In a new wave of mock drafts, Joey Porter Jr. continues to be a popular Steelers draft pick while a new cornerback rose up to the ranks.
: In a new mock draft by Todd McShay of ESPN, the Steelers do grab a cornerback, but it is not any of the top three. Instead, they nab Mississippi State cornerback Emmanuel Forbes, who rose up boards after running a blazing fast 4.35 40-yard dash.
“Forbes is flying up my board just like he flew in the 40-yard dash on Friday night, posting a 4.35,” McShay said. “He has great ball production, picking off 14 passes and breaking up 18 more over three seasons. That fits with the Steelers, who led the league with 20 interceptions last season but could lose Cameron Sutton to free agency. Forbes also measured in at 6-1 and 166 pounds at the combine. Yes, 166 pounds. That might scare some teams off in Round 1, but they shouldn’t discount the high-level instincts and body control that we see on tape.”
That weight could scare the Steelers draft brass away, but Forbes is a ballhawk who brings just about everything they love at the position. Expect to see Pittsburgh interested, and they did have a formal meeting with Forbes at the NFL Combine as well.
: Meanwhile, in a new NFL.com mock draft done by Lance Zierlein, the Steelers go into another direction entirely. They pick Maryland CB Deonte Banks, who might have been the workout warrior of the week. He was one of the big winners of the week, and the Steelers pick him in this mock draft.
“Banks obliterated the testing in Indy, pushing himself up the draft board. His scheme versatility gives the Steelers coverage flexibility,” Zierlein said.
The big issue of this mock draft? Joey Porter Jr. was right there. Banks is a good player, but Porter Jr. is beginning to feel like the obvious candidate if he is there. But that is the bigger question — will he be there?
: Meanwhile, the Athletic’s Dane Brugler released his new mock draft on Monday, but the choice for the Steelers is no surprise at all. They land Joey Porter Jr., who seems like the odds-on favorite to be the pick at 17 as we stand here today following the NFL Combine.
“As the son of an All-Pro in Pittsburgh, Porter Jr. grew up in the Steelers locker room and got his first taste of playing cornerback by going one-on-one with Antonio Brown,” Brugler said. “Aside from the personal connections, Porter Jr. is a physical press corner who would immediately improve the Steelers’ defense.”
This all makes sense and Porter does fit what the Steelers like at the position. So, there is no surprise that they would add him to the room.
: Similarly, in Mel Kiper’s new mock draft, he has the Steelers going out and getting Joey Porter Jr. That is certainly one that continues to be likely and often mocked. With NFL bloodlines as well as the Penn State connection, Porter Jr. fits what the Steelers like and need from the position.
“The 6-foot-2 Porter next on my board. He didn’t allow a single touchdown in coverage last season, and quarterbacks averaged just 3.7 yards per attempt when he was the nearest defender in coverage. While I would have like to see him come down with more interceptions — he had one in 30 college starts — he broke up 11 passes last season, so the ball skills are there,” Kiper wrote.
🏈: In Calvin Watkins’ new mock draft for Dallas News, the Steelers land Devon Witherspoon. All of the flavors of the month, minus Christian Gonzalez, are represented in the mock draft spray this morning. Much like others, Watkins cites their need at cornerback and their love for physicality at the position, all of which is true and Witherspoon checks. Wherever they land, it will be interesting to see, but it seems cornerback is the clear position.