As the Steelers continue their face-to-face visits with nearly all of the top cornerback prospects in the upcoming NFL Draft, one of them is making a surge up the draft boards.
NFL Network analyst Daniel Jeremiah, a former scout for three NFL teams, said Thursday on a conference call that Bradley Roby (above) of Ohio State could be the second cornerback chosen in the May 8-10 draft — and he has him going to the Steelers at No. 15.
Roby visited the Steelers last Friday.
Previously, the general consensus among the top-level draft analysts was that Justin Gilbert of Oklahoma State and Darqueze Dennard of Michigan State were 1-2 among cornerbacks. But Jeremiah said his discussions with team executives lead him to think that Roby could go fairly early, possibly ahead of Dennard.
Jeremiah had Roby rated as the top cornerback going into the season. But Roby had an uneven senior year, with Jeremiah saying he might have had some NFL-itis — wishing he’d gone pro the previous spring. Roby also was suspended for Ohio State’s season opener because of an off-field incident.
Roby is 5-foot-11 and 194 pounds, and he ran an impressive 4.39 seconds in the 40-yard dash at the NFL Combine in Indianapolis.
Jeremiah’s NFL Network colleague, Charles Davis, has Roby behind Gilbert and Dennard. ESPN analyst Mel Kiper Jr. has Roby behind Gilbert, Dennard and Jason Verrett of TCU.
Dennard and Verrett met earlier with the Steelers in Pittsburgh, with Verrett dropping by the South Side offices on Monday — the same day cornerback Shaquille Richardson of Arizona visited.
Yet another cornerback, Phillip Gaines of Rice, met with the Steelers on Thursday, along with defensive tackle Ra’Shede Hageman of Minnesota and tight end Rob Blanchflower of Massachusetts.
With so many of their 30 allowable visits devoted to cornerbacks, it’s obvious the Steelers plan to draft at least one — but not necessarily on the first round.
Roby, for example, was seen before as a possible second-round pick. But, if Jeremiah’s instincts are correct and he goes in the first round, another one of those cornerbacks (Dennard or Verrett) could be available in the second round for Pittsburgh, which then could possibly go for a wide receiver on the first round.
The Steelers also met recently with two safety prospects, Calvin Pryor of Louisville and Deone Bucannon.
Davis also thinks Pitt defensive tackle Aaron Donald could end up being a Top 10 pick.
Jeremiah has Donald going No. 14 overall to the Bears, but Davis said Donald could go as early as No. 10 to the Lions, who decided recently not to bring back defensive lineman Nick Fairley.
“Donald could be a guy they (the Lions) make a move on right then and there,” Davis said. “I don’t think he’s out of line for the Giants (at No. 12). The Bears, Cowboys (No. 16) are probable spots. I’m not sure he gets past that.”
Jeremiah also thinks Pitt quarterback Tom Savage will go near the top of the second round, and Davis said Pitt wide receiver Devin Street could go later in that round.