I certainly cannot blame those who feel that the Pittsburgh Steelers need to employ a defensive-heavy draft strategy this May. This team has depth issues at multiple positions, and the glaring holes at nose tackle and cornerback could force the team to look to upgrade those positions early and often in the 2014 NFL Draft.
Although he believes that the Steelers will select a defensive prospect, Charles Davis of NFL.com has the franchise going in an entirely different direction than cornerback and nose tackle with their first round selection. In fact, Davis has Pittsburgh selecting inside linebacker C.J. Mosley of Alabama at number 15 overall in round one of the first installment of his 2014 NFL Mock Draft.
While certain pundits have shown love for cornerbacks like Darqueze Dennard and Justin Gilbert or a nose tackle like Louis Nix III, the Steelers would be out of their minds if they passed up on a prospect like Mosley if he fell to them in the first round.
After a fantastic junior campaign, many believed that Mosley would enter the 2013 NFL Draft. He was coming off of a season in which he led the National Champions in tackles (107), racked up 8.0 tackles for loss, 4.0 sacks and caused four turnovers (two interceptions, one forced fumble and one fumble recovery).
To his credit, Mosley did not hurt his draft stock whatsoever this past fall with his stellar play. He not only led the Tide in tackles (108), tackles for loss (9.0) and quarterback hurries (10). As stout as Mosley is against the run (6’2″ 238 lbs.), the biggest reason why many are high on the linebacker is because of his skill-set when it comes to playing the pass.
Not only can the former Alabama star make plays in front of him, he can hold his own down the field and cover ground between the numbers. Before he became a starter for the Tide in 2012, Mosley was a staple in Alabama’s nickel and dime packages due to his ability to cover large areas of space.
Although inside linebacker might not be as dire of a need as wide receiver, nose tackle or cornerback, adding someone like Mosley to the mix with Lawrence Timmons, Vince Williams, Terence Garvin and a potentially healthy Sean Spence would give the Steelers tremendous depth at the position. Most of all, it would give Pittsburgh’s defense a three-down linebacker who could be a staple on that side of the ball for the next decade.
Unless someone like Mike Evans, Marqise Lee, Darqueze Dennard or Justin Gilbert proves to be too tantalizing to pass up on at number 15 overall, I would have a hard time believing that the Steelers would pass on a linebacker with Mosley’s specific skill-set.
Do I ultimately believe that Mosley will fall beyond the Buffalo Bills, Tennessee Titans, New York Giants and St. Louis Rams at #9, #10, #11 and #13 into Pittsburgh’s laps in round one? Not in the least. Yet if Mosley takes a tumble similar to David DeCastro back in 2012, I would love to see Pittsburgh’s brass rush up to the podium with the Alabama inside linebacker’s name on their draft card.
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