PITTSBURGH -- There are still a lot of intriguing players available after the first round of the NFL draft -- and more than a few that analysts had projected as first-round picks.
The second round of the draft sets up nicely for the Steelers for several reasons.
First and foremost, only 13 teams pick ahead of them. With the Texans likely to take a quarterback with the first pick in the second round and a run expected on offensive linemen at least one of the following 10 players who are really good prospects and would fill a need should be on the board when the Steelers make their second pick.
WR Marqise Lee, Southern Cal: Had once been considered one of the best wide receivers in the draft and may have been a top 10-15 pick had he entered the draft last year. The Steelers don’t have much chance of landing Lee as his free fall figures to end early in the second round.
CB Stanley-Jean Baptiste, Nebraska: Tall, rangy cornerback had been projected as a possible late first-round pick, and he would address the Steelers’ most glaring need. Steelers may get a crack at him depending on how many quarterbacks and offensive linemen are picked ahead of them in second round.
DE Stephon Tuitt, Notre Dame: Another projected first-round pick who has to wait an extra night to hear his name called. The Steelers could address defensive end by selecting Tuitt, whose pass-rushing skills could make him an eventual three-down player in Pittsburgh’s defense.
NT Louis Nix, Notre Dame: Prototypical nose tackle who would be able to contribute immediately as a run stopper. The Steelers may be happy with Steve McLendon at nose tackle but Nix more fits the mold of Casey Hampton, and he would tempt them if he is still available.
WR Cody Latimer, Indiana: One of the fastest risers in the draft did not crack the first round, but he would be a great pick for the Steelers if he falls to them. Latimer has good size, speed and toughness, and he was incredibly productive despite facing constant double teams at Indiana.
DE Ra’Shede Hageman, Minnesota: Another player who had been widely projected as a first-round pick. Has tremendous size and physical ability but inconsistent play in college pushed him into the second round. Like Tuitt, projects as a defensive end who can provide an inside pass rush when the Steelers go to a nickel defense.
OLB Demarcus Lawrence, Boise State: The Steelers still need to bolster their pass rush and add depth at outside linebacker. Joyner would have to make the transition from defensive end to outside linebacker in a 3-4 scheme but he has the athleticism to do it, and he showed in college that he can get after the quarterback.
WR Jordan Matthews, Vanderbilt: Matthews would give the Steelers a taller wide receiver and could still be available in the middle of the second round. There are questions about how well he will be able to separate at the next level but it’s hard to overlook that he is the SEC’s all-time leading receiver.
OLB Kyle Van Noy, BYU: ESPN analyst Mel Kiper Jr. had Van Noy going in the first round of his final mock draft. Productive and versatile at BYU, Van Noy could provide quality depth at outside linebacker and also contribute on special teams early in his career.
WR Allen Robinson, Penn State: Re-wrote the Nittany Lions’ record books despite playing just two seasons. He has good size, exceptional hands and catches the ball well in traffic. The biggest question with Robinson is whether he is fast enough to thrive at the next level.