2012 Steelers Mock Draft Version 1.0 – Post Senior Bowl

The Senior Bowl is now in the books and so kicks off the march towards the 2012 NFL draft. The next big event of course is the NFL combine that begins February 22nd and that is followed by the individual college pro days and pre draft visits.

I purposely waited to release my first version of the 2012 Steelers mock draft so I could watch the Senior Bowl week coverage and game as to allow me to see several of players play and practice. With that said, I also like to research extensively to get a feel of what rounds players are expected to go in. As we have seen time and time again, several players will go higher or lower than most expect they will, but the whole mock drafting process is a fluid process. I will once again be releasing 5 or 6 versions of my mock draft up until draft day in hopes of besting my personal best effort last year that saw me nail the Steelers top 3 draft picks, just not in the right order. I expect my mocks to change over the course of the next several weeks, especially as I see what prospects get the most attention from the Steelers scouts and coaches. Pre draft visits are also very key in the process, but those will not take place for some time now.

I have long ago highlighted the Steelers needs for the upcoming draft and those still remain unchanged in my eyes. At the top of the list of needs is a left guard, a nose tackle and an inside linebacker. The Steelers have shown us in the past though that they are not above going with the best player available, that meets any need and I expect that to hold true this year as well. The lone position exceptions in the first round in my opinion would be quarterback, true center and of course kickers. All other positions should not be eliminated even though a few are a lot less likely than others to be drafted by the black and gold in the first round.

Feel free to leave comments, but make sure they are constructive. If you want to be a troll, please go elsewhere. My next version of this mock draft should come just prior to the combine and needless to say it will change drastically in the later rounds I am sure as I watch more tape an d read more of the scouting reports.

Cordy GlennG60543461035 1/884 5/8Georgia

Round 1 – LG/LT – Cordy Glenn – Georgia – I really struggled putting Glenn in this spot after watching the Senior Bowl, but had to remember that he was moved around quite a bit. He worked at both left tackle and left guard down in Mobile, and even though he projects as a better guard at the next level, and not surprisingly, he looked more comfortable at left tackle in the game. I think he has the talent to play, but just needs the coaching now, especially if he kicks inside. The Steelers need help at the left guard spot and it could come in the form of Glenn, Kelechi Osemele or even David DeCastro, should a miracle happen and he drop within trade up range on draft day. I am not holding my breath though. I have not been shy about my love for DeCastro, but all signs point to him being well off the board by the time the Steelers pick. I also considered inside linebacker Dont\’a Hightower as an option here as well, just so you know my line of thinking. Glenn really seems to be a good character guy judging by my research and apparently smart to boot. I was very close to going with Dontari Poe here, but need to see more of him to justify him being a first round guy. I really like Poe and think he would be a good fit and a good combine and pro day could vault him into the first round. I will end by telling you I am not married to Glenn here and could indeed see him being an early round two guy.

Alameda Ta\’amuNT60243419 7/83378 3/8Washington

Round 2 – NT – Alameda Ta\’amu – Washington – I have Ta\’amu as my second rated true nose tackle in the draft and I think he helped his draft stock down at the Senior Bowl. Many have him pegged as perhaps as a late round 3 guy prior to this weekend, but I feel he is more of a late round 2 or early round 3 prospect myself. The Steelers certainly have a need for a young nose tackle regardless of what happens with Casey Hampton this offseason and I feel they will adress the position in the first 3 rounds of the draft. Ta\’amu showed his quickness in the Senior Bowl along with his ability to push the pocket. He certainly looks like a player that could contribute in his rookie season just as Hampton did in his. The Steelers have not had to address the nose tackle position in the draft for some time now, but I do not think Steve McLendon is a long term solution. We will have to see how the stock of Ta\’amu does over the next month and perhaps he could wind up being had a full round later. I also considered free safety Markelle Martin in this spot as well.

James-Michael JohnsonLB60112499 5/832 3/478 3/4Nevada

Round 3 – ILB – James-Michael Johnson – Nevada – Could Johnson be the future for the Steelers at middle linebacker? That we do not know for sure, but he certainly looks the part and can play both inside or outside. To me he is a 3rd round prospect and can solidify that with a strong combine and pro day. He had an up and down week at the Senior Bowl in my opinion but looked good in the game. The Steelers certainly have a need at inside linebacker and Johnson looks like he can fight off blocks to fill the gaps and get after the quarterback when he blitzes. I will have my eyes on him constantly from here on out leading up to the draft. The little tape I have seen on him looks good, but of course those are highlights I have seen. This 3rd round pick could easily go to a guard, nose tackle or safety depending on how rounds one and two go, but for now I have Johnson pegged here.

Marvin McNuttWR602421610 1/831 5/878 1/8Iowa

Round 4 – WR – Marvin McNutt – Iowa – A receiver you ask? Well, even if Hines Ward or Jerricho Cotchery return in 2012, the Steelers have nothing behind Mike Wallace, Antonio Brown and Emmanuel Sanders to develop and there is still the worry that Sanders might be injury prone with his feet. McNutt is not a burner, but is a tall, possession type receiver that gets open. If drafted, he would likely be 5th on the depth chart with hopes of contributing as a number three or number four receiver in his second season. He is not sexy by any stretch of the imagination, but looks every part of a move the chains type guy. His stock could increase with a strong combine and he had a good week down at the Senior Bowl. Could very well end up being a late 3rd round guy and time will tell. Looks good in black and gold already on tape.

Aaron HenryFS51162088 1/23276 1/4Wisconsin

Round 5 – FS – Aaron Henry – Wisconsin – I think Henry is being overvalued just a bit right now, but once again the safety class is not overly impressive. Can a player like Henry drop to round five? Sure he can and a good combine and pro day could also jump him to the top of round four as well. I think he has a long way to go however in his development and think his early years will be spent on special teams and working with defensive backs coach Carnell Lake as a project should the Steelers wind up selecting him. Not flashy, but I think he has upside as a future free safety.

Micah PellerinCB60031959 1/231 1/876 1/2Hampton

Round 6 – CB – Micah Pellerin – Hampton – A small school prospect kid that Lake would take on as a project. Very long and physical in the Steelers mold of corners and he reportedly will be working out with Tom Shaw and the guys down in Florida and I suspect will be around Ike Taylor and that group as well. He received some buzz at the East West Shrine game, but did not get invited to the Senior Bowl and it will be interesting to see if he gets an invite to the combine to show his stuff. For now he seems like a 6th round prospect unless he can prove himself on a bigger stage.

Tom ComptonT60523149 7/833 7/880 1/4South Dakota

Round 7 – RT- Tom Compton – South Dakota – Until we know for sure about the compensatory picks that the Steelers will receive, I am only mocking one 7th round pick for now. Compton has the pro build and right now and his projected as a right tackle at the next level. Very raw, and if drafted, would be a practice squad project.

  • Avram

    Dave: I just reviewed your 2011 picks. Impressive prognostication, especially mentioning Cortez Allen and Keith Williams after the first 3 rounds.

    However, I don’t see the Steelers drafting Glenn in Round #1. The Steelers always seem to go for a guy with “no holes”. That is how they described Heyward, Pouncey, Hood etc. Good athletes. Productive. Great intangibles and work ethics.

    Glenn has holes, including an inconsistent motor and being sloppy fat. So, I would not see Glenn unless he dropped to Round 2, where they seem willing to take a chance on a physical specimens with holes (see Gilbert, Marcus and Worilds, Jason).


  • Shaver

    I’m all-in on Cordy Glenn and Ta’amu

  • RonW

    If we can get DeCastro for a trade, I’d be thrilled. I’d be fine with drafting him and a NT in this draft to fill major needs and then grabbing an ILB in next year’s draft (or even in the later round of this draft, as the position is deep). I’m not counting out Sylvester, either. In his few snaps during the preseason, he was fantastic.

  • Steeltyke

    I like this draft a lot, especially the top 3, although I think that you might well be able to interchange the top 3 picks position wise depending on who is available at each pick. I also believe that the Steelers will use one of their mid round picks on another college 4-3 DE to convert to OLB like they did with Carter in round 5 last year.

  • Tibs

    I think as you get more info on Poe, it will be clear he’s the better fit as the 1st rnd pick of choice.

  • Kenneth Wilt

    I think you have the first 3 position right, what order they come in, I don’t know, but it looks like we need an OG, an ILB and a NT as our first 3.

    If you can get Ta’amu in round 2, there would be no need for Poe in round 1. I honestly don’t see a huge gap in their game. In fact playing at Washington he probably saw better competition than Poe.

    If the Steelers follow their typical MO, they will try to get someone in the fold they feel could start right now at each position prior to the draft, and then take the BPA from the list of positions they would like to upgrade.

    I could see Hightower, Ta’amu, and then a LG would could start maybe halfway through the year with Legs starting the early part. Chris Scott and Essex may also get looks from the FO IMO. C. Scott is a guy they thought might start at RG last year in camp and faltered. Maybe another year in camp helped. Essex brings versatility to the line, but I don’t want him to start.

  • Joe D

    I see
    1 – OL type
    2 – CB type
    3 – NT type
    4 – ILB type
    Best available thereafter… RB, DB, OL types.

  • SteelersDepot

    Um, I am not suggesting we take 2 nose tackles. Of course we would not take Ta’amu if we took Poe in round 1. Common sense.

  • turks44

    no way they take glenn that early in the draft, he has wieght issues and he is slow. The steelers need better foot speed on the o-line and if that guy is not their than move on. Also poe it to tall for a nose- tackle so he might not work. lb or best player on board {except qb, center and kicker} could be the pick, maybe a big wide-out like jefferies.

  • I think Brandon Taylor could be another option at safety. He played SS at LSU, but would be a better fit at FS in the NFL. Apparently, he caught Tomlin’s eye during Senior Bowl practices.

  • Poe is too tall for a NT? Haloti Ngata was dominant at NT, and he is the same size as Poe. Terrence Cody is 6’4″.

  • The one big advantage Poe has over Ta’amu, is his ability to stay on the field for passing downs. Ta’amu seems more of a one trick pony.

  • Kenneth Wilt

    Yeah…I wasn’t suggesting that. My point was only that I wouldn’t even look at Poe in round 1 if I thought I could get Ta’amu in round 2.

    When it comes to our NT staying on the field for passing downs, I don’t really care. If the NT is on for a passing play early in the series he can occupy a couple and let the LBs get to the QB. If he comes out, I feel pretty good about Wood, Heyward, and Keisel playing the 2 down lineman position for when we go nickle and dime.

  • Schiffour

    Poe in the first with a guard out of Miami in the second, Brando Washington, and in the third Demario Davis lb, from Ark St

  • 4Jared

    While Pellerin didn’t get a Senior Bowl invite, he certainly held his own during the practices at the East West game. He was listed in the first round of invitations to the Combine.

  • Johnathonragsdale

    1st rd: Dont’a Hightower ILB/Alabama or Vontaze Burfict ILB/Asu

    2nd rd: T’Amu NT/Washington

    3rd rd: Best OG/OL available

    4th rd: LaMichael James

  • Kingtut499

    Glenn and Ta’amu are big time names from big schools but small motors. They dont really fit the Steeler Mold. Osemele and Poe would be great for years to come. Decastro will be off the board by 24 but if he is OMG !……………..

  • Rubem Dornas

    I really think that instead of a WR Steelers should draft a TE that acts as a WR.

    Recently we are seeing things changing about this spot. Aaron Hernandez, Rob Gronkowski, Jimmy Graham, Jermaine Gresham are already the most targeted at their teams and we saw Dennis Pitta doing a great job.

    In my opinion, Johnson and Saunders are not enough.

  • Grw1960

    I like it. Up to now it is as good a steelers mock as I’ve seen.
    Though I wouldn’t be suprised if the Steelers went LB in the 2nd round instead of the 3d . It may really come down to Ta’amu’s rank on the Steelers big board.

  • I think Saunders can grow into that role quite nicely myself.

  • Jb

    Good call, Avram… I think too often (in past drafts) the Steelers have wasted 2nd round picks by reaching for the physical specimen. It seems they do the opposite of their first round BPA philosophie. More like they lean towards what is the team’s top needs this year and who (which college player) “looks” like they could fill that need.

    In most cases (and there can always be an exception from year to year) teams should hold back from reaching for a player for at least the first three, if not four, rounds. Unless, a team has a multiple Pro Bowler, in the prime of his career, who is normally healthy, you should “almost” always take the BPA for most positions.

  • Steelblitz43

    I like your picks, very well thought out. I have Glenn as my 4th option in the first. I really like Vontaze Burfict 1st, Poe 2nd, Hightower 3rd, Glenn 4th, Adams 5th. Another name for the 2nd is Vinny Curry, he looks like a good fit at OLB.

  • TheBigTG

    I could see Glenn being the pick but I don’t like him. He’s too big and slow…….remember Faneca, Hutchinson and Mankins are all 300-315lb. guys who can move. A real LT is needed badly……Gilbert isn’t one……so I say Adams from Ohio St.

    I like pick #2 a lot. Looked real good at Sr. bowl.

    McNutt has no quickness……was a QB……will probably run 4.60+ at combine. I like Danny Coale WR from VT in 6th or 7th rd.

  • Mjfsteeler

    I dig your blog and your first mock draft! Dont’a Hightower could start right away and take over play calling duties if/when Farrior and Foote are let go. Teaming him up with Timmons on the inside would provide the run stuffer the team needs and allow Timmons to flourish, especially on the crossfire blitzes. The guy has 4 yrs of learning the 3-4 ILB position with 3.25 yrs of starting experience. He’s great against the run, a good blitzer and decent in zone coverage, not so much in man. If Farrior and/or Foote remain on the team, he could learn/backup all 4 LB spots. I think Osamele will be available in the 2nd but then again the coaching staff loves Legursky. Levy Adcock, Nate Potter or Matt Reynolds might be available in 3rd round if Steelers get Ta’amu in 2nd. Josh Norman in 4th. A kicker, receiver and receiver or tight end after that… or a Fullback?!?



  • Ajdayton

    I think it’s time to start grooming a young QB behind Big Ben. I think they should grab someone in the later rounds.

  • Tanner

    Agree 100% trade for DeCastro, some say Peo is dropping in the second but if not grab Ta’amu in the second. Get a third down back in the 3rd and then next year grab Manti Te’o in the first next year. The steelers need to get smart and start trading some players like(aaron smith,james farrior, heath miller(all he does is block), and i would even trade james harrison) trade them while they are still playing well like the patriots did with richard seymour.

  • Bleebo77

    I know this post is older but it seems to be the best place for a draft comment. I see that Scouts, Inc says it’s a deep draft for OGs, so I wonder if the Steelers should use Rounds 1 and even 2 on other positions of need (unless there’s an OG of great value that falls) and get guard value in later rounds. Is Glenn worth #24 if there are better value NTs or ILBs on the board?