Thursday, April 24, 2014
Three first-round possibilities for Steelers
By Scott Brown
PITTSBURGH – All signs point to the Steelers taking a cornerback or wide receiver with their first-round pick in a couple of weeks.
If they address another position with the 15th overall pick, who might be in play?
I posed that question to ESPN draft analyst Todd McShay, and he named three players: North Carolina tight end Eric Ebron, Alabama safety Ha Ha Clinton-Dix and Alabama linebacker C.J. Mosley.
Clinton-Dix, to me, is the most unlikely of the three to get drafted by the Steelers.
The Steelers got younger at safety when they signed Mike Mitchell and they are also expecting a big jump from Shamarko Thomas in his second season.
It’s hard to see the Steelers using a first-round pick on a safety given the investment they have made in the position and the need they have at other positions.
Ebron is an intriguing prospect because of his size and athleticism. He is the top tight end in the draft but there are two questions when it comes to the former Tar Heels star: Will he last until the 15th pick? If he does is Ebron both an able enough and willing blocker for the Steelers to take him?
The biggest concern when it comes to Mosley is his injury history.
He sustained at least three major injuries at Alabama and that might make enough teams wary of taking Mosley that he slides in the first round even though he is a top-1o talent.
“I think he’s going to fall a little bit because of durability concerns,” McShay said Thursday during a conference call with ESPN NFL Nation reporters. “You either pass him [medically] or you don’t. If [the Steelers] view him as a top-10, top-12 pick and he’s there, you can plug and play with that guy. He’d be an immediate improvement over Vince Williams.”
McShay said there is a huge drop-off at inside linebacker after Mosley and Wisconsin’s Chris Borland, a likely second-round pick.
Mosley is ESPN analyst Mel Kiper Jr.'s ninth-best player in the draft in part because of his ability to cover the pass. Kiper, however, said Mosley is not a good fit for the Steelers even though he could play right away and provide an upgrade at inside linebacker.
“I don’t see Mosley as a Steelers type of linebacker,” Kiper said. “He’s not the most physically imposing inside linebacker, he’s had some durability issues at Alabama. You have to be concerned with Alabama defensive players in general with the success rate they have not had [in the NFL].”