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Steelers

Steelers mock drafts: Beat writers give their picks

| Wednesday, April 29, 2015, 10:24 p.m.

The Trib's Steelers coverage team plays GM and makes the team's nine picks:

Chris Adamski

1.(#22, ROUND 1)

Marcus Peters (CB) Washington

2. (#56, ROUND 2)

Jaelen Strong (WR) Arizona State

3.(#87, ROUND 3)

Nate Orchard (OLB) Utah

4.(#121, ROUND 4)

Jeffrey Heuerman (TE) Ohio State

5.(#160, ROUND 5)

Adrian Amos (S) Penn State

6a.(#199, ROUND 6)

Kyle Emanuel (OLB) North Dakota State

6b.(#212, ROUND 6)

Darryl Roberts (CB) Marshall

7.(#239, ROUND 7)

Quinton Spain (G) West Virginia

Last year, as much as any in the Kevin Colbert era, the Steelers drafted big on risk/reward. Almost entirely up and down their selections were players with high ceilings that carried, for one reason or another, a question mark or two.

Should the Steelers go with a pick of Peters on Thursday, that would continue into the 2015 first round. As arguably the top cornerback in this draft, Peters is too tempting to pass up – assuming he provided an adequate explanation for getting kicked off his team last fall.

The two edge rushers in this group – Orchard and Emanuel – led FBS (in sacks per game) and FCS (in total sacks), respectively. They're worth taking the chance on. The top immediate need on offense is filled by Heuerman, who has all the tools and intangibles to fit in with the Steelers.

Mark Kaboly

1.(#22, ROUND 1)

Marcus Peters (CB) Washington

2.(#56, ROUND 2)

Devin Smith (WR) Ohio State

3. (#87, ROUND 3)

Senquez Golson (CB) Mississippi

4. (#121, ROUND 4)

Davis Tull (OLB) Tennessee-Chattanooga

5.(#160, ROUND 5)

Jesse James (TE) Penn State

6a.(#199, ROUND 6)

Max Valles (OLB) Virginia

6b. (#212, ROUND 6)

Sean Hickey (OT) Syracuse

7.(#239, ROUND 7)

Akeem Hunt (RB) Purdue

You can pretty be much assured of three things in life: Death, taxes and the Steelers aren't going to reach for a need pick even if it is a substantial need.

But is there any better time to relax that organizational-wide philosophy than this year? The Steelers need a cornerback. Actually, they could use a couple and have been saying that for months now.

Off-the-field issues won't scare them from taking Washington cornerback Marcus Peters in the first round. Peters is a big and physical press corner – exactly what the Steelers demand from that position.

They will snatch Ohio State's speedy receiver Devin Smith in the second (even though it might be considered a luxury pick). CB Senquez Golson and OLBs Davis Tull and Max Valles will make it a defensive-heavy draft for the Steelers.

Ralph Paulk

1. (#22, Round 1)

Kevin Johnson (CB) Wake Forest

2. (#56, Round 2)

Eli Harold (OLB) Virginia

3. (#87, Round 3)

Kwon Alexander (OLB/DE) LSU

4. (#121, Round 4)

Jaquiski Tartt (SS) Samford

5. (#160, round 5)

Jeremy Langford (RB) Michigan State

6a. (#199, round 6)

Alex Carter (CB) Stanford

6b. (#212, round 6)

Austin Shepherd (OT) Alabama

7.(#239, round 7)

Devin Smith (WR) Ohio State

Admittedly, Steelers general manager Kevin Colbert and coach Mike Tomlin are impressed with this year's crop of outside linebackers, but they aren't likely to get the player they want until the second round – that's if Eli Harold of Virginia falls to the 56th overall pick – as some draft analysts predict.

Defensively, the Steelers have other needs, especially with the retirement of All-Pro safety Troy Polamalu and cornerback Ike Taylor. Cornerback Kevin Johnson of Wake Forest appears an attractive pick in the opening round. Washington cornerback Marcus Peters could be an option if available. The sleeper is this draft could be outside linebacker Kwon Alexander of LSU. It will be tough to leave him on the draft board, but only if safeties Jaquiski Tartt of Samford and James Sample of Louisville are available.

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