By Christopher DiMarino
Completing this mock draft was a large undertaking for a guy like me. Whereas I’m normally very direct and concise, I have tried to cater a lot of the articles I write towards both sides of the story. Sure I like Coby Fleener, but I also want to look into the negative aspects of him as a prospect in an effort to remain neutral as well as alter to my opinion of that player by gaining more information. That being said, I will list a few options at each of picks (at least the earlier rounds) that I’m considering. If Kevin Colbert busted into my apartment and asked me to give him an emergency mock draft at this point in time, this is what I would give him. Please go gentle on my later round selections. I’m just starting to look at some of these guys, and my opinion on them may seem a little wishy-washy. (All players in italics have either had pre-draft visits or are planned to).
Round 1 – Pick 24 (24th overall) – Coby Fleener (TE, Stanford)
Analysis: Even with the signing of Leonard Pope (a temporary solution), I still believe that unless a value drops to 24, they will take an impact player. Mark Barron would be great, but I’m beginning to doubt he’ll be available (Cowboys). With so much depth at OG and NT throughout the draft and only question marks available at OT, the only real options here are Fleener and Hightower.
OL: Kevin Zeitler (OG, Wisconsin), Mike Adams (OT, Ohio State), Cordy Glenn (OT, Georgia)
DE: Fletcher Cox (Mississippi State)
NT: Dontari Poe (Memphis)
LB/DE: Dont’A Hightower (ILB, Alabama), Nick Perry (DE, Southern California)
S: Mark Barron (SS, Alabama)
Round 2 – Pick 24 – 56th overall – Mychal Kendricks (ILB, California)
Analysis: Skipping on Hightower in the first round will be quickly forgotten as they grab Kendricks in the 2nd. He has a lot of the physical attributes of Hightower, but with a smaller (240vs265lbs) and faster 4.47vs4.68s) frame. This is a risky pick with so many options at OG. Harrison Smith is another good option here.
OL: Kelechi Osemele (OG, Iowa State), Zebrie Sanders (OT, Florida State), Amini Silatolu (OG, Midwestern State), Bobby Massie (OT, Mississippi)
DT: Alameda Ta’amu (NT, Washington)
S: Harrison Smith (SS, Notre Dame)
Other: Lamar Miller (RB, Miami(FL))
Round 3 – Pick 23 – 86th overall – Brandon Brooks (OG, Miami Ohio)
Analysis: A pick out of pure necessity. If Ta’amu drops to the 3rd, it becomes a hard sell not to take him, but shunning the O line throughout the first 3 rounds is a recipe for disaster. If a guard is grabbed in the 2nd round, there are options at safety here. And even if Ta’amu is gone, Mike Martin is intriguing.
OL: Brandon Washington (OG, Miami(FL)), Brandon Mosley (OT, Auburn), James Brown (OG, Troy)
DT: Mike Martin (NT, Michigan),
LB/DE: Jake Bequette (DE, Arkansas),
S: George Iloka (FS, Boise State), Markelle Martin (FS, Oklahoma State)
Round 4 – Pick 24 – 119th overall – Josh Chapman (NT, Alabama)
Analysis: As with OG in the 3rd, the Steelers need a NT. Even though Chapman won’t have an immediate impact, he has too much value here to ignore. There are also options at safety and JMJ is a good looking late round linebacker as well.
OL: Senio Kelemente (OG, Washington), Brandon Mosley (OT, Aubrun),
LB/DE: James-Michael Johnson (ILB, Nevada), Cam Johnson (DE, Virginia)
S: Trenton Robinson (FS, Michigan), Antonio Allen (SS, South Carolina), Brandon Taylor (SS, LSU)
Other: Isaiah Pead (RB, Cincinnati), Michael Egnew (TE, Missouri)
Round 5 – Pick 24 – 159th overall – Marvin McNutt (WR, Iowa)
Analysis: McNutt may not drop to here, but if he does he’s a Steeler. Even with the Mike Wallace question marks, the Steelers need a bigger receiver and McNutt would fit well. With Hilton’s visit, it wouldn’t surprise me to see him, but he’s small and the Steelers need size at WR.
Other contenders: Hebron Fangupo (NT, BYU), Audi Cole (ILB, NC State), T.Y. Hilton (WR, Florida Int), DeQuan Menzie (CB, Alabama), Kyle Wilber (ILB, Wake Forest)
Round 6 – Pick 23 – 193rd overall – Nate Potter (OT, Boise State)
Analysis: Grabbing some depth at OT in the 6th doesn’t seem like it matters but Potter is a good looking prospect. If Hanna is still available and Fleener isn’t on the roster, go with him.
Other contenders: Jeff Fuller (WR, Texas A&M), Olivier Vernon (OLB, Miami (Fl)), Matt Reynolds (OT, BYU), Ryan Miller (OG, Colorado), James Hanna (TE, Oklahoma)
Round 7 – Pick 24 – 231st overall – Drake Dunsmore (TE, Northwestern)
Round 7 – Pick 33 – 240th overall – Keith Tandy (CB, West Virginia)
Round 7 – Pick 39 – 246th overall – Toney Clemons (WR, Colorado)
Round 7 – Pick 41 – 248th overall – Aikeem Hicks (DE,DT Regina)
Analysis: Mainly camp bodies and guys to push for a practice squad spot. Dunsmore looks like a possible replacement for David Johnson. Depth at CB and WR are needed and the Steelers do have luck finding gold in late rounds. Hicks is a guy who can provide a call up body should they draft Chapman and an injury occur before he or Hampton are back.
Other contenders: Nicolas Jean-Baptiste (NT, Baylor), Frank Alexander (DE, Oklahoma), Marcel Jones (OT, Nebraska), Justin Anderson (OT, Georgia), Andrew Datko (OT, Florida State), Coty Sensebaugh (CB, Clemson), Terrence Frederick (CB, Texas A&M), Josh Chichester (TE, Louisville), Jerrell Harris (OLB, Alabama)
I tried to put a little emphasis on players that have visited the Steelers, but I will have to look into them further. This draft has a big Tic Tac Toe effect based on the position chosen in the first round. Below I quickly tossed some alternatives together based on the varying choices. I think the Steelers will choose a safety, inside linebacker, guard and nose tackle in the first 4 rounds unless a best player available is intriguing.
***Note: To avoid certain people’s head’s exploding, replace Zeitler with Cordy Glenn if it helps.***