By Jeremy Hritz
There is depth in this year’s draft, especially at the position of greatest need for the Pittsburgh Steelers (offensive line), giving them some mobility with their first round pick. While trading out of the first round for the Steelers is not very likely, what is more possible is a team trading up to the # 24 spot, providing the Steelers at minimum with a third or fourth round pick. The San Francisco 49ers, who are looking for a wide receiver, are a possible trade partner with the Steelers in order to move up and select either Kendall Wright or Stephen Hill, both of whom could be snagged by the Houston Texans or the New England Patriots, who pick before them. In making this move, the Steelers would acquire the 49ers 3rd round pick, which is essentially the equivalent to an early 4th round value. Making such a move would provide the Steelers with the necessary picks to not only build the offensive line, but also to provide young depth and eventual starters to the roster. Without further delay, I present to you the second edition of my mock draft.
1. FROM SAN FRANCISCO (Steelers send first 7th round pick + 24th pick for 30th pick in first round and the 30th pick in the third round) Coby Fleener – TE – Stanford – 6’6, 247 – 4.5 40 yard dash
I am on board with my fellow Steelers Depot writer’s in their first round selection of Coby Fleener, but I have him falling to the 30th pick. As I have mentioned earlier in previous articles, with the depth in this year’s draft at the offensive line position, there is value to be had in the second and third rounds at guard and tackle. This allows the Steelers some freedom with this pick, and with the explosion of prolific tight ends last year in the NFL, adding Fleener to an already deep Steelers’ receiving corps makes tremendous sense and the opposition very scared. While Fleener’s blocking is an area for improvement, it will not be the reason the Steelers draft him.
2. Bobby Massie – T – Mississippi – 6’6, 315 – 5.11 40 yard dash
Massie’s stock has risen over the last few weeks, and the Steelers must address the tackle position, especially with the injury history of Willie Colon and the overall play at the tackle position in the past. Massie is entering the draft this year as a junior, so he is a young prospect that will be able to help the Steelers for several years. Projected as a true right tackle, Massie could push Colon for the starting job, but most likely he would sit for a year to learn the nuances of the Steelers’ blocking schemes. It is time for the Steelers to get serious about protecting Ben Roethlisberger, and drafting Massie in the second round would be a first step in doing so.
3. Amini Silatolu – G Midwestern State – 6’3 ½, 314 – 5.35 40 yard dash
I would select Brandon Brooks here, but I do not believe he will still be available. Silatolu would be the next best available, and some would even consider him better than Brooks. Though Silatolu played at Division II school Midwestern State, he dominated at the guard position. He is described as a gritty mauler with great tenacity. Though Silatolu will take some time to develop to meet the standards of the pro level, with Doug Legursky and Ramon Foster at guard, he will have some time to develop, and will only be pressed into action because of injury. At the minimum, Silatolu will provide depth at the guard position and will fill the roster spot left behind by Chris Kemoeatu.
3. From San Francisco – Mike Martin – DT – Michigan – 6’1 ¼, 305 – 4.85 40 yard dash
One of the few picks that I stuck with from the first edition of my mock draft. Casey Hampton is returning at nose tackle, yet his effectiveness after his ACL surgery has yet to be seen. There have been rumblings from Ed Bouchette from the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette that Ziggy Hood would possibly be moving to nose tackle, but that has yet to be seen. While Martin will not be expected to come in and start his first year, he will provide some depth at the position, rotating with Hampton and Steve McClendon and gaining experience. Eventually, Martin, who possesses great explosion and fierce resolve, should assume the starting nose tackle position and become a fixture in the Steelers defense for several years.
4. James Michael-Johnson – ILB – Nevada – 6’1 ¼, 243 – 4.64 40 yard dash
Johnson recently did an interview on SiriusXM NFL Radio with Pat Kirwan and Tim Ryan, and his passion and knowledge of the game were apparent. Couple this with his leadership (he was team captain as a junior and senior), his commitment to taking care of himself in the weight room, and his production on the field, and what you get is a player with the potential to thrive in the middle for the Steelers. Johnson is another player who would not be expected to come in and start right away, but he will provide depth to the inside linebacker position that is much needed.
5. Trenton Robinson – S – Michigan State – 5’10, 195 – 4.44 40 yard dash
Another pick I am sticking with from my first edition. In an article that I wrote a few weeks ago, I talked about the need that the Steelers have at safety and how the defense is one injury at safety away from being mediocre in the secondary. The depth at the position is not much to talk about either, with average players in Ryan Mundy and Will Allen. The Steelers need to address the safety position and will do so by drafting the physical Robinson who is known as a leader and is always around the ball. Robinson would benefit greatly in learning from Ryan Clark and Troy Polamalu so that he could eventually develop into a starter.
6. Keith Tandy – CB – West Virginia – 5’10, 198 – 4.51 40 yard dash
A player that struggled early in his career who recovered in his junior and senior year to earn some positive attention. Known as an intense competitor and a leader, Tandy would be a body in camp that could compete to make the roster as reserve cornerback. Visited with the Steelers.
7. Bobby Rainey – RB – Western Kentucky – 5’7 ½, 197 – 4.45 40 yard dash
The Steelers have said that they were looking for a running back either in the draft or in free agency. Well, it ain’t happening in free agency. Rainey is an intriguing prospect who played in the East-West Shrine Game and showed a nice blend of power and quickness that would fit nicely with the Steelers. Though Rainey is diminutive, he is not afraid to hit the hole and shows toughness in his running. Struggles in pass blocking.
7. Jerrell Harris – OLB – Alabama – 6’2 ½, 240 – 4.71 40 yard dash
Visited with the Steelers recently. Played for a winner at Alabama. A developmental player at outside linebacker that would provide a body for the Steelers in camp.
7. Derek Moye – WR – Penn State – 6’4 ½, 206 – 4.5 40 yard dash
A tall and fast receiver (and a Western Pennsylvania native) that would provide a body for the Steelers in camp. His size is needed at the wide receiver position for the Steelers. A developmental player.
|Round||Player||Position||School||Height||Weight||40 Yard Dash|
|3||Amini Silatolu||G||Midwestern State||6’3 ½||314||5.35|
|3||Mike Martin||DT||Michigan||6’1 ¼||305||4.85|
|4||James Michael-Johnson||ILB||Nevada||6’1 ¼||243||4.64|
|5||Trenton Robinson||S||Michigan State||5’10||195||4.44|
|6||Keith Tandy||CB||West Virginia||5’10||198||4.51|
|7||Bobby Rainey||RB||Western Kentucky||5’7 ½||198||4.45|
|7||Jerrell Harris||OLB||Alabama||6’2 ½||240||4.71|
|7||Derek Moye||WR||Penn State||6’4 ½||206||4.50|