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Steelers NFL Draft Forecast: Cornerbacks

Friday, April 20, 2001

By Ed Bouchette, Post-Gazette Sports Writer

Nate Clements
5-11, 209
Ohio State
1 Visited the Steelers on April 4. He's their kind of player, a big cornerback who can stop the run, yet quick and fast enough to play well in coverage. Not consistent. Has all the attributes to be an outstanding player.

Will Allen
5-10, 200
2 Has great physical ability and needs only to learn a few things in pass coverage. Coach Bill Cowher loves him. He would have the chance to play behind the Steelers' starters for a year before moving in.

Willie Middlebrooks
6-1 1/2, 200
3 Another Steelers-type cornerback, big with speed. Has been on the rise as well after physicals determined his broken left ankle has healed and should not cause problems. Not a pure cover guy, more like Chad Scott. Needs to improve his tackling technique.

Michael Stone
5-11, 195
4 Visited the Steelers on April 11. His star has been rising since the end of the season. Good speed and loves to hit. Kick-blocker extraordinaire. Aggressive and built solidly.

Fred Smoot
5-11, 170
Mississippi State
5 Smooth. Likes to run his mouth more than he likes to tackle. He's a slight kid who managed just one rep in the 225-pound bench press. Not the kind of cornerback the Steelers normally go after.

Jamar Fletcher
5-9, 180
6 Visited the Steelers on April 2. Small and slow. Other than that, a great cornerback. The lack of size and speed did not seem to hurt him when it came down to playing the game. He did it so well he won the Jim Thorpe Award as the best defensive back in the NCAA and was Big Ten Conference defensive player of the year. Does everything right.

Ken Lucas
6-0, 200
7 Visited the Steelers last week. Has the size and speed to be a top corner but he's still learning how to play the position after converting from wide receiver early at Mississippi. Could play safety. A bit of a gamble, but he won't be taken high and good corners with size are hard to find.

Brock Williams
5-9 1/2, 185
Notre Dame
8 He's better in pass defense than he is against the run. Started in 1998 but missed all of 1999 when he was suspended for various infractions. Had one interception in his career. Tests well but not a dynamic player.

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