Apr 20, 2013; Notre Dame, IN, USA; Notre Dame Fighting Irish nose tackle Louis Nix (1) carries the ball for a two point conversion in the fourth quarter of the Blue-Gold Game at Notre Dame Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Matt Cashore-USA TODAY Sports

Pittsburgh Steelers Draft: Louis Nix III & How the Mighty Have Fallen

When this 2014 draft season first began, just about every draft expert, pundit, guru, and Joe Schmoe out there had the Pittsburgh Steelers drafting Louis Nix III in the first round in their mock drafts.   My thoughts were something like this “NO! NO! NO! They will not draft a player in the first round who will only play two downs per defensive series!”  In my opinion, a first round draft pick should be able to play AT LEAST three downs and if they can play some special teams as well that’s even better.

As the draft season has gone on, Nix has steadily slipped down into the back half of the first round for seemingly no other reason than all the draft experts realized the same thing I was thinking.  It makes no sense for a team to spend a high first round draft pick on a player that will not see the field very much.  Good job experts. 

Mel Kiper, Jr., ESPN’s resident draft expert, has Nix slipping all the way to the Steelers pick in round two in his latest two-round mock draft.  This is a reasonable expectation simply for the fact that, even though Nix is a very good player at his position, a run-stuffing nose tackle is not a position of great need in today’s pass-happy NFL.  This sort of nose tackle fits in the same group with running backs in this draft process.  They will slip because they are not used as much as they used to be.

If Louis Nix III does manage to slip all the way to the 15th selection in round two of this year’s draft, it would be a great pickup for the Pittsburgh Steelers.  It would be similar to the value they received in the 2013 draft from selecting Le’Veon Bell in the second round because of the tumble of running backs down draft boards.  It is true that Bell is a three down player and Nix is not, but Nix would help shore up the defensive line and improve the Steelers run defense which has been slacking the last few years. Plus he can come in on offense for some goal-line carries. (See picture above.)

What do you think Steeler Nation, will Nix slip to the Steelers selection in the second round of the draft?  And if so, would it be a good pick?


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    I see a 3rd-4th round pick when I see Nix (inconsistent pad level, can be single-teamed at times for size, inability to rush the passer, low motor, injury history), so I hope they don’t reach for him before then. If he’s still around between #97 and #120 and the team hasn’t taken a nose tackle by that point, then I’d be down for him coming to Pittsburgh.

  • prnitz

    Id put NT down the long list of needs for this draft, probably 4th or even 5th. CB then either big WR or TE and LB are bigger needs. Although cornerback is the bigger need I will be surprised if the Steelers don’t take a big receiver in the first round and wait on the corner back which always seems to be a bigger gamble position knowing whether they will make it at the next level

    • http://nicepickcowher.com/author/richardlamarwhitejr/ Richard White Jr

      While I do agree with you that NT is down the list of needs, it doesn’t necessarily mean that if Nix or some other DL is available in the second round and is the BPA that they won’t take him since it is one of the needs. If a team starts just trying to fill the biggest need every round they start reaching when instead they can take the BPA that is one of the needs.

  • PJ_CA

    If the Steelers can pick up Denard in rd 1, and Nix in Rd 2 – we are goo to go for the next 10 years. Building a true “Steelers D” around Heyward, Nix, Worilds, Jones, Denard, (Shamarko) Thomas, Timmons would be a fantastic draft. I hate those draftniks that say we need a WR in rd 1 or 2. The O has weapons, but if the D can’t stop anyone then what’s the point? The Steelers have and always will be built on D. It’s time to shape the D of the future with a CB in rd 1, and an NT in rd 2, period

    • Craig

      I’m not sure what kind of NFL world your living to think that selecting two players will mean the defense is ‘good to go’ for the next decade. Not in this age of the NFL when the cap makes things so tight and players come and go where the $$$$$ is.


      Haha, offenses have a great deal of say when it came to their team’s success in the modern era. Why don’t you ask the ‘09 Saints (Top 10 Tot. Off & PPG), the ‘10 Packers (Top 10 Tot. Off & PPG), the ‘11 Giants (Top 10 Tot. Off & PPG) and the ‘12 Ravens (10th PPG) who led them to their titles?

      Hell, even Seattle finished T-8th in scoring last fall. Pittsburgh on the other hand finished 20th in Total Offense and T-16th in points per game. Last time I checked, offenses needed to score points to win in today’s pass-happy NFL.

      To completely dismiss the holes which exist at WR & TE is laughable at this point, and overrated prospects like Dennard & Nix aren’t going to solve this team’s problems if they pass on playmakers who could be available in the early rounds to take them so Nix & Dennard can rot on the bench under LeBeau for most of their rookie deals.

      • http://nicepickcowher.com/author/richardlamarwhitejr/ Richard White Jr

        I agree with you to an extent but I just wanted to point out that those scoring totals and averages were dragged down a lot by the horrible start to the season. The offense was rolling during the second half of the season scoring 20+ points per game for a nine game stretch for the first time in team history. I do believe we could use more offensive weapons though.

        • SDAZT.STEEL66

          Keep in mind that they racked up those points totals against the likes of Green Bay, Miami, Baltimore, Buffalo and Detroit. Hardly defensive juggernauts last fall. They play 16 games per season, not just eight. I also hate to break it to you, but averaging 20 per game in today’s NFL will not cut the mustard any more. 20.0 points per game would have been good for 25th in the league last season.

          This team lost 113 catches, 1,342 receiving yards and 16 touchdowns during the offseason. And while Antonio Brown is coming into his own, I hardly think he is capable of reeling off another statistically awesome season (100+ catches, 1,400+ yards, 8+ tds) with Cotchery and Sanders out of town and Wheaton, Moye and J. Brown as the primary WR weapons behind him & Moore unless they are hell bent on taking offensive playmakers early this season.

          The idea of passing on an explosive WR or TE to help the offense become more productive should take a back-seat to a two-down nose tackle when a starter is already in place at the position in the form of McLendon. Plus, any defender taken, regardless of what round, will rot on the bench unless a rash of injuries strike with LeBeau still around.

          The offense will be needed for shootouts this season, and the best place to start is finding ways to replace the 113 catches, 1,342 receiving yards and 16 touchdowns in the aggregate through the draft.

          • http://nicepickcowher.com/author/richardlamarwhitejr/ Richard White Jr

            You are right that 20 points per game is pretty weak in today’s NFL. However, they actually averaged 28.2 points per game over that final nine game stretch which would have been good enough for 2nd in the NFL if they had done it over the full 16 game schedule.

            You are also right that they play a 16 game schedule which is why they went 8-8 last year, but my point is more about how that final stretch gives them something to build on offensively for next season and perhaps they can be more consistent over the full schedule.

            The fact about the defenses they played against is a subjective point. Defensive rankings change year in and year out and the Steelers will never have to play more than a few “defensive juggernauts” a season anyway. The Broncos made it all the way to the Super Bowl off of their cupcake schedule, and yes they got destroyed by the Seahawks defense, but to me that is more about the character and mental toughness of the team than anything else.

            As far as replacing the players, Sanders would have had a lot better stats if he didn’t tally so many drops. I believe Wheaton will be better. And I did like Cotchery a lot, even when he was with the Jets, but Lance Moore should be a serviceable replacement.

            As far as McLendon being the starter, I’m sure there would be some sort of rotation between Nix and McLendon depending on game situations because McLendon is more athletic and mobile for passing downs and Nix is more of a run-stuffer.

            All that being said, I do believe an offensive weapon will be taken in the first round.

          • SDAZT.STEEL66

            We’ve seen so little from Wheaton so the jury is still out on him from becoming a capable starter at the pro level, and the Saints certainly didn’t value Moore enough to keep him on their roster this fall. More competition is needed, and Sanders (regardless of his issues) & Cotchery were integral pieces of the passing game in 2013.

            Those numbers and productivity will not be easy to replace are both were big reasons why the offense improved down the stretch.

            I just hope they avoid Nix all together until Day 3. This team won’t finish with more than a .500 record with the offense personnel they currently have. The last thing this team needs is more early-round picks wasted on defensive players who will sit.

  • T-Stone

    I like the TE out of North Carolina, if he is off the charts trade down and obtain more selections. It cannot hurt!