Steelers 'Looking Hard' At Williams

The Steelers went to see Aaron Williams on Tuesday, but a blistering 40 time didn't help the team's cause. Could someone such as Curtis Brown fill the void? One draft expert chimes in.

The Steelers visited Texas' Pro Day on Tuesday and "they were definitely looking hard at Aaron Williams," said Pro Football Weekly draft expert Nolan Nawrocki, who was also in attendance.

However, Nawrocki said that while Williams likely impressed the Steelers by running his 40 in 4.36, the cornerback probably cemented a spot much higher in the first round with the time.

"The Steelers probably won't get a chance now," Nawrocki said during a media conference call on Wednesday. "New Orleans is looking for a big corner, too, and they were also there looking at Williams. There's a chance he could go as high as 14."

Nawrocki admitted that Williams, like the other Texas cornerbacks Curtis and Chykie Brown, "struggled" at times last season.

"All three of their corners had their moments last season. Their pass defense was a big part of the (team's) problem," Nawrocki said. "But Williams has outstanding body control. Look at the way he shut down Ryan Broyles. And he can cover receivers in the slot. Sometimes that's more difficult than covering the wide guys. But he's a guy who can shut it down for you."

Nawrocki did admit that Williams and another probable Steelers interest at the position, Brandon Harris of Miami, "will push off somewhere higher than their grade from game tape suggests they should." Nawrocki also has Harris listed in his top 20.

The Steelers are scheduled to host Curtis Brown at the end of this week. Is it possible that Brown – with Williams and Harris already gone – could turn out to be the Steelers' choice at pick 31?

"I think Curtis had a solid workout," Nawrocki said of Texas' other starting corner. "But I really don't think he'll get looks until the third-round range."

So, if the top corners are already drafted, and cornerbacks such as Brown, Brandon Burton, Rashad Carmichael and Shareece Wright – to name a few – aren't worthy of being picked in the first round, do the Steelers inject youth into their aging defense by instead drafting a defensive end?

Considering the depth at the position, there should be value available at the bottom of the first round, but Nawrocki said to not expect that end to be Cameron Heyward, the Ohio State 5-technique who's been linked to the Steelers by several analysts.

"The third round is where I think he should go," Nawrocki said. "His struggles have to do with athletic ability. He just looks clumsy and oafish too often. He has strength, size, and the ability to play the position, but too often, when you're watching him on tape, he leaves you wanting more."

For the record, Nawrocki has the Steelers drafting offensive guard-tackle Orlando Franklin in the first round.


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