NFL Nation: Jackson Jeffcoat

PITTSBURGH -- The Steelers will make six picks today, one each in the fourth and seven rounds and two apiece in the fifth and sixth rounds. They have to address cornerback and wide receivers after not taking a player at either position with their first three picks.

Here are 10 players who might interest them today.

CB Pierre Desir, Lindenwood: The Steelers found smaller-school cornerbacks in the fourth round when they drafted current starters Ike Taylor and Cortez Allen. Will they unearth another one if the 6-1, 198-pound Desir is available in the fourth round and they take him?

WR Martavis Bryant, Clemson: Bryant has good size and speed and averaged almost 20 yards per catch at Clemson. The depth at wide receiver pushed him into the third day, and he could go off the board early in the fourth round.

DE Brent Urban, Virginia: The 6-7, 295-pounder has the build of a prototypical 3-4 defensive end and defensive line coach John Mitchell said the Steelers still need to add players up front. Injury concerns may be why Urban is still available.

WR Bruce Ellington, South Carolina: A terrific athlete, Ellington provides good value on the third day. Not sure how much of a fit he is for Pittsburgh as he is lacking in size, and the Steelers don’t need a return man after drafting Dri Archer.

OLB: Jackson Jeffcoat, Texas: The Steelers need to add a pass rusher and Jeffcoat has the build to convert from defensive end to outside linebacker. The son of former Cowboys star Jim Jeffcoat, Jackson Jeffcoat recorded 12 sacks last season.

CB Jaylen Watkins, Florida: The 5-11, 194-pounder has good size and speed, and he played both cornerback and safety in Gainesville. Watkins is the brother of Sammy Watkins, the fourth overall pick of the draft.

DE DaQuan Jones, Penn State. Big and physical, Jones projects as a defensive end in a 3-4 scheme after playing tackle at Penn State. The 6-4, 322-pounder might also have the position flexibility to play nose tackle as he holds up well at the point of attack.

CB Ross Cockrell, Duke: The 6-feet, 191-pounder intercepted three passes, defended 12 of them last season and held his own against Texas A&M’s Mike Evans in Duke’s bowl game. Cockrell, who made a pre-draft visit to the Steelers, would be a good pick in the fifth round.

WR Quincy Enunwa, Nebraska: Big and physical, the 6-2, 225-pound Enunwa could be available in the sixth or seventh round and might be a nice late-round find. Keep an eye on him, especially if Steelers wait until after the fifth round to take a wide receiver.

CB Antone Exum, Virginia Tech: Would have likely been a second- or third-round pick if not for injury issues in college. Exum has the versatility to play both cornerback and safety and he performed well at both positions for the Hokies.
It is reasonable to think the San Francisco 49ers will consider taking a pass-rusher early in the draft in light of Aldon Smith’s latest arrest.

Even though Smith, 24, is one of the NFL’s best pass-rushers, his future could be clouded. Until Sunday, the 49ers’ greatest needs were cornerback and receiver. I do think those areas are still bigger needs than pass-rusher. But I could also see the 49ers, who have an NFL-high six picks in the top 100 in the May 8-10 draft, using a premium pick at the position.

I spoke with ESPN draft analyst Steve Muench about potential fits in the second or third round. Here is a look:

Demarcus Lawrence, Boise State:

“He will likely be gone and they may not want to take a player who has been suspended three times over the past two seasons but he has the length, quickness and flexibility to develop into an effective edge rusher in the NFL.”

The Sacramento Bee reports Lawrence will visit the 49ers.

Kyle Van Noy, BYU: “He doesn’t bend as well as Lawrence and he has shorter arms but he can beat tackles with speed to power, he uses his hands well and he closes well.”

Muench mentioned these pass-rushers would be taken in the third or fourth-round: Texas’ Jackson Jeffcoat, Alabama DE/OLB Adrian Hubbard and Stanford’s Trent Murphy all project as late third- or early fourth-round picks.

Murphy played for 49ers coach Jim Harbaugh and defensive coordinator Vic Fangio.
With the NFL combine starting Wednesday, here's a look at the Jacksonville Jaguars' positions of need on defense and which prospects the team might be looking taking a closer look at in Indianapolis. Positions of need are listed in order of importance. We looked at the offense on Monday.

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- The Jaguars have a lot of holes to fill on the roster and the next part in the process comes this week when general manager David Caldwell and head coach Gus Bradley evaluate, watch, and interview prospects at the NFL combine.

Here’s a breakdown of what the Jaguars need, in order, on defense and some potential targets:

Babin
Leo: Call this need No. 1A, just barely behind quarterback. The Jaguars have finished last in the NFL in sacks in each of the last two seasons and desperately need someone that can affect the quarterback on a consistent basis. Jason Babin and Andre Branch manned this spot in 2013 but Babin is scheduled to make $6.175 million in 2014. The 33-year-old Babin led the Jaguars with 7.5 sacks in 2013 but he’s making elite defensive end money and he’s not an elite defensive end. He has said he'd be willing to re-negotiate his contract because he likes it in Jacksonville, but he also can declare himself a free agent because of a clause in the new CBA. It'd be a surprise if Babin is on the roster in 2014 under his current contract. Branch really improved in 2013 because defensive coordinator Bob Babich and defensive line coach Todd Wash got him to become more consistent with his effort. He’s a long way from being a 15-sack player, though, and that’s what the Jaguars need.

Potential targets: Jadeveon Clowney, Dee Ford, Anthony Barr, Khalil Mack.

Outside linebacker: Geno Hayes turned in a solid year in 2013 (78 tackles, two interceptions, three pass break-ups) despite playing through a nagging knee injury that eventually forced him to miss the last two games. But the Jaguars still need to upgrade both outside spots. It was partly due to his knee injury, but Hayes didn’t make very many impact plays and Russell Allen, the starter on the other side, made none. The leo spot is a hybrid end/outside linebacker that specializes in rushing the passer, so the outside linebackers don’t need to be elite pass rushers. They need to be athletic enough to play in coverage and have the ability to blitz if needed.

Potential targets: Ryan Shazier, Telvin Smith, Lamin Barrow.

Defensive end: This is the spot opposite the leo in the Jaguars’ defense and it doesn’t call for an elite pass-rusher. The Jaguars want a big, physical end who can anchor the line of the scrimmage in the run game. Tyson Alualu held the job last season and was solid (44 tackles, eight QB pressures, three tackles for loss), but the Jaguars need more production there. The only other player at that spot is Ryan Davis, who spent most of last season on the practice squad. They’re also hoping for a little more pass rush production than what Alualu had, but it’s not the primary responsibility.

Potential targets: Brent Urban, Jackson Jeffcoat, Scott Crichton.

Defensive tackle: The Jaguars’ two starters are set with Sen'Derrick Marks and Roy Miller, but the Jaguars need to add some quality depth here. Marks is coming off a career year and was awarded a four-year extension. Miller battled a shoulder problem all season but underwent surgery after the season concluded and should be fine by the time OTAs begin in April.

Potential targets: Will Sutton, Caraun Reid, Deandre Coleman.

SPONSORED HEADLINES

Roster Advisor