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Steelers Wish List, Part II

With a pass-rusher in hand, here's how the Steelers will address other needs.

PITTSBURGH -- Didn't fall for the quarterback talk in the first round.

Won't fall for it in the second round.

No, the Pittsburgh Steelers crossed pass-rusher off their needs list Thursday night by drafting outside linebacker T.J. Watt in the first round. Tonight, in the second and third rounds, expect them to look for value at the following positions: cornerback, nickel safety, wide receiver, tight end and running back. 

Here's my Top 20. Print and check them off as the night moves along. I have no doubt you'll be covered.

1. Chidobe Awuzie, CB, Colorado -- Played some linebacker in college, played some safety, played in the slot but mostly played outside cornerback. If you can't pronounce the 6-0, 202-pound corner's first name, he suggests you use "Cheetah."

2. Budda Baker, S, Washington -- Has been a favorite of this site all season because of his playmaking skills and toughness, the only question being how long he can stand up to the pounding at 5-9 1/2, 195. The second round is a far better place to find out than the first.

3. Kevin King, CB, Washington -- Tall, 6-3 zone corner won't last long. The beauty of King is that he doesn't play tall. His agility times were some of the best at the NFL Combine, an event-best 6.56 in the 3-cone and a position-best 3.89 in the shuttle.

4. Marcus Maye, S, Florida -- A center fielder who'll come up and belt you. Maye is 5-11 1/2, 207 with speed (4.47) and agility (4.18). Has played in the slot and is a favorite among the tape-watching set of Steelers fans.

5. Obi Melifonwu, S, UConn -- At 6-4, 227, he's tall and could make the move from safety to the flank. Another Combine sensation, he had a vertical jump of 44 inches and a broad jump at 11-0, but his short shuttle time of 4.30 at his pro day is a red flag in the analytics crowd.

6. Quincy Wilson, CB, Florida -- Tough, press man corner whose knock is a seeming aversion to the run game. For a 6-0 1/2, 211-pounder who has no problem jamming receivers at the line, that's a peculiar trait.

7. Desmond King, CB, Iowa -- Rises in prominence with the need for a slot cb/safety. King has the size (5-10, 201), the strength (14 reps), the agility (6.67/4.18), the ball skills (Michigan state prep record 29 interceptions/14 college interceptions) and won the Thorpe Award in 2015. Captain. Graduate. Kickoff returner. Wore black and gold for four years.

8. Josh Jones, S, North Carolina St. -- Another contender for the slot cb/lb position currently held by a combination of Will Gay and dime linebacker Rob Golden. Jones is 6-1, 220 and ran a 4.41 Combine 40. He's a bit blocky in coverage (4.40 shuttle) but led his team with 109 tackles last season.

9. Zach Cunningham, ILB, Vanderbilt -- Projects better as a 4-3 will backer, the rangy, 6-3 1/2, 234-pounder would look to eventually replace Lawrence Timmons but initially find the field as a coverage linebacker. His 4.67 40 and solid agility times (7.03, 4.29) provide hope in that department. So do his 81 1/2-inch wingspan and experience in Vanderbilt's 3-4 scheme. Doesn't tackle like the classic Steelers buck backer though. Aims high and drags you down.

10. Howard Wilson, CB, Houston -- Moldable, cover corner clay. The 6-0 3/4, 184-pound has only one season as a full-time starter but showed ability to play man, press man and off coverage. His 40 time (4.57) might keep some away, but his loose hips and fluidity is reflected in his 3.94 shuttle time.

11. Curtis Samuel, RB, Ohio State -- Just too good and too quick to leave off the list this long. Someone else will take this all-around offensive threat. Samuel (5-10 1/2, 196) ran a blistering 4.34 Combine 40 and would not only provide depth behind Le'Veon Bell but would be a threat as a slot receiver. Could be one of the first players taken tonight.

12. Zay Jones, WR, East Carolina -- While we're in the offensive slot, let's throw the all-time Division One receiving champ (399 receptions) on the list. The Steelers would like not only insurance for any Martavis Bryant lapse but someone to compete with Eli Rogers for the starting slot job. Played for former Mike Tomlin assistant Scottie Montgomery.

13. Chris Godwin, WR, Penn State -- Tough 6-1, 209-pounder visited the Steelers and would provide all that Zay Jones would on the depth chart. Showed he's a big-game player in the Rose Bowl with 9 catches for 187 yards with a pair of touchdowns over first-round pick Adoree Jackson -- all after enduring a flu virus the previous night. Blocks. Just turned 21.

14. Shaquill Griffin, CB, Central Florida -- Big (6-0, 194), fast (4.38), strong (17 reps), productive (led conference in passes defensed, added four interceptions), this sleeper tended to allow separation out of the break, but wowed scouts at both the Senior Bowl and in Combine field drills. Could very well be picked late in the second round.

15. Justin Evans, S, Texas A&M -- Another in a deep safety class who could contend for the Steelers slot corner position and give them three safeties on the field in their nickel. At 5-11 1/2, 199, Evans ran a 4.6 40 at his pro day with a vertical jump of 41.5. Only knock is an overaggressiveness that results in missed tackles.

16. Carlos Henderson, WR, Louisiana Tech -- Won both the Conference USA Offensive and Special Teams players of the year awards last season after catching 82 passes (18.7 avg.) for 19 touchdowns and averaging 25.0 with one touchdown on kick returns. Also carried 32 times for 267 yards. Knocked for a history of injuries that included playing through a broken hand late last season. He's 5-11, 199, 4.46.

17. Dalvin Cook, RB, Florida State -- Haven't paid much attention to this superstar, but character questions apparently were being asked before a draft in which he was expected to be picked in the first round.

18. Josh Reynolds, WR, Texas A&M -- Here's a true red-zone threat. At 6-3, 194, Reynolds has a 37-inch vertical jump and used that length to catch 30 touchdown passes the last three seasons. Excels at out-jumping cornerbacks and high-pointing passes. Visited the Steelers this spring. Ran a 4.52 40.

19. George Kittle, TE, Iowa -- Tenacious blocker, this 6-3 3/4, 247-pounder opened eyes with his speed at the Combine, where he ran a 4.52 40 and also showed explosiveness with a 35-inch vertical and an 11-0 broad jump. Has good hands and would provide the Steelers with a rare receiving threat as an in-line blocker.

20. Blair Brown, ILB, Ohio -- The Ohio State contingent doesn't want to hear about this Bobcat while Raekwon McMillan remains on the board, but Brown (5-11 1/2, 238) showed better coverage skills -- and, for perhaps the final time this draft season -- quality agility with a 4.18 shuttle. He's a thumper with coverage skills, so that means he can eventually become a three-down buck backer for the Steelers.


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