The 2012 NFL combine is now in the books and I have gone back to do some additional tape study and reading in preparation for this, my second Pittsburgh Steelers mock draft of the offseason. Mock draft 1.0, which was done right after the Senior Bowl, can be read by following the link. I usually end up doing about 5 or 6 mocks leading up to the draft, so there are quite a few more to go until my final one is released just before the draft. You will notice only 4 changes in this new mock in rounds 1, 3, 6 and 7 as I want to see more tape on my unchanged players as well as their pro day results. My mocks going forward will likely only have subtle changes until we get past the pro days and into the pre draft visits. If you have a strong disagreement with any of the picks, please make it in the comments and have a good comment other than “that player sucks”. Mock draft debates can be fun if they are constructive. If you have a player in late rounds that you suggest I should go watch tape on, please add it below and give me a good reason as to why, as well as a particular game, if you have one in mind. I try to watch at least two hours a day of college film during this time of year, but of course can\’t watch every player. The player profiles will be more in depth from here on out and these mocks will only include 7 selections until the compensatory picks are announced. Without further adieu, here is my 2012 Mock Draft 2.0.
|Dont\’a Hightower||HGT||WGT||ARMS||HANDS||40||225||VERT||JUMP||20 S||3 C||60 S|
|Combine||6022||265||32 5/8||9 3/4||4.68||DNP||32||DNP||DNP||DNP||DNP|
Round 1 – ILB – Dont\’a Hightower (Alabama) – As I mentioned in my first mock draft, I was not married to Cordy Glenn and after watching the combine and going back through a few games of his, I am convinced he is a tweener and more than likely considered a right tackle at the next level. I see him now as a very late first round pick or even an early round two selection. With that cleared up, it left me with David DeCastro, Dontari Poe and Dont\’a Hightower as legitimate targets. While I think DeCastro will fall further than most think, I think he will be off the board by the time the Steelers pick. Poe had a great combine, and even though he is very raw and fails to jump out on tape, he can be groomed for either a 4-3 or 3-4 defense with his abilities. I think he too will be off the board by the time the Steelers pick 24th overall in the first round. That leaves Hightower, who is an awesome consolation prize. His versatility to play both inside and outside combined with his ability and basic understanding of the 3-4 defense makes him the obvious choice here. Hightower, like most Steelers defensive rookies, would likely not see the field much, if any, in his rookie season, but he would be an instant stripe earner on special teams with eyes on becoming a starter in his second season. I will break him down in depth in a profile post leading up to the draft, but for now he is my number pick and it will be hard to stray from him here in future mocks.
|Alameda Ta\’amu||HGT||WGT||ARMS||HANDS||40||225||VERT||JUMP||20 S||3 C||60 S|
Round 2 – NT – Alameda Ta\’amu (Washington) – No change in round 2 for me this go around as Alameda Ta\’amu fits the Steelers glaring need at nose tackle. He saw his stock dip in 2011, but it has since rebounded nicely with strong showings at both the Senior Bowl and the combine. While Poe might have a higher ceiling than the Washington nose tackle, Ta\’amu is the more NFL ready right now of the two in my opinion and he jumps out on game tape. He has a huge burst off of the snap and has plenty of experienced strong play at holding up against double teams and playing two gaps. While not as agile as Poe is, he is very coordinated and maintains good balance. His technique needs polishing as he allows himself to get too upright at times and his awareness at finding the ball needs improvement. Consistency is also another issue with him that needs to be addressed, but he is a fit with what the Steelers need as a zero and three technique space eater. He showed good straight line speed and strength at the combine and he will need a good pro day to show just how agile he really is. If Ta\’amu is not on the board here, the Steelers would likely go guard at this spot.
|Brandon Brooks||HGT||WGT||ARMS||HANDS||40||225||VERT||JUMP||20 S||3 C||60 S|
|Pro Day||6050||346||32 5/8||10||4.98||36||32||8\’9||4.58||7.42||N/A|
Round 3 – G – Brandon Brooks – (Miami, OH) - Brandon Brooks was snubbed from the combine, but the scouts league wide certainly know who he is judging by the turnout at his pro day the week after the combine. Brooks knocked it out of the park at his pro day and the Steelers staff reportedly put him through his on field workout and he ran right over one a Steelers assistant coach during those said drills. Talk about knocking them off their feet. Brooks did not disappoint with his measurables and times and likely secured himself as a late 3rd or early 4th round pick in April. Brooks played both guard spots and left tackle with the Redhawks and projects as a guard at the next level. He is an above average run blocker who shows a good ability to stay engaged on his block. He needs work with his technique and his foot work in pass protection, but he delivers a strong first punch and can drop anchor quickly when bull rushed. He has tremendous upside and really was impressive the week of the East West Shrine game.
|Marvin McNutt||HGT||WGT||ARMS||HANDS||40||225||VERT||JUMP||20 S||3 C||60 S|
Round 4 – WR – Marvin McNutt – (Iowa) – I am carrying over Marvin McNutt from my last mock. He had a strong showing at the combine and ran faster than most expected he would. He has a nice size and frame and has shown the ability to use it to his advantage. He is an above average route runner and has a knack of finding soft areas against zone type coverages. Although inconsistent in the blocking department, he is not afraid to engage. He needs to learn to pluck the ball out of the air instead of letting come into his body. The Steelers need a young slot type receiver to start developing and McNutt fits the bill.
|Aaron Henry||HGT||WGT||ARMS||HANDS||40||225||VERT||JUMP||20 S||3 C||60 S|
Round 5 – FS – Aaron Henry – (Wisconsin) - Aaron Henry is another carry over from my first mock draft and he did not receive a combine invite. He will get a chance to work out March 7th at his pro day and it could improve his draft stock which is estimated to be anywhere from the 4th to the 6th round right now. He is a converted cornerback that is not afraid to tackle, which is a plus in the Steelers defense. I will be doing more extensive film breakdown of him after his pro day, but most reports say he is a heady player that is smooth in coverage. He is also regarded as a play maker who can break on the ball and he possesses a strong character.
|George Bryan||HGT||WGT||ARMS||HANDS||40||225||VERT||JUMP||20 S||3 C||60 S|
|East/West||6050||265||33 1/4||9 3/4||N/A||N/A||N/A||N/A||N/A||N/A||N/A|
Round 6 – TE – George Bryan – (North Carolina State) – Yet another player not invited to the combine who will show his stuff in a couple of weeks at his pro day. The Steelers could use a second tight end in this draft and George Bryan seems to fit the bill as both a blocking and receiving tight end that has tremendous upside. He does not separate from defenders well, but uses his body to shield off defenders in the limited tape I have seen thus far and is an above average run blocker. He is a big target and noted as having very strong hands and a good work ethic. He was a team captain last year that could be a steal in the late rounds in what is a very thin tight end class.
|James Carmon||HGT||WGT||ARMS||HANDS||40||225||VERT||JUMP||20 S||3 C||60 S|
Round 7 – T James Carmon – (Mississippi State) - James Carmon is a big kid that switched over from defensive tackle to offensive tackle his senior season. His size alone should get him drafted late and he would be a perfect candidate for the practice squad as he works on his technique. Very raw left tackle who held his own for the most part in the SEC. Very athletic for his size. Has the motor and mean streak to compete.