Steelers 1st Round Targets That Could Still Be On The Draft Board At 31

Over the last few weeks a few readers have asked me if I could put together a realistic list of players the Steelers most likely will have a shot at drafting should they stay at the #31 spot where they are currently slated to pick. As the players with first round grades are starting to settle in following their combine performances and the early pro days, it is easier now to get a better picture of the first round. I will do later rounds as we go, but there is so much movement going on still with the mid round guys it would be ludicrous to project past round one for at least a little while longer. It is too easy to list guys here like Mike Pouncey and Nate Solder as it is pretty obvious in my opinion that if either of those two guys were to somehow drop to 31, the Steelers would snap them up. I just can\’t see those guys falling. What this post is trying to do is provide a realistic narrowing down of players, who at this point of March, look to have a chance at being on the board when the Steelers pick at 31. These players also fit the biggest overall needs the Steelers have as well. These are in no order

T Gabe Carimi (Wisconsin) – Carimi is still passing all the sniff test that he can play left tackle in the NFL. Currently he is my 4th rated tackle and could be selected from pick 20 on. He still has a legitimate chance of sliding to 31 still in my opinion.

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DE Cameron Heyward (Ohio State) – A few days away from his private work-out still, but Heyward could be the best 3-4 five technique defensive end in the draft. If he is not selected by the Chargers at 18, he will likely slip all the way down to the bottom of round 1.

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DE Muhammad Wilkerson (Temple) – Another 3-4 five technique defensive end that can move around to either side. The more I see of this kid, the more I like. Had a great combine showing and could be on the board at 31. Motor is in good shape.

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CB Brandon Harris (Miami) – Harris is a tad bit undersized, but very talented. Probably projects as a nickel back first before trying to move outside. He was the best looking corner in position drills at the combine. Reportedly not a huge character concern. His stock is climbing and he could have already passed Smith as the 3rd rated corner in the draft.

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ILB Martez Wilson (Illinois) – I mentioned this guy back on a podcast a while ago and also in my best player available post. Since then, everyone is finally giving him respect as a possibility for the Steelers in round one. James Farrior is another year older and free agent Keyaron Fox likely will not be back. Larry Foote is under contract still, but not irreplaceable either. Wilson has a great tool set and could probably play inside and outside if needed. He also could cut his teeth on special teams in year one.

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NT Phil Taylor (Baylor) – Taylor will likely be the 1st true nose tackle off the board. The Steelers just nailed down Casey Hampton prior to the 2010 season for a few more years and Chris Hoke is currently an unrestricted free agent. It might be one year too early for the Steelers to draft the heir apparent to Big Snack, but I am not ready to cross him off the list of suspects just because of that.

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T Derek Sherrod (Mississippi State) – Easily the 4th or 5th best tackle in the draft. Because of that he should be available late and could even slide to the early part of round 2. I still have Solder and Carimi rated ahead of him and Sherrod would likely be better suited on the right side as well. He had a good Senior Bowl showing.

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G Danny Watkins (Baylor) – Easily the second best interior lineman on the board, but also easily the oldest guy of the early rounders. Because of his age and the fact he projects as a guard, it would be easy to rule him out as a possibility of being drafted by the Steelers in the 1st round. I am not ready to throw the baby out with the bath water just yet with him, because the talent certainly is there.

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CB Jimmy Smith (Colorado) – Physical corner with questions about his character and work ethic. Certainly is talented and fits what the Steelers need. Some reports suggest he did not interview too well at the combine. Certainly has a shot at dropping to 31, but would the Steelers risk it with him? Too early to rule him out just yet as many are trying to do.

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CB/S Aaron Williams (Texas) – Is he a corner or a safety? Not the best of tacklers, but is still raw. Easily the 5th rated corner in the draft if that is what he is deemed. Would probably be a reach for the Steelers in round one, but I am not ready to rule him out as a possibility just yet.

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I am, I'm me. 40 something, retired and a life long Steelers fan.
  • Randy

    Good list. I have been reading up on Wilson lately and like whay I have read and seen on him highlight wise. Seems his proday was not all that good and it will keep him out of the top part of round one. I could certainly see the Steelers drafting him. As far as Williams goes, I think he drops out of the first round and can’t see the Steelers drafting him at that spot. Nice work.

  • jorge

    I strongly agree with a good portion of this list. In fact I think if Carimi gets as close as 25th pick or so, the Steelers will jump on him. Heyward is a future pro bowler, enough said. i would have to add Oregon State DE Stephen Paea next on the list. He has a great brust off the line, impressive power and one thing the Steelers crave for on any first round pick..heart for the game and the hunger for more.