it’s a twosome that would be tough to criticize.
PITTSBURGH -- Cody Latimer, arguably the fastest rising player in the NFL draft, held a private workout on Friday and Pittsburgh Steelers wide receivers coach Richard Mann was among those in attendance, per NFL.com’s Gil Brandt.

The Steelers met with Latimer at the NFL scouting combine two months ago, and he is one of the hottest names in the draft right now.

ESPN analyst Mel Kiper Jr. ranks Latimer as the 29th-best player in the draft, and Todd McShay is also high on the Indiana wide receiver.

"I’ve watched five tapes of his games and he didn’t drop a ball," McShay said. "I was blown away with his skill set."

There is a lot to like about Latimer, a projected first- or second-round pick.

He has good size -- Latimer measured 6-2 and weighed 215 pounds at the combime -- and McShay said he was clocked between 4.39 and 4.43 seconds in the 40-yard dash at Indiana’s pro day.

Latimer did not run at the combine since he was still recovering from surgery to fix a broken metatarsal in his foot. The fact he was limited in what he could do at the combine as well as sheer volume of wide receivers in the draft may have contributed to Latimer staying a bit under the radar until the past couple of weeks.

But he excelled at Indiana, catching 72 passes for 1,096 yards and nine touchdowns last season as a junior, and Latimer has upside since he didn’t start playing football until his junior year of high school and instead concentrated on basketball.

The range where Latimer is projected to go in the draft does not match up well with where the Steelers pick. But the draft is so flush with wide receivers Latimer could last until where the Steelers' pick in the second round.

Or he could be an option for them in the first round if they trade down.

“He’s competitive, can run after the catch and has great ball skills,” McShay said.

He also has the size the Steelers are lacking at wide receiver. Keep an eye on Latimer -- it's something the Steelers are apparently doing as well.

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