The NIT Nati Mock Draft 2014

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Oct 5, 2013; Blacksburg, VA, USA; Virginia Tech Hokies cornerback Kyle Fuller (17) celebrates with safety Kyshoen Jarrett (34) after making an interception in the fourth quarter. The Hokies defeated the Tar Heels 27-17 at Lane Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports

15.  Pittsburgh Steelers – Kyle Fuller, CB, Virginia Tech.  Kyle Fuller fits the Dick Lebeau’s system; it is that simple.  A pure off-man / zone corner with a lanky frame (6’0”, 190 lbs), Fuller figures to be a clone of Ike Taylor and fill his role in relatively short order.  Additionally, Fuller had impressive games against Georgia and North Carolina, showing up in coverage but also playing extremely aggressive in the run defense.  Surprisingly speedy at the Combine, Fuller also comes with the versatility to play safety, an added bonus to an aging Steel Curtain.  The Steelers could go with Justin Gilbert who is both bigger and stronger than Fuller, but his physicality and lack of progress makes him a zone corner by default rather than design.  The Steelers need to get a multi-year defensive starter out of this draft class or they may find themselves at the bottom of the AFC North before long.

16.  New York Giants – Zack Martin, OT, Notre Dame.  The Giants have reportedly been keying in on Zack Martin of Notre Dame for the past few weeks.  Smart, athletic, and instinctive, Martin has shown dependability across multiple college seasons as well as an ability to play all five offensive line positions.  Huge run-blocking ability and physical length dictates a move inside, which is fine for a New York team who has critical needs at guard.  Looked at from this perspective, Martin is clearly the top ‘guard’ in the draft, making this a “best of both worlds” pick for the G-Men.

17. TRADE San Francisco 49ers – Justin Gilbert, CB, Oklahoma State.  Ozzie Newsome loves moving back in the draft, and with nothing of value meeting their needs at safety and offensive line, now seems like a good time.  Meanwhile, San Fran has a ton of picks as well as a big need at corner.  Moving up before the Jets pick gives the Niners the pick of the litter, but Justin Gilbert is too much talent to pass on at seventeen.  Gilbert is monstrous, athletic man-coverage corner who may have scared a few teams away by just how physical he was in his senior campaign.  Indeed, while still a top prospect, Gilbert as a senior has played in more than a handful of big games, and his technique is not where many scouts would like it to be.  While his size would indicate a potential lock-down corner threat, Gilbert will actually fit better as a zone or blitzing corner.  Nonetheless, the 49ers fill a huge need with a huge player.