Hritz: Steelers Mock Draft 2013 Version 1.0

By Jeremy Hritz

The 2013 NFL Draft is still a ways off, but it is never too early to begin prognosticating the players the Pittsburgh Steelers will select. Below is the first edition of my mock draft, and you can expect it to evolve multiple times as we advance through the offseason. Player availability and moves made in free agency will have a tremendous impact on what the team will do in April, yet I fully expect each of the positions addressed below to find themselves in the Steelers draft.

Round 1: Cordarrelle Patterson – Wide Receiver, Tennessee: 6’3, 205 – 4.48

The Steelers need to get explosive on offense, and losing Mike Wallace and not replacing him is not going to make that happen. In order to compete in the offensive-focused NFL that scores lots of points, the Steelers need to have the personnel to ensure that this can happen. Patterson is a big, fast wide receiver who is physical and can go up for the ball. Described as a confident and fiery competitor with natural hands, Patterson could provide Ben Roethlisberger and the Steelers offense with the tall target he has been asking for. While Patterson had only one year at Tennessee, he put up 1858 all-purpose yards and showed that he is versatile as a kick returner, averaging 27.6 yards on kickoff and punt returns combined. Last year as a receiver, Patterson caught 46 passes for 778 yards for five touchdowns, while prior to that for two years at Hutchinson Community College in Kansas, he recorded 113 receptions for 1832 yards and 36 touchdowns. While he is a raw prospect that is not a polished route runner, his ceiling is very high, and his explosiveness not only in the passing game, but also in the return game, could add a special dimension to the Todd Haley Rosetta Stone.

Round 2: Giovani Bernard – Running Back, North Carolina: 5’10, 205 – 4.57

The reality is that the Steelers are in need of a running back. Looking at their current stable of running backs, assuming that Isaac Redman and Jonathan Dwyer will return, the Steelers need to add a fast, quick cutback runner that will fit Haley’s offense, and the purported new zone scheme of new offensive line coach, Jack Bicknell, Jr. While there has been clamoring for Eddy Lacy, he is too much in the mold of Redman and Dwyer, whereas Bernard, like Patterson, can add another dimension of explosiveness to an offense that was stagnant in 2012. While not large in stature or super-fast, Bernard is decisive (something that Rashard Mendenhall was not), has good vision, and the ability to make a big run on the cut back. This past season, Bernard had 184 carries for 1228 yards, averaging 6.7 yards per carry for 12 touchdowns. Additionally, Bernard has shown that he can be productive as a receiver, catching 47 balls in 2012 and five touchdown passes (he also returned two punts for touchdowns). Bernard, in tandem with Patterson, could provide a nice special teams return unit. The biggest question facing Bernard is his durability, having suffered a torn ACL in 2010, yet he responded the next season by rushing for 1253 yards. While not the typical back the Steelers draft, he definitely fits the needs of the new Steelers offense.

Round 3: Brandon Jenkins – Outside Linebacker, Florida State: 6’3, 260 – 4.69

There are a lot of questions surrounding the outside linebacker position for the Steelers as LaMarr Woodley grossly underperformed, and it is uncertain whether or not James Harrison will return to the team. Compound that with unproven commodities in Jason Worilds and Chris Carter, and it is evident that the Steelers need to add some talent at the position. Because it is difficult to find an outside linebacker in the early rounds that can come in and play right away unless a team is picking in the top ten, they will more than likely draft an OLB in round three or later, and Jenkins out of Florida State is a strong possibility. Though Jenkins only played in one game in 2012 after injuring his foot, he put together a 13.5 sack season in 2010 and an eight sack season in 2011. Jenkins is a big player that has a great jump off of the line to get after the quarterback. With excellent acceleration and no quit in his efforts to pressure, Jenkins could contribute in obvious passing downs in 2013 and develop over the season into a complete player. In addition to concerns of durability, Jenkins also needs to get stronger and learn to play lower and with more leverage.

Round 4: Jonathan Cyprien – Safety, Florida International: 6, 209 – 4.56

While Cyprien may not be available when the Steelers select in the fourth round, the Steelers are in need of quality depth at the safety position, and they need a player that they can begin bringing along for when one of their revered safety duo retires. While Cyrprien did not face upper echelon talent at Florida International, he recorded 45 starts, which indicates his durability. In 2012, Cyprien racked up 93 tackles and four interceptions, and over his career, he accumulated seven total picks. Described as a physical player who can deliver the big hit, Cyprien could learn from Ryan Clark and Troy Polamalu before assuming a starting role in a year or two. Impressed at the Senior Bowl with his intense effort in practice and in the game. Could be a steal if he happens to fall to the Steelers in the fourth round.

Round 5: Nick Kasa – Tight End, Colorado: 6’6, 271 – 4.76

Strong and an excellent blocker, though a raw pass catcher, Kasa in the fifth round would be another project for the Steelers that they devote some time to developing over a few years, allowing time to learn from Heath Miller. Playing on a horrible Colorado football team in 2012 that finished 1-11, Kasa made 26 receptions for 399 yards and three touchdowns, highlighted by a 70 yard touchdown reception. Kasa is thick with strong hands and has great potential to develop in an quality player. Invests time in his game and puts in the extra effort to get better, something that could speed up his acclimation to the NFL. Again, he is a project and would need to work on catching the ball with his hands and his route running. However, given the opportunity to grow under Miller with the Steelers, he could at least minimally serve as a solid number two tight end.

Round 6: Devin Taylor – Defensive End, South Carolina: 6’7, 275 – 4.79

Tall at 6’7, yet a bit light at 275 for a 3-4 NFL defensive end, Taylor would be another project for the Steelers that would need time to develop. Historically, the Steelers are known to draft defensive linemen in later rounds and allow time for their development (see Aaron Smith and Brett Keisel). With Taylor, a similar approach would have to be taken. While overshadowed by Jadeveon Clowney at South Carolina, Taylor is a hard worker and a leader who always gives a maximum effort. He is explosive and has solid acceleration, though his stature inhibits his ability to play low and get leverage on offensive linemen. Recorded 18.5 sacks over his four year career. The Steelers need to add some depth at the defensive end position, and Taylor can provide that and maybe then some if he can mature into a 3-4 defensive end over a couple of years.

Round 7: Bruce Taylor – Inside Linebacker, Virginia Tech: 6’2, 244 – 4.85

The Steelers cannot afford to burn an early pick on an inside linebacker with their needs at the skill positions on offense. Additionally, considering the complexity of the Steelers defense, it is highly unlikely that a first year ILB can come in and start. The Steelers best bet is to resign Larry Foote and hope that Sean Spence can recover from his injury to man the position. Plus, they finally need to decide what kind of player they have in Stevenson Sylvester. Selecting Taylor in the seventh would provide for some depth at a position where it is sorely needed. Over his career, Taylor has recorded 226 tackles, 33.5 of them for a loss, while also collecting 16.5 sacks. Taylor is a physical and high-motor player that is strong against the run and can effectively rush the passer up the middle. Known to over pursue at times and having a tendency for injury, if Taylor can stay healthy, he could become a decent backup for the Steelers.

RoundPlayerPositionSchoolHeightWeight40 Yard Dash
1Cordarrelle PattersonWRTennessee6’32054.48
2Giovani BernardRBNorth Carolina5’102054.57
3Brandon JenkinsOLBFlorida State6’32604.69
4Jonathan CyprienSFlorida International6’2094.56
5Nick KasaTEColorado6’62714.76
6Devin TaylorDESouth Carolina6’72754.79
7Bruce TaylorILBVirginia Tech6’22444.85

  • SteelersDepot

    Patterson and his football knowledge, or lack thereof, scare the living hell out of me.

  • Kenneth Wilt

    I think this draft if very scary based on one word I see throughout it combined with the 1st pick.

    If Patterson can have a good with our coaches, I would be okay with him, but he wouldn’t be my first choice. He would need to show he understand the routes. He would need to understand that he understands the audible progression and can recognize the defense being thrown at him.

    The rest of the draft I see the following word….project. I know when you get later in the draft the player has some flaws, but I hate seeing the word project.

  • Ben Hardy

    Yea, I agree with Lacy. I’m a huge fan of his but now with this new line coach I’m starting to think it may be better to go with a Bernard or Gillislee type back. Devon Taylor would be a steal in the 6th.

  • Ben Hardy

    No thanks on Patterson and I don’t see anyone in the 1st that excites me except maybe Vaccaro.

  • Buccos9

    I don’t consider a running back who runs a 4.57 40 a fast runner.

  • steeltown

    Love the Bernard pick and the Jenkins pick and even the Cyprien pick… but there really arent too many sexy 1st Rd projections out there… I just hope, either someone amazing falls to us at 17..or they trade back

    I also hope they grab a TE at some point in the draft… dont care when

  • steeltown

    Yes, but if they re-sign Foote for one more year, the only players we need to contribute right away would be a WR, a RB and most likely a TE (if Heath isnt completely healthy) all other positions could in all likelihood learn for a year behind other projected starters

  • steeltown

    We definitely need a shifty, speedy RB… one who is decisive

  • Patrick J Brophy

    I love these so much…I also agree draft skill high, and risk in the lower rounds, but I guess risk is always present, much like my run on sentence.

  • The Logical Draft Progression:

    1) If J. Jones survives the top 10, trade up to take him period.
    2) If he doesn’t and neither Jordan nor Warmack are available at 17, trade back to the 21-24 range and take the best available defender, either Vaccaro, Te’o, Elam (my favorite) or Ogletree.
    3) With the extra third rounder, either trade up in the 2nd to get Lacy or use the extra third to take a gamble on Rambo, Lattimore or Justin Hunter.
    4) Spend the rest of the picks on trench depth and a new backup QB, likely Landry Jones (calm down, he’s better than St. Pierre, Jacobs & Dixon were and nobody complained about burning late picks on them…)

  • steeltown

    I agree with everything you’ve said, except I would consider moving up in the 2nd to grab WR Hopkins (pending his combine performance and in turn draft grade) instead of Lacy, if not I would stay put in the 2nd and try and get Bernard.

    Also I think TE should be picked at some point.

    Would love to get Landry, but I dont think he will last past the 3rd Rd.. and the Steelers wont select a QB before that

    But I’m all for trading back

  • Kysteeler

    I think this team needs a more complete WR than Patterson, in my eyes he is a risk at 17. However, I do really like this mock, we need play makers. I understand the need for defense, but we have Worilds and Spence whom I think could step up.

  • Thomas Rancy

    I like Cyprien more then the kid from texas but I think you’d have to take him in the 3rd to get him.

  • zyzak

    Trade down Patterson will be avilable in the 2nd rd

  • I’m definitely with you regarding a TE…they seem to like Paulson, but after watching any of the real killers in the league, it’s hard not to want a big freak like Gresham or Graham. I would be fine with Hopkins over Lacy, but I don’t think Bernard will be there for us if we don’t move.. Honestly, as long as we don’t take Mingo in the first I think I’ll be pretty happy.

  • TJimmy

    Rather than doing “mock drafts” why not do a “mock draftboard?” That’s how teams actually draft and doing “mock drafts” have a horrible accuracy rate due to the fact you cannot possibly know or keep up with what players the other teams will pick.

  • I know WAY more than you

    1. A. Ogletree – ILB – Georgia

    2. M. Goodwin – WR – Texas

    3. B. Rambo – S – Georgia

    4. G. Hodges – OLB – Penn St.

    5. S. Taylor – RB – Stanford

    6. J. Stoneburner – TE – Ohio St.

    7. J. Baca – OG – UCLA

  • Ike Evans

    doesnt matter what you would consider lol Gio is fast as hell

  • Jollyrob68

    Agreed I’d rather take one of The 6’6″ TE

  • RW

    Nicely done.

  • Buccos9

    Then his listed 40 time must be wrong. Few people would consider a 4.57 40 to be fast.

  • steeltown

    I like Paulson too, but he is no more than a solid #2 and I doubt he will ever be more than a #2.. so, lets say Miller is still recovering at the start of the season that means Paulson will be #1.. not a good way to start the season if you ask me, plus Miller is on the back end of his career, he’ll still produce at a high level for 3-4yrs but he’s no spring chicken who’s to say he even fully recovers from the injury, what if he loses a step or gets plagued with knee swelling??….would be nice to have another TOP TE

  • Garrett Hunt

    I like this draft philosophy on all points except number 3 change Lacy to Hopkins. However, the Steelers won’t go into the draft expecting to have that many trades. The will just take the best player wherever they pick.

  • Garrett Hunt

    After watching youtube highlights, I hope Jarvis Jones falls to somewhere we will trade up for him. He is a MONSTER that would look great in black and gold. Also, he brings the explosiveness to help the defenses biggest deficiency the past couple seasons; splash plays/ turnovers.

  • Garrett Hunt

    Ha didn’t see steeltown’s comment. My bad didn’t mean to say pretty much the same thing.

  • lol

  • Finally, someone that understands our needs on an underperforming offense that will also loose 2 of its most athletic players in Mendy and Wallace. I love the first 2 picks, but I doubt either will be available when we pick. Also, a TE is a must in this draft. We can’t go #1 with that pick, and I think the best 2 will be gone before our 2nd round pick, so I’d rather use our 3rd rounder on a TE instead of an OLB.

  • We aren’t in need of quality depth at the safety spot. That was true 3-4 years ago. Now we are in need of someone that is likely to be able to start in the next 2-3 seasons at the outside.

  • Montee Ball has about the same listed time and is considered slow.

  • What scares me more is an opening day lineup of Brown, Sanders, Cotchery and Paulson with the 2 block heads at RB. We need to take a chance on some offensive weapons.

  • steeltown

    Would be very nice.. but I believe the Browns and Saints among others are both switching to a 3-4 this upcoming season and both pick before us.. Jarvis Jones will be sought much so I think the Browns take him 6th over all

  • steeltown

    In the next 1-2yrs is more likely.. even if they’d give Clark an extension through 2014, we’ll still need starters after 2014…. that’s why I would not be upset if they select Elam or Vaccaro

  • UNLESS Jones’ health & weight room concerns make GM’s nervous about taking him that high, OR if Geno Smith goes #1 and one of the monsters (Moore, Werner) drop lower OR if Mingo or Ansah rise after the combine…either way I’m worried about the Jets at #9. Also, can we all agree that we are not taking a D-lineman not named Star in the 1st? People love mocking NT’s to us this year…

  • I was trying to be generous.

  • Paul Muth

    1- deion jordan – oregon
    2- eddy lacy – alabama
    3- khaseem greene – rutgers

  • Bob Loblaw

    Barring someone like Jones falling to us at #17, I wouldn’t have a problem with us dropping back a few spots and picking up Eifert. While we do need a WR, we’ve had success finding good value later in the draft. General consensus is that our offense needs a big redzone target, and he’d create matchup problems all day. Not to mention we need help at TE with Miller likely out for some time.

  • LucasY59

    I want to up vote this comment about ten times

  • None of these supposed times matter until these kids run at the scouting combine. That’s when we’ll know for sure.

  • Clint Martin

    After watching the Ravens win the Super Bowl I noticed one thing we do not have.
    One of the Best receiver threesome’s in football.What play makers they have.
    I Hate Them!
    Mike Wallace is as good as gone.Along with Mendenhall. Time to retool this Offense!

  • Clint Martin

    Agree he is not even close to a 1st round pick he will drop come the combine.

  • Clint Martin

    Hey Mike Hunt he will not drop to the Steelers in this draft he is a blue chip prospect .

  • steeltown

    Yea craziness.. they normally go best player available, yes, but I do NOT see them going DT/NT regardless. We have McLendon, Ta’amu and Fangupo, not to mention Hampton could still return on vet minimum (unlikely)

  • Shannon Stephenson

    One thing I see in the comments on your draft is the statement “project”. Now I understand that there are no guarantees in the draft but you are taking too many risks on guys that were unproven even in college. Patterson is good potential…but you do not pick that that early in the 1st.

  • SteelerDave

    Considering our new O-line coach and how Haley appears to want our offense to work, I have devoted a lot of time to analyzing the best RB for our new system and have come to a conclusion that Joseph Randle in round 3, Christine Michael or Kenjon Barner in round 4 would be our best RB pick. Surely one of them will fall low enough, Truth is that should we pick Michael in round 4 then he will be under scrutiny because of coach-ability and maturity issues and behavior concerns much like Rainey but Michael could be the best of those three.

    To me, in today’s NFL you simply do not spend a 1st or 2nd on a RB unless it is an elite RB in the top ten.

    I say we trade back in the first if a reasonable chance to snag Patterson at say 22 to 25 range and none of our top ten ranked 1st rounders are on the board at 17. If we trade back and get an extra 2nd or 3rd plus an extra 5th I truly feel we will be better off.

  • SteelerDave

    I am still on the safety Shamarko Thomas bandwagon for round 5 or 6 perhaps even 4th round depending on his combine. The man is a work-out warrior to the extreme, he hits hard and brutal and has amazing character. To me he is a Steeler kind of player in the mold of Clark. Shamarko in my draft day wish with his brute physicality and character.

  • Garrett Hunt

    1) My name is Garrett not Mike

    2) I said drop to where we will trade to get him, NOT drop to the Steelers at 17.

  • mokhkw

    Seems like there are 2 schools of thought for Mockers in regards to the Steelers 2013 Draft.

    One doesn’t address the NT position ( like this Mock & Daves) while others have the Steelers possibly selecting a NT in Rd 01. As I wrote elsewhere, if no player slips I’d put the chances at 33% of this happening, higher than any other position.

  • Guy, DeCastro was as blue as they came last year…

  • mokhkw

    It’s the 10 Yard split in the 40 that you want to pay attention to when scouting RBs. & the 3-cone drill.