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Biggest NFL Draft Questions For Each Team Part 4

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Pittsburgh Steelers: Apple, Burns or Billings?

The Pittsurbigh Steelers are hurting up front and in the secondary. Luckily for them, there should be a couple of good players at each spot who could fill those holes.

At cornerback, Eli Apple and Artie Burns fit the profile that the Steelers are looking for in their cornerbacks. Apple and Burns both have great length and speed to be able to play in Pittsburgh. Apple has a little bit better fundamentals with his backpedal, but Burns has looser hips. Both players have high ceilings, but Apple is a little bit better player as of right now.

If the Steelers decide to look at nose tackle, Andrew Billings looks like a perfect fit. Billings is an extremely strong and stout player at the point of attack. He utilizes his low center of gravity to win the leverage battle and take on multiple blocks.

Seattle Seahawks: Jones, Nkemdiche or Spriggs?

The Seattle Seahawks love athletes on their teams, so whoever they pick, you can bet they will be extremely athletic.

Mississippi State’s Chris Jones and Ole Miss’ Robert Nkemdiche are two of the most athletic interior defensive linemen in this draft. Jones is an extremely tall (6-foot-6) player who dominated opposing teams at times with his quickness and hand usage. Nkemdiche is an even better athlete than Jones, but he lacks the refined hand usage and repeat dominance of Jones. Nkemdiche has the higher ceiling, but Jones has the higher floor.

The Seahawks lost Robert Okung in free agency; therefore, they may look to upgrade that position in the first round. Indiana’s Jason Spriggs would be a great fit as the athletic left tackle for Seattle. Spriggs have all the measurements and athletic talent to become a great offensive tackle for years to come, but he struggles to set his post leg against inside moves.

Green Bay Packers: Billings or Reed?

The Green Bay Packers need to upgrade their interior defensive line and this is the perfect year to do so.

Andrew Billings is a perfect fit in Green Bay’s 3-4 defense with his ability to hold up at the point of attack. Billings brings the added benefit of being able to get upfield a bit with his power bull rush. He’s never going to be a six or more sacks kind of player, but he can provide a little bit of pass rush from the interior.

Jarran Reed is another defensive tackle who would fit with the Packers. The Alabama defensive tackle is the hardest to move in this entire class with his elite lower body strength and great knowledge of leverage. Reed doesn’t provide much, if any, pass rush, but he is a reliable run defender who will improve the run defense greatly.

Kansas City Chiefs: Apple, Burns or Alexander?

The Kansas City Chiefs hit a gold mine when they drafted Marcus Peters last year in the first round and with the loss of Sean Smith, it looks like they will go to the well again.

Eli Apple is a physical presence at cornerback who uses his length to disrupt wide receivers. He doesn’t play the ball extremely well, but if he can get used to playing with his back to the quarterback than he should get his hands on the ball more.

Artie Burns is similar to Apple, but he is a more fluid athlete while being slightly smaller. Burns is an extremely raw player technically, but he has a ton to work with.

Mackensie Alexander was a shutdown cornerback in college, but he played in a zone scheme where he was asked to do rudimentary techniques that he’d have to do in the NFL.

Arizona Cardinals: Spence, Kelly or Floyd?

The Arizona Cardinals have one of the best defenses in the NFL, but they desperately need to improve their pass rush. Noah Spence’s talent warrants him to be picked much higher but failed drug tests while at Ohio State may cause him to fall this far. On the field, Spence is the best pass rusher in this class with his speed and quickness around the edge.

Leonard Floyd isn’t as big or well rounded as Spence, but he is a better athlete who can be molded into a game changer off the edge. Furthermore, Floyd has the ability to play inside linebacker if he doesn’t work out on the outside.

On top of outside linebacker, the Cardinals need to improve at center as well. Alabama’s Ryan Kelly is the best in the class as he can be a Pro Bowler in any scheme. Kelly has the athleticism to pull and play on the perimeter along with the strength to handle the beefy nose tackles. He may be one of the safest players in this draft class.

Carolina Panthers: Decker, Spriggs or Alexander?

The Carolina Panthers made it to the Super Bowl and they are maybe one or two players away from winning the Lombardi Trophy. The biggest reason they lost was because they got abused by Von Miller and DeMarcus Ware on the edge.

Ohio State’s Taylor Decker is one of the most pro-ready offensive tackles in this class. He has the strength to be a force in the run game and the length to do well in pass protection. Taylor is a nasty blocker who will wear down defenders as the game moves along.

Jason Spriggs isn’t as pro-ready as Decker, but he may have a higher ceiling. The Indiana offensive tackle can kick slide with the best of them and get on screens extremely well.

With the recent release of Josh Norman, the Panthers have also found themselves in need of a cornerback. Mackensie Alexander would be a perfect fit as he is a great zone cornerback in the same way the Panthers play zone.

Denver Broncos: Cook or Clark?

The Denver Broncos won the Super Bowl last year, but they have a few holes that need to be filled if they hope to win it again.

The most glaring need is at quarterback and Michigan States Connor Cook may be the best on the board. Cook is deadly accurate when he has time in the pocket and he has one of the best arms in the entire class. If the Broncos can come to grips with Cook’s leadership concerns, he may be their pick.

Another need the Broncos have is at offensive tackle and Le’Raven Clark may be a surprising name that Denver may consider. Clark has everything you want from a size and athleticism standpoint. He is extremely raw technically, but with good coaching his ceiling is as high as anyone else.


About John Owning

John Owning

John Owning is a NFL columnist for Football Insiders. He has years of experience covering the NFL, NFL draft and NCAA football. John's work has been featured on the Bleacher Report and DraftBreakdown.com