The AFC North champion Pittsburgh Steelers own the 22nd pick. The storied franchise had a few notable departures on the defensive end of things this offseason. Future Hall of Fame safety Troy Polamalu finally hung up his cleats after a tremendous career. He began to considerably slow down over the last few seasons and probably made the right call to retire now. Cornerback Ike Taylor also retired as well after a 2014 season filled with various injures. Long time defensive coordinator Dick Labeau parted ways as well moving on to Tennessee in an assistant type role. Keith Butler will take over as DC, he’s been the linebackers coach with the team since 2003. Big Ben signed a contract extension which helps out the team financially keeping him in black and gold until 2019. His backfield mate and Pro Bowl running back Le’Veon Bell faces a three game suspension to start the 2015 season due to a marijuana offense last preseason. Bell is arguably the most important player on the Steelers offense. When he exited last year’s Wild Card game versus the Ravens it was noticeable how the offense struggled to move the ball without him. The Steelers kick off the NFL season against the defending champs in New England. Week 2 is the home opener against the 49ers and the last game Bell would be slated to miss is week 3 at St. Louis. Veteran running back Deangelo Williams was brought in to provide depth, but he will certainly not be able to fill Bell’s role. I expect the Steelers to target a running back in the middle round as well. Star wideout Antonio Brown has also been rumored to be seeking a new contract and willing to skip training camp to prove his point. This coupled with the absence of Bell would be crushing to Pittsburgh. That being said the Steelers have a pretty solid track record of extending their own players so I believe Brown is staying put for a while. Pittsburgh will likely be in a battle once again for the AFC North title and need to make this first round pick count. With the 22nd pick in the 2015 Birds Scoop Mock Draft the Pittsburgh Steelers select…
Marcus Peters- Cornerback (Washington)
Peters has the chance to be a difference maker in the NFL, but he definitely comes equipped with his share of baggage. He was suspended for one game last season after a sideline tirade and ultimately dismissed from the team completely after multiple run-ins with the coaching staff. However, he does have the physical tools wanted to play the corner position in the NFL to along with his size. Peters is a very talented press-man style corner that gets up in receivers faces right off the line. He also has a great ability to compete for jump balls and often comes away on the winning end. Many scouts note he is a very confident and tough player which are qualities most high level cornerbacks display at the next level. Peters has a tendency to grab too much once beaten off the line off scrimmage and battling receivers down the field. As many of us now that will draw an immediate flag in the NFL these days. The trouble with Peters is obviously his off the field issues in addition to having trouble being open to coaching instruction. If there’s one guy that could get through to Peters and show him what it takes to be a professional I would think Mike Tomlin can do that job. Pittsburgh has a strong veteran presence in the locker room as well which is great for a cocky rookie coming in. The cornerback position is lacking for Pittsburgh with only William Gay, Cortez Allen, Antwon Blake and B.W. Webb on the roster. Allen struggled last year after the team gave him a contract extension. Blake and Webb are still younger, unproven players. Gay is the veteran of the group and should be a starter barring unforeseen circumstances.
Next Pick: 23rd overall Detroit Lions
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