Arthur Brown, ILB, Kansas State
The 6'0" Brown is an undersized linebacker prospect, but his size has not limited his ability. He is one of the best inside linebacker prospects in the draft. NFL.com’s scouting report of Brown compares him to San Francisco's NaVorro Bowman.
Strong against the run and pass, Brown would be able to come in and start immediately over Larry Foote. Paired with Lawrence Timmons, the Steelers would have one of the best inside linebacker duos in the league.
Tyler Eifert, TE, Notre Dame
The 6’6” tight end from Notre Dame has terrific size and good speed, running the 40-yard dash in 4.68 seconds. He may not be a top blocker, but he is a dangerous threat in the passing game.
Eifert was named the top tight end in college football after making 50 receptions for 685 yards and four touchdowns last season. He would provide Ben Roethlisberger with a huge target who could make tough catches in traffic or stretch the middle of the field.
Jarvis Jones, OLB, Georgia
Jarvis Jones told NFL.com’s Ian Rapoport that he does not believe that he will fall beyond the Steelers. Given the Steelers need at outside linebacker, that could very well be the case.
Jones is Bleacher Report’s Matt Miller’s 16th-best prospect. He dominated last season with 15.4 sacks, 24.5 tackles for loss and seven forced fumbles.
Cordarrelle Patterson, WR, Tennessee
The wide receiver position is stacked in the first round, and the Steelers could go with Patterson, Tavon Austin or DeAndre Hopkins.
Hopkins is the safest bet, while Austin is the most electrifying option. Patterson, however, gets the nod because he has the highest upside with his 6’2” size and 4.42 speed.
The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette’s Gerry Dulac believes that Patterson is the top receiver on the Steelers’ draft board (via PG+ subscription site).
Xavier Rhodes, CB, Florida State
Rhodes and Desmond Trufant are two cornerback options, but Rhodes’ size and physical style of play give him an advantage.
The Steelers have two quality starters here already, but they could use depth behind them. Not only would Rhodes upgrade the team's depth, but he could eventually take over for Ike Taylor as the starter.
Kenny Vaccaro, S, Texas
Vaccaro is Matt Miller’s 10th-ranked prospect and could quickly become a starter.
NFL.com’s scouting report of Vaccaro praised his man-coverage skills, which would fit nicely against the lethal passing attacks in today’s NFL. He can contribute immediately in the nickel set and eventually start at free or strong safety.
Who Will They Select?
The Steelers have needs all over the place, and their first-round draft board should indicate this. In fact, they have so many needs that I listed more than five prospects.
So who will the Steelers select?
I anticipate that Jones and Vaccaro—whom I believe the Steelers would select if available—will both be off of the board, leaving Eifert as the top remaining prospect.
Eifert would allow the Steelers to effectively throw the ball out of the two-tight end set. Nothing against David Paulson or Matt Spaeth, but Eifert would be an upgrade.
Having Heath Miller and Eifert would provide Roethlisberger with two massive targets who could effectively work the middle of the field.