As we enter the pre-combine portion of the draft process, it is always hard to focus in on specific team targets. As Steelers 101 has mentioned in past articles, this year seems to be extremely difficult to pin down what the Pittsburgh Steelers will do. However, that is not the case for ESPN, as both of their draft gurus have the Steelers landing Notre 'dame nose tackle Louis Nix III in the first round. In many ways, the selection of Nix would be perfect. The Steelers struggled against the run in 2013, and definitely have a need on the defensive line. Nix, who at 6-3, 326-pounds is big enough to anchor as a nose tackle, also has some explosiveness off the snap that allows him to collapse the pocket in the passing game.
The key for the Steelers would be his short area quickness, strength, and ability to be the anchor of the defensive line that clearly missed Casey Hampton in 2013. On top of that, Nix shows enough athleticism, to possibly stay on the field in some passing situations, an area where the Steelers were torched on the ground last season.
On the downside, Nix will have to be medically checked at the combine, as he suffered through some nagging injuries at South Bend, and also underwent a minor knee surgery. While these injuries do not appear to hurt his stock, for a player of his size and skill, they could have some type of impact. If he checks out medically, Nix could be a steal at number 15, as he has the rare ability to be a run stuffer in both even and odd fronts. However, if he checks out medically and shows explosiveness in workouts, he may not be available at number 15.
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