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Thursday, April 24, 2014
Analyzing McShay mock: Steelers

By Scott Brown

The Pittsburgh Steelers have the 15th overall pick of the NFL draft and it seems likely they will select a cornerback or a wide receiver in the first round.

ESPN analyst Todd McShay plays general manager for every team in his latest mock draft , pairing players with teams based on what he thinks are the best fits, not how he sees the first round unfolding in two weeks.

His pick for the Steelers is not a surprising one as it addresses a need and links them with a player in whom they have shown interest.

McShay has the Steelers taking LSU’s Odell Beckham Jr., making him the third wide receiver drafted after Clemson’s Sammy Watkins and Texas A&M’s Mike Evans.

I'm not sure how much this pick, if it is the one the Steelers make, moves the needle much in Pittsburgh.

Steelers fans seem to be clamoring for an impact player on defense or a tall wide receiver such as Evans, but Beckham is probably a pretty safe pick and a player who could contribute right away.

The 6-foot, 213-pounder is one of the more explosive players in the draft as he caught 59 passes for 1,152 yards and eight touchdowns last season and averaged 19.5 yards per catch. Beckham also set an LSU record with 2,315 all-purpose yards in 2013 and won the Paul Hornung Award, which is given to the most versatile player in the country.

He has added value as a return man and tested well at the NFL scouting combine, running the 40-yard dash in 4.43 seconds. A Steelers contingent that included general manager Kevin Colbert and coach Mike Tomlin met extensively with Beckham at LSU's pro day earlier this month.

McShay wrote earlier this week that Beckham would be an ideal fit with the Steelers since his quickness would allow him to beat jams at the line of scrimmage and get open quickly.

“In addition,” McShay wrote, “Beckham has the ability to create after the catch and be a deep threat for when Roethlisberger does extend plays and stretches the field with his arm strength."

McShay picked Michigan State cornerback Darqueze Dennard for the Titans at No. 11 and has Oklahoma State cornerback Justin Gilbert going to the Jets at No. 18.

Gilbert and Dennard are the top cornerbacks of the draft, a position the Steelers have to address early in the draft.

If they pick a wide receiver in the first round, look for them to take a cornerback no later than the third round.