Pittsburgh Steelers: Grading Each Pick Of The 2015 NFL Draft
1 (22): Bud Dupree - OLB, Kentucky
With Jarvis Jones looking like a bust and James Harrison turning 37 before the start of the season, this pick makes a lot of sense. Bud Dupree was considered a top-ten prospect towards the end of the draft process, so he held great value at 22. The veteran presence should allow for Dupree to be brought on slowly, starting out as a situational edge rusher early on and taking over for the aging Harrison later in the year.
2 (24): Senquez Golson - CB, Mississippi
This was a fairly surprising pick, as while the Steelers definitely needed a corner, they often preferred the bigger guys. Senquez Golson is quite small, at 5-foot-9 and 176 pounds, but he has the athletic ability and coverage skills to be a starting corner in this league. Whether or not he will be restricted to inside coverage is yet to be known, but that looks to be what is most likely. This looked like a bit of a reach to some, as many saw Golson going somewhere between the middle of the third to the fourth, but he can cover as well as anyone that was available.
3 (23): Sammie Coates - WR, Auburn
This pick may have come as a surprise to some, but Markus Wheaton has not really proven that he belongs in three-receiver sets, and would likely be stuck inside if he were to better develop the intangibles of his game. Sammie Coates is a physically imposing receiver, as his size and speed was often too much for opposing corners to handle. He is prone to drops and ran almost only flies, screens, and curved routes, so he will need some time to improve his game. However, he has what it takes to be a threat outside the hashes. If he and second-year player Martavis Bryant can grasp the nuances of the position, then the Steelers could have two fast, bid-bodied receviers out wide with arguably the league's best receiver Antonio Brown playing inside. The reason the grade is low is because of Coates' extreme lack of instincts, but it is not too low because the Steelers have some receivers ahead of him that will allow him to develop behind the scenes.
4 (22): Doran Grant - CB, Ohio State
With the two corners that the Steelers have drafted, it looks like they will primarily use zone coverages. Doran Grant is a little small and lacks the quick twitch to make up for that in man, but he is an intelligent player that understands routes and does a good job reacting to what is in front of him.
5 (24): Jesse James - TE, Penn State
Jesse James is a big tight end with good speed for his size. He may not have the burst to be a consistent receiving threat, but he can be a good number two. However, he does not have the blocking skills most complementary tight ends have, so he has the size to develop in that area.
6 (23): Leterrius Walton - DT, Central Michigan
One of the more raw linemen in the draft, Leterrius Walton is unlikely to start anytime soon with guys like Cameron Heyward and Stephon Tuitt ahead of him, but he has starting potential. He possessesthe size and the strength the be a quality run stopper, though he probably will not be much of a pass rushing threat.
6 (36): Anthony Chickillo - DE, Miami
Anthony Chickillo is a tricky player, as he is considered a bit of a tweener. He is strong for his size, but he is also just 267 pounds. That is two pounds lighter than Bud Dupree, arguably the most physically gifted player in this draft. Chickillo does not have the same burst as Dupree, but a similar position is where his size fits. Chickillo could get some time both down on the line and as a linebacker, but he will likely see most of his snaps on special teams.
7 (22): Gerod Holliman - FS, Louisville
Despite putting up one of the most impressive seasons and declaring for the draft in a week safety, Gerod Holliman was not drafted in the first three rounds. That was kind of expected, but to get selected in the seventh round is a huge shocker. Holliman lacks the athleticism that teams covet and played really aggressive, but his ball-hawking skills are among the best in the draft. He will have to develop his instincts and play with more discipline no doubt, but he has a legitimate shot to be a starter in this league. Mike Mitchell is the current starter at free safety, but he has been quite average.