Draft CB breakdown: Steelers could take shot at Byron Murphy
The NFL Draft is April 25-27 in Nashville, Tenn. Each day leading up to the first round, the Tribune-Review is compiling a positional preview of the top draft prospects.
1. Greedy Williams
LSU, 6-2, 185
A two-year starter at LSU, Williams left school after his junior season. He had six interceptions and 11 passes defensed in his sophomore season, for which he was named first-team all-conference. He repeated the honor as a junior and was a second-team All-American after grabbing two interceptions and breaking up nine passes. He also had 33 tackles. At the NFL Combine, he ran a 4.37 40-yard dash.
2. Byron Murphy
Washington, 5-11, 190
Murphy left school after his redshirt sophomore year, and he had just one full year as a starter in the Washington secondary. His redshirt freshman season was marred by a broken foot that cost him seven games at midseason. In 2018, he was named first-team all-conference and second-team All-American after accruing 58 tackles, four interceptions and 13 passes defensed. Murphy was among the Steelers’ 30 predraft visitors.
3. Deandre Baker
Georgia, 5-11, 193
Baker spent all four years at Georgia and was named a first-team All-American after his senior season. He also was named the Jim Thorpe Award winner as the nation’s top defensive back. He had 40 tackles, two interceptions and 10 passes defensed as a senior. He had three interceptions as a junior and two as a sophomore. Baker also had a predraft visit with the Steelers.
4. Rock Ya-Sin
Temple, 6-0, 192
Ya-Sin spent one year at Temple as a graduate transfer after excelling on the field for Presbyterian College, where he started 33 games in three seasons. The transition to major-college football was a smooth one for Ya-Sin, who led Temple with 12 passes defensed. He had 47 tackles and two interceptions. Ya-Sin visited with the Steelers in the predraft process.
5. Trayvon Mullen
Clemson, 6-1, 199
The first cousin of Baltimore Ravens quarterback Lamar Jackson, Mullen declared for the pros after his junior season. He was a two-year starter at Clemson. As a junior, he had 37 tackles (four for a loss), one interception and four passes defensed. He was defensive MVP in the national championship game win against Alabama. He also ran a 4.46 40-yard dash at the NFL Combine.
6. Julian Love
Notre Dame, 5-11, 195
Love left school with a year of eligibility remaining after he suffered a head injury in the semifinal playoff loss to Clemson. He was a finalist for the Jim Thorpe Award, and he was named a first-team All-American as a junior when he had 16 passes defensed, one interception, three fumble recoveries and 68 tackles. As a junior, he had a school-record 20 passes defensed.
7. Lonnie Johnson
Kentucky, 6-2, 213
Johnson is one of the bigger cornerbacks in the class. He spent his final two seasons at Kentucky after beginning at Garden City Community College. He started the final five games of his junior season and all 13 games as a senior when he had 23 tackles, one interception and four passes defensed.
8. Amani Oruwariye
Penn State, 6-2, 205
Oruwariye played mostly as a backup as a junior at Penn State, but his four interceptions and eight passes defensed helped him earn second-team all-conference honors. Oruwariye became a first-team selection as a senior when he led the Nittany Lions with 12 passes defensed and tied for the team lead with three interceptions. He also had 15 tackles.
9. Justin Layne
Michigan State, 6-2, 192
Layne started his college career as a wide receiver, but coaches moved him to defense midway through his freshman season. He started as a sophomore and junior before declaring for the draft. In his final year with the Spartans, Layne had 72 tackles (21/2 for loss) with one interception and 15 passes defensed. He visited with the Steelers during the predraft process.
10. David Long
Michigan, 5-11, 196
After playing four games as a freshman, Long started 26 over the next two seasons before declaring for the draft. As a junior, he had one interception and broke up eight passes en route to being named first-team all-conference. He also had two interceptions as a sophomore.
Mercyhurst, 5-9, 187
Redwood participated in pro days hosted by the Steelers and Cleveland Browns.He ran a 4.4 40-yard dash in the Cal (Pa.) event. He was a three-year starter and four-year contributor at Mercyhurst. As a senior, he had 57 tackles, three interceptions and 17 passes defensed. He also was used as a kickoff returner, scoring a touchdown as a senior.
Best fit for Steelers
The Steelers brought in six cornerbacks for top-30 visits, with five of those players rated as first-day or second-day prospects, including Central Michigan’s Sean Bunting. If the two top inside linebacker targets — Devin White and Devin Bush — are gone, Murphy would make for a nice consolation prize. Coach Mike Tomlin likes young, developing players, and Murphy turned 21 in January.
Joe Rutter is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Joe by email at [email protected] or via Twitter .