2013 Steelers Mock Draft Version 3.0 – Post Pro Days

Here we go with mock draft version 3.0 for the Pittsburgh Steelers. As many of you well know by now, I only do five of these during the draft process as I like to watch as much tape possible on players throughout the offseason. The pro days are now pretty much behind us and next up will be the official team visits as the draft is now less than a month away. You can view my previous mock drafts at the links provided, and my next mock draft will likely be out in about two more weeks, just after the NFL schedule is released, and after several pre draft visits are made.

************** If you are going to comment in this post please add value to the discussion. The rounds here are not important and you are not helping the discussion exercise by saying “Player X” will not last that long or is being drafted too soon. Please add what you like and dislike about a certain player and feel free to add your own mock as well. Remember, the discussion should be centered around the players, not necessarily the rounds they are drafted. Mock drafts are never perfect, but the value of them is in the discussion about the players. If I feel you are not adding value with your comments I will simply delete them. Go elsewhere if you want to be a nuisance. **************

2013 Steelers Mock Draft Version 1.0 – Post Senior Bowl
2013 Steelers Mock Draft Version 2.0 – Post NFL Combine

Round 1 – G Jonathan Cooper – North Carolina


I am not going to repost my breakdown of Cooper as that can be read in the previous mock. The Steelers did re-sign Ramon Foster since my last mock posted, but his $5.8 million deal over three years hardly guarantees that he will be a long-time starter. For now, however, Foster looks to be the starting left guard in 2013, and possibly an emergency right tackle. So what is on the Steelers roster behind the current starting five? Doug Legursky has yet to be re-signed so that leaves John Malecki as the only backup center on the roster that can possibly play both guard spots. Kelvin Beachum played some guard poorly during the preseason last year, but all of his regular season snaps came at right tackle after playing left tackle his entire college career. Do you see the obvious depth problem on the offensive line? Cooper can play both guard spots as well as center. He is a smart, high character kid who can move very well. Should the Steelers lose an interior lineman at any point during the season, Cooper should be able to be plugged in quickly without issues. I have pointed out several times this offseason how guards are disrespected in the first round and there is no reason to think thatchanges this year. Until the Steelers add legitimate depth behind the starting five, I will continue to perceive Cooper, and Chance Warmack for that matter, as possible draft options in the first round.

Round 2 – WR Robert Woods – USC


I am changing up things in round two this time around. While I am still very high on Clemson wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins, I am getting the feeling that he will be off the board when the Steelers pick in the second round. Should that indeed wind up being the case, Woods would be my second choice. The 6 foot, 1 inch receiver is a polished route runner that understands how to set up defenders well. He comes back to the ball well and has shown to be effective in making tough catches in traffic over the middle. He answered questions about his speed by running in the 4.4 range and showed over the course of his college career that he can be a reliable possession receiver. While he is mostly regarded as a slot receiver, he can play all three receiver spots and is a more than willing blocker. As far as weaknesses go, Woods needs to work on high pointing the ball better and do a better job at not tipping his hand with indicators such as dropping his hands and chopping his feet. Although his 2012 season wasn\’t stellar, his 112 receptions for 1,292 yards and 15 touchdowns as a true sophomore can\’t be ignored. He is one of the most well-rounded wide receivers in this draft and the middle of the second round sounds about right for him.

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Generated 3/31/2013.

Round 3 – SS T.J. McDonald – USC


The Steelers need a strong safety to groom to take over for Troy Polamalu and McDonald certainly fits the bill as potentially being that player. McDonald has an NFL bloodline as his father is Tim McDonald, who was six-time Pro Bowl safety in the league with the St. Louis Cardinals and the San Francisco 49ers. His father also coached him at Edison High School in Fresno, California, where he played with Steelers current backup free safety Robert Golden. McDonald is best used in the box, much like Polamalu often is, and he has had good success covering tight ends and number two wide receivers in the slot while in college. While he is not a heavy hitter, he is a reliable tackler that wraps up well. His break on the footbball is better than average and he understands how to take proper angles. The Steelers like to play a lot of fire-zone cover-3 and McDonald would be perfect for that style of defense. While being groomed, he will be an asset to the Steelers special teams units. He bulked up at the NFL combine and that should help him become a heavier hitter at the NFL level.

TacklesDef IntFumbles
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Round 4 – OLB John Simon – Ohio State


Simon doesn\’t have the classic build of a Steelers 3-4 outside linebacker, but he certainly has the production of one. His production as a defensive end at Ohio State was quite impressive, and it included 45 career tackles for losses and 20.5 sacks. Simon has perhaps the best motor of any player in this draft, and his leadership qualities are off the chart. While he is considered a workout warrior, he will more than likely have to drop about 10 pounds at the NFL level, which should help him become a bit more flexible. He has quick feet for a player of his size and is above average at setting and holding the edge against the run. His bend around the edge will need improvement, and he will need to develop more counter moves, but he should be able to push the pocket consistently as an outside linebacker. While he will never be one that will be expected to follow a tight end across the field, his few drops into the flat seemed to be precise. He mostly played defensive end, so there will be an expected transition period to standing up as an outside linebacker. While he is not quick off the snap, he is measured, and has good read vision. Defensive coordinator Dick LeBeau has a soft heart for Ohio State players and was present for his pro day in March. Regardless of where Simon lands in the draft, I expect him to play a long time in the league. His relentless playing style reminds you of former Chicago Bears middle linebacker Brian Urlacher. If I knew Trevardo Williams could drop to here, I would likely choose him over Simon, but my confidence level in that happening is not good.

TacklesDef IntFumbles
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Generated 3/31/2013.

Round 5 – RB Kenjon Barner – Oregon


Barner would be the perfect compliment to Jonathan Dwyer and Isaac Redman in the Todd Haley offense. The Steelers drafted Chris Rainey to be that compliment last year, but he of course didn\’t pan out. Barner is much in the same mold as Rainey, except he should be able to run inside a little more effectively. The Oregon product is a threat to score whenever he has the football in his hands, and those hands are perhaps the best of any running back in this class. He can return both punts and kicks, and that will be a plus. While his blocking needs improvement, Barner is willing to cut, and shows above average recognition in that area. Because many teams will not see him as a three-down back at the next level, he should still be on the board after the fourth round. While not as short, Barner kind of reminds you a little of New Orleans Saints running back Darren Sproles. He can get to the edge with ease, and is best suited for a zone blocking scheme that we will likely see more from the Steelers in 2013.

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Generated 3/31/2013.

Round 6 – DE Joe Kruger – Utah


Kruger is yet another carryover from my last mock draft, and you can read my full breakdown of him there. I am also bumping him up a round as I feel that the sixth round is where he will wind up being selected as he is no longer a secret. Like McDonald, Kruger also has NFL bloodlines, and should he continue to fill out his frame, which it can certainly handle; he has the upside to become a premier 3-4, 5-technique defensive end in the NFL. The Steelers have depth questions at the defensive end position and defensive line coach John Mitchell would likely love to develop Kruger into the next Aaron Smith.

TacklesDef IntFumbles
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Generated 3/3/2013.

Round 6 – ILB Michael Mauti – Penn State


Mauti is my third and final carryover from my last mock draft because the upside that this kid possesses is special. The Steelers received a sixth round compensatory draft pick recently, and using it on Mauti, who vows to play in 2013, is worth it. If not for his knee injury last season, the Penn State product would be selected within the top four rounds. If the Steelers doctors like his progress made by draft day, he could easily be groomed to be a long-time BUCK linebacker in the Steelers 3-4 defense. Mauti has reached out to all 32 teams with a handwritten letter that professes his love of the game, and his want to play in the NFL. I wouldn\’t bet against him becoming a force at the next level despite his injury history.

TacklesDef IntFumbles
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Generated 3/3/2013.

Round 7 – QB Ryan Griffin – Tulane


I really think that the Steelers would like to get a developmental backup quarterback in this draft and Griffin fits the bill and the price. The Tulane product has above-average size and football IQ and appears solid at working through his progressions. He throws well on the move when forced out the pocket and possess better than average touch when asked to drop passes over the middle and into zones. While his touch is fine, he needs to develop more velocity on his other throws, especially those outside of the numbers. He needs to step into his throws more as he has a tendency to throw off of his back foot too much. He is still filling out his frame and should develop more arm strength in the process. Griffin didn\’t have the best protection in college, and I think that attributed to a lot of his rushed throws and poor mechanics. There is a lot to work with here; however, as far as tools go, and he is a tough quarterback who has proven he is not afraid to take hits while delivering in the pocket.

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Generated 3/31/2013.

  • Jollyrob68

    Outstanding. Here’s why. Cooper solidifies the Oline, Woods an excellent Wr, TJ was teammates with Robert Golden and both were coached by T J’s dad.
    Simons,Kruger,Mauti all perfect future replacements and Qb Griffin future long term backup.
    Rb is a perfect compliment to Dwyer,Redman & maybe Bradshaw

  • RMSteeler

    I like the players and order of positions you selected with the exception of Rd 7. But, I think there will be BPA’s available for the positions in Rd 3 and 4, and think the Steelers double dip at WR in Rd 7 with a taller player than Woods. I like Griffin as a developmental QB, but think he’ll be there as UDFA. BTW, I think Woods is the best route runner and smoothest WR I’ve seen this year. With those traits and his listed speed, he could be a true threat at both slot and wide out.

  • dgh57

    My mock for the 1st 4 rds. are:

    Rd. 1 WR “Nuke” Hopkins
    Rd. 2 FS Eric Reid
    Rd. 3 RB LeVeon Bell
    Rd 4 SS Shamarko Thomas(if Reid is gone)
    Last 2 picks are thumpers that will bring some physicality to our game!!

    But I’ll take Cooper and Woods if that was to happen. I would take S. Thomas over McDonald. Kruger may be to lite at 270 pds. to play DE

  • David Edward

    Here’s my feedback:
    Cooper – one of my favorite players in the draft. Agree with everything you said. He either comes in and wins LG right away or is 6th man and game-day backup at all 3 interior spots. Foster is better suited to be the 6th man at G/RT anyway. Problem is I think a lot of scouts see what we see and Cooper will be taken ahead of Warmack. I don’t mind him as consolation prize, but who would you take if both Gs are gone?
    Woods – like him but don’t love him. Reminds me a bit like Cotchery on tape. I think Woods is more consistently a 4.5 guy (what he ran at the combine) than a 4.4 guy, so I’d prefer more of a deep threat burner or 6’2 or taller guy who can get deep. I like Aaron Dobson from Marshall in the third who’s both of those things.
    McDonald-Don’t like that pick in third round. I like Safety in 3rd, but would have to think there were better options. TJ is tall and looked stiff in most of the drills and plays thay way, he has some athletic ability which is nice but I’d take Shamarko Thomas in the 3rd who I think is a better fit for SS and can do some of the things Troy does.
    Simon – seems to be a Steeler kinda guy and I could live with him if they can’t get Williams there, but not sure if Simon would really develop into a better OLB than Worilds. I throw out the name of a guy I like better…Ty Powell from tiny Harding, I see him as a more athletic version of Jarvis Jones (go figure..lol). Looks like the type of guy who can be developed.
    Barner-he’s a fast guy but I don’t see him as a 4.39 guy. He ran a 4.52 @ combine and is more consistently closer to a 4.5 guy than a 4.4 guy. On tape he didn’t blow me away with his speed either, but he certainly can turn the corner better than what they currently have. I’d take him in 5th for sure but would rather have Zac Stacy or Kerwin Williams in 4th.
    Kruger-not as high on him as you are and he’d have to add at least 20-25 lbs to be an effective 3-4 DE. He certainly can do it and I like his length, but at 290-295 would he lose his athleticism? I like Nick Williams from tiny Samford who’s already got the 3-4 DE body @ 6’4 309.
    Mauti – nice feel good guy from Penn St but I don’t see him as the future replacement for Foote. Would rather pick him up as a UDFA but someone will take him. I’d rather address ILB with a high pick…like Jon Bostic in 3rd or even Arthur Brown as a fallback #1.
    Griffin -at that point I wouldn’t even waste a pick on a QB unless a higher ranked prospect fell down. I’d just sign somebody as a UDFA who has potential to be a #3. This isn’t a great year for QBs.

  • Cody Younkin

    Not the exact players i chose but I love the mock, covers all the bases, in a way that gets solid players to the positions. My mock is pretty similar, however Dave’s is more realistic.

    1. Kenny Vaccaro

    2. DeAndre Hopkins

    3. Monte Ball

    4. Gavin Escobar/ John Simon

    5. AJ Klien

    6. Joe Kruger

    6. Michael Mauti

    7. Brad Wing

    UFDA Ray Ray Armstrong (2nd round talent/been out of football for a year)

  • SteelSpine

    Good in that I think it drafts for each of the positions I figure Steelers must draft. Though not necessarily each of those players, everyone’s gonna have their preferences so yours is about good of a mix to cover the bases.

    If by chance Warmack & Cooper both available at 17, I like Warmack slightly better because Warmack can knock Ngota & big DTs back, plows open holes between the tackles, & our inside blocking rarely created holes. We lacked power which Colon never lived up to hype for. Bama didn’t pull as much as Cooper’s team because Bama was so dominant blocking they didn’t need to be fancy, but Warmack can pull enough. If we draft either of those 2 guards I like for being safe picks, Haley should let Foster compete for RT, let Foster compete with whichever of Adams/Gilbert for RT.

    I’ll put more stock in Robert Golden when I see him do something, not til then. If McDonald helps Golden develop, ok whatever will develop Golden into a NFL-caliber DB. I want Lake to make a decent safety out of Golden because that would be 1 less draft pick we otherwise will have to spend in the future to draft more safeties.

  • Why was Armstrong out of Football? Pittsburgh doesn’t usually deal with trouble makers no matter the value of the player…..but the thought is spot on. I love the value of the signing. Losing both Will Allan and Giving away the pop corn vendor opposite him means that not one but two safeties will need to be brought in at some point this off-season.

  • Jollyrob68

    But they’re going to a zone blocking scheme. Cooper is the prize but Warmack is an awesome consolation

  • nbaballer1

    why is keenan allen never in the receiver discussion? I would be siked if we got cooper or warmack but i believe that both will we gone. I dont see us taking a line backer because of the depth in the draft. Receiver is a need and Keenan Allen is a stud. His injuries are the reason that he could make it to us at 17. The kid has great hands. routes, height, and more than enough speed to be a deep threat. I really hope we snag him. The front office wants to win now and they aren’t going to use this pick on someone that needs to be developed (cordarrelle patterson, or any defensive player for that matter)
    my mock for what its worth haha. more like what i want to happen. (i see us picking up Ahmad Bradshaw also via free agency)
    1. Keenan Allen WR
    2. Arthur Brown OLB
    3. T.J McDonald SS.
    4. Kiko Alanso ILB

  • Rubem Dornas

    Liked it! Just don’t think A. Brown will be available late second round, unless we move up to get him in early second round.

    Kiko Alonso is a name that I really like!

  • nbaballer1

    yeah that was my one reach. I was thinking with the number of olbs that will be taken in round one then at least one has to fall.

  • Rubem Dornas

    And looking to the numbers and medical issues, I do agree that Allen seems to be a better choice than Patterson and Hunter, for example. Also, he is taller than Hopkins and Austin. I’m starting to be convinced that he is the WR to fit our offense.

    Question: Arthur Brown can play both ILB and OLB?

  • nbaballer1

    yes brown can play both ilb and olb. “Brown had a stand-out junior campaign at middle linebacker in his first season with the Wildcats, totaling a team-best 101 tackles with 9.5 tackles for loss, 2.0 sacks and one interception. His breakout performance earned him the Big 12’s Defensive Newcomer of the Year.” http://www.cbssports.com/nfl/draft/players/1619684

  • nbaballer1

    Yes brown can play both. “Brown had a stand-out junior campaign at middle linebacker in his first season with the Wildcats, totaling a team-best 101 tackles with 9.5 tackles for loss, 2.0 sacks and one interception. His breakout performance earned him the Big 12’s Defensive Newcomer of the Year.” I got that off of his scouting report. I put the website but they didnt let me haha

  • SteelSpine

    Agreed. I shoulda taken projected scheme more-into account.

  • Dan

    I tend to think we should fill some of our defensive needs with the first pick, but if we do stick to the “best player available” philosophy it would be hard to pass Cooper and Warmack. If we did invest another high pick on the O-line I would expect we should have the best O-line in the league before long. Many of the top players at our other need positions have some red flag or some issue of concern (particularly the LBs). I haven’t heard much red flag material on either Warmack or Cooper. Anything of concern on either?
    BTW – here’s my impression of a generic scouting report on any high ranked offensive lineman “needs to bend at the knees better…plays with a nasty streak….will be a 10 year starter”

  • David Edward

    Everyone is waiting to see Allen run the 40 and most think it’s going to be pretty slow…maybe in the 4.6s. He looks slow on tape but has nice hands…seems to fall down a lot too. He’s more of a possesion guy in NFL, not a big play guy so likely not a top 20 pick. Brown won’t be there @48, he’s actually the top ILB in the draft and would be a decent consolation pick @17.

  • David Edward

    I mentioned previously that there’s a decent chance that no QBs go before 17. The teams can just wait to top part of 2nd to get those guys. In my mock, I had the BAA available to Steelers as Chance Warmack. I like Cooper better but see other teams liking him too, with Warmack falling a bit like DeCastro did. I’d still take him and plug him in at LG anyway…unless I could trade down which will be tough. I’ll post below how my mock looked in 2nd round.

  • David Edward

    Second round is starting to scare me because I see Teo and Minter available there and I’m not sure I want either. In my mock WR Woods was gone as was the other 2nd round worthy WRs. Also, my favorite RB Gio Bernard was gone as was many Steelers fans favorite Eddie Lacy. The BAA on my board was S Eric Reid which fits a big need and is a reason why I don’t think going with a S @17 is smart. I like Elam best, but between him Vaccaro, Cyprien and Reid it’s close and one should make it to 48…plus there’s S to be had in round 3 or 4.

  • nbaballer1

    allen when healthy will run in the 4.5 range. he plays fast too watch his game tape. this guy is a number one receiver not a possession guy at all. he had great numbers with an awful qb, hes going to be the best that comes out of this draft. we also arent going to take a consolation pick with our first pick. steelers never settle in the draft

  • mlc43

    Bad value in the first round with this class. You can draft later and get equal quality.

  • mokhkw

    Cooper was also asked to cut weight for the new scheme he played in, going from 320+ to less than 310. Both are good picks, but to me Cooper has a slightly better upside.

  • tricitysteel

    Not to be overly pessimistic but, with all the people on here as well as media prognosticators who like Cooper I suspect he won’t be there at 17. Warmack seems a bit more of a realistic target. I don’t think guards will fall in this draft like they have in years past because this draft lacks sexy-can’t-miss prospects so these guys will go higher than they would in other years. I hope I’m wrong.

  • CP 72

    I am struggling with the idea of Cooper. He would likely be the BPA if he is there when we draft. What bothers me is about picking him you are not addressing the 4 or 5 critical positions with your 1st round pick. OLB, ILB, WR, S, and RB. With so many needs do we pass on guys like Arthur Brown or Vaccaro for Cooper? I am sure glad I am not Kevin Colbert if things play out like that.
    The rest of it I have no problem with. I really like Robert Woods. He reminds my of Reggie Wayne. I was watching Game Changers on NFL network. Woods seemed to be the most “polished” of the group. Think he’s the type of guy that players in the league for 10-12 years.

  • Nolrog

    This mock is way too light on the offensive skill positions. You have 1 being picked early (I think once you get into the middle of the draft, things become more of a crap shoot, so I don’t put a ton of faith in picks that far back), but you’re picking yet another lineman in the first round? Why do the Steelers skill positions suck? Because (including this mock) 7 of the top 10 picks over the last 5 years have been linemen. The OL is a position that needs depth, not starters. We will pick one, maybe even two, in the middle and the back end of the draft, but not in the first. I think we’ll see significant focus on the offensive critical needs. Maybe not RB, but I do think they’ll take a shot at TE (Eifert in the first, maybe Ertz in the second), WR (Patterson if he’s still there, or Allen to replace the Keenan factor, but not Austin becuase he’s way too small for what we need). I could see an OLB picked first, then TE/WR in the next two in some order. I love Mingo, what a fantastic name, Barkevious Mingo just screams intimidation. Later in the draft, I do see a safety, corner and LB depth.

  • Cooper is the BPA and a solid pic. The other players dropping to 17 have too many question marks IMO. I like your whole draft.

  • SteelSpine


  • Everyone except TJ McDonald sorry. Too slow watch him get burned by Michale Williams in the Senior Bowl. Jamie Collins (OLB) or Travis Kelce (TE) would be good pick’s here in the 3rd.

  • SteelSpine

    I’d be happy with your first 3.
    I’d also be fine if took Jarvis or Mingo with the 1st pick tho, or Warmack because Warmack is less risky than any OLB. I think we really need to draft an OLB more than an OG, but the 2 top OGs are less risky than the OLBs whom we wont know til a couple years if they are any good. I’d love to get Cyprien (SS) in 2nd rd, I think Cyprien has the tools & mentality which LeBeau can take advantage of.

  • SteelSpine

    I agree with about all those points for your 1st rd & 2nd rd.

  • Steelers32

    Agree 100% there are 2 receivers who play with a snarl, Allen and Rodgers. hope if Sanders leaves we are smart and steal them both.

  • SteelSpine

    Good stuff, top to bottom! I completely agree why Warmack & Cooper. OLB is a more glaring need for us, but Warmack/Cooper are less risky (unless is a red flag which I agree to ask). OLBs with even a later-round pick is risky because LeBeau wont let any rookie play so wont know til too late if a bust, but at least could say we only used a mid-round pick on the OLB prospect.

    So here’s generic scouting reports of low-ranked OLinemen: “lunges & misses a lot… spends too much time on the ground… bends at the waist… built high… lacks the frame to get much bigger, but lacks athleticism.”

  • Would love the Cooper pick. He would give the Steelers possibly the best OL interior. Mike Mayock confirmed what I thought of McDonald during Senior Bowl practice, that he is a big hitter who will be a liability in pass coverage. The Steelers need a ball hawking safety.

  • StarSpangledSteeler

    I pretty much agree with everything you’ve said here. Come opening day, Ben will be throwing the ball to Brown, Sanders, or Paulsen. If you draft Cooper, guess who Ben is still throwing to?… Brown, Sanders, Paulsen.

    Now some fans may argue that by drafting Cooper, Ben will have more time? Not when they blitz. If opposing teams start sending 5-6 guys Ben will have to check down with a hot read to… (wait for it)… Brown, Sanders, Paulsen.

    If you draft Eifert, you get a guy who provides a huge target with elite hands, who can catch touchdowns in traffic, run block on the edge, and chip block in pass protection. And he can start day one so you’re getting his contributions immediately. If/when Miller comes back Eifert can stay on the field (either split out wide or in a double TE set) and provide a dual headed red zone monster.

    To me, those factors make Eifert a more valuable pick than Cooper.

  • Top to Bottom, this is a perfect mock draft. The first 2 rounds will provide players who can virtually start right out of the gate and help get this offense going. Everybody knows how much I love Cooper in the first and being able to get Mauti in the 6th would be outstanding. I love the idea of TJ being paired up with Golden back there too. The Steelers really like the development of Paulson so with the signing of Spaeth, TE is not as much of a dire need as some might think. I would not change a thing about this mock Dave. Pretty Work!!

  • Kenneth Wilt

    Great Mock! I love this.

  • NW86

    My thoughts exactly. I understand drafting BPA, but you would think they would go BPA among their top 5 needs.

  • Guest

    I agree with this 100%.

  • Ahmad

    Outside of Cooper in the 1st round, I think this is an excellent mock draft Dave. I still think we trade down in the first round so here is my mock draft and it’s similar to yours with a few minor changes.

    1. TE Tyler Eifert

    2. WR Robert Woods

    2. S Jonathan Cyprien

    3. OLB Chase Thomas

    4. WR Quinton Patton

    4. NT Kwame Geathers

    5. RB Kenjon Barner

    6. ILB Michael Muati

    6. DE Joe Kruger

    7. Personally I don’t care who we pick here.

  • David Edward

    I think you are correct. I had Warmack falling to 17, but it’s just as likely that both he and Cooper are gone.

  • David Edward

    I think you pass on Vaccaro because there is Matt Elam, Jon Cyprien, and Eric Reid right there with him. I like Elam the best of the bunch and one of those should be there @48…or they can wait unti 3rd and get a S that’s not too far behind. This is a deep year for safeties.
    I agree it’s hard to pass on Brown because after him you have Ogletree with character issues and then @48 Teo or Minter might be there but neither are attractive options. I like Jon Bostic in the 3rd though.

  • Jack

    John Simon is extremely limited and the best hope for him is as a backup and ST player. Huge pass on him in the 4th round. Lemonier, Collins, Q. Smith, Buchanan, and Jenkins all are better options. Heck I would rather take the risk on Walter Stewart than taking Simon and knowing that he may bust completely because of injury than know Simon will never be an impact player.

    Simon lacks explosion and suddenness and will not even come close to being an impact player. He got by on hustle and limited athleticism thanks to his competition in the Big 10. In the SEC he would have been an average to below average DE.

  • David Edward

    At any level of football OL is critical. A great OL can make average skill players look better. The 08 and 10 Super Bowl teams won more in spite of the OL than because of it due to Ben’s ability to shake off rushers or take the big hit. Now that he’s getting older you don’t want to rely on that…which actually scares me a bit with Gilbert at LT. Anyway, if you have a chance to improve your OL you do it.

  • Kenneth Wilt

    I didn’t have a chance to spend much time in my response earlier, but I do want to

    comment more extensively.

    To me, drafting Cooper in round 1 is a sign that this team is again committed to controlling the LOS on the offensive side of the ball. Adams/Cooper/Pouncey/DeCastro/Gilbert with Beachum, Legursky, and Foster for depth. I like that a lot.

    I like Woods a lot. I think he underperformed last year, but so did his QB.

    McDonald is a guy who I thought at this time last year, or right after the draft, was surely going to be our target in Round #1. That whole team struggled and with that came a step back in rounds.

    Simon to me could potentially move inside next to Timmons in this D. Like you mention in your review of him, he reminds you some of the ILB from Chicago. I think most of us have heard of him.

    Barner I really like. He is a kid who pretty much takes what the D gives him. He isn’t going to run anyone over, but the kid can play.

    Kruger is someone I know VERY little about, but I am fine with him.

    Mauti I absolutely love as a pick. I’m not sure what to think about his injury status and if he can play again at the level he did, but he is just an awesome kid who deserves a shot.

    I think there is no doubt that somewhere in this draft we take a QB or at least sign one as a UDFA…which is my preference. I prefer this to be a project type pick. Look at Paulson and Beachum….guys who performed out of that round.

  • steeltown

    I like it

    Dont know much about John Simon, but I’ll do some research , but overall very nice, would help all positions in need of depth or immediate impact

  • steeltown

    Love the players in this mock.. and I love the idea of trading back and drafting Eifert and the grabbing Cyprein in the 2nd, but I dont see Patton lasting as long as you do, but damn that would be a great draft

  • Us Them

    Cooper would be great but OL isnt biggest need. McDonald is a box safety at best (remember Lee Flowers?). Simon showed at senior bowl he cant drop and cover. Barner isnt the type of back Tomlin wants. Kruger isnt needed, just move McLendon to 5 tech where he belongs.

  • Us Them

    Best case senario- lose Sanders to Pats AND allow MN to trade up for Austin. 23 Elanm safety FL, 48 Jones OL Bama, 79 Bailey WR WVU, 91 Williams NT MO South, 102 Bell RB Mich St, 115 Sims TE Mich St, 150 Maponga DE/OLB TCU, 186 Griffin QB Tulane, 189 McCalebb RB Auburn, 206 Stafford safety Nebraska, 223 Brown WR OK

  • Us Them

    Or we stay put- 17 Elam, 48 Williams, 79 Bailey, 115 Bell, 150 Maponga, 186 Griffin, 206 Stafford, 223 Painter OL VA Tech

  • RW

    So many mixed feelings about this mock draft. A brief analysis of each pick:

    1 – G, Cooper – I really like Jonathan Cooper. Really, I do. Plus, this fills both a want and need of the organization. However, with primary areas of need in other places (RB, ILB, S, OLB, WR), why fill a secondary need (G, T, CB, QB, TE) with the first pick? If anything, the math above for both primary and secondary needs doesn’t add up to the number of draft picks we have, which is why I ultimately see us moving back. There are plenty of guards available in rounds 2 and 3 (Barrett Jones, Larry Warford come to mind immediately) that would upgrade the LG spot immediately without having to sacrifice getting a sure-fire prospect in the first round that also fills a primary need. And, before anyone gets on me for putting OLB up there, ask yourself: what happens if Woodley or Worilds gets injured? Do we move Timmons outside? Who do we put inside, given that Foote is already (IMO) a glaring weakness? I like the player, I think the position is a need, but I ultimately don’t like the pick for us.

    2 – WR, Woods – Now this is a guy I really like. He runs crisp routes, comes back to catch the ball and can flat out make plays. Plus he can block. I would have no trouble taking him in the 2nd if I knew that we’d also target a tall receiver that can go up and get the ball. I suspect that’s why we signed Plax, and there aren’t many receivers in this draft who can do that, but I just think it would be wise for us to take a Patterson or a Hunter if they’re available and we feel WR is our biggest priority (I do not, but I wouldn’t be upset if the organization did).

    3 – SS, McDonald – Great value pick here, as he was the top rated safety on CBS Sportsline’s NFL Prospect ratings just last year. I don’t know how this fall from grace happened, but it is worth noting that it did. I still believe Elam will have the best career of all of the safeties coming out of this draft, but McDonald would at the very least be a serviceable backup for years to come.

    4 – OLB, Simon – I really don’t like this pick. He’s a high character guy, sure, but he doesn’t fit our defense at all. Would be a career backup OLB with limited upside due to his limited athleticism. The only OLB I’d take with a day 3 or later grade is Brandon Jenkins out of FSU. If not for his injury, he’d be a day 1 or 2 guy without question. Otherwise, I would target an OLB early. I think this is also an appropriate place to disagree with your recent post about Jarvis Jones, as I think that you can never have enough starting-caliber pass-rushers.

    5 – RB, Barner – Again, don’t like this pick. I don’t think we need a player in the mold of Chris Rainey. We need a RB who can handle the load. The only backend RBs (Rds 4-5) that I think can do that are JaWan Jamison, LeVeon Bell, Stepfan Taylor and Andre Ellington. Zac Stacy would be a great round 6 or 7 pick who I think could handle the load in year 2.

    6a – DE, Kruger – A good developmental pick that I don’t know enough about. Like a DE late, but with so many other pressing needs I wouldn’t mind skipping out on a DE altogether and trolling the UDFA pool.

    6b – ILB, Mauti – This is no knock on Mauti, who I really like, but we need to seriously address this position early. This is the one position whose backups I don’t trust in any way, shape or form. Seriously, who do we have that anyone here is comfortable with putting in if one of our two ILBs get hurt? Also, who wouldn’t rather have an upgrade over Foote? I know it’s rare for a rookie to start on defense, but I believe we need to draft an intelligent, athletic, 1st or 2nd round linebacker who can come in after a year (at the latest) to run the defense and make serious plays. I would be supremely disappointed if Mauti was the organizations answer for that.

    7 – QB, Griffin – A waste of a 7th round pick, if you ask me. If you seriously want to address the QB position in this draft and find a reliable backup, you’ll want to take a hard look at Zac Dysert or Tyler Bray. I don’t think we’re looking for starter quality but the guy has to be able to come in and win games for us if Ben/Gradkowski go down. Just saying.

    Will post a mock draft later.

  • grw1960

    True , but it is rare a OG goes that high in the first round, let alone 2

  • grw1960

    Well said,
    Won’t disagree with you on On much of it.But ILB Mauti is a good risk, reward pick only in the sense of his ability to stay healthy, Mauti is top 100 talent healthy, but he can’t seem to avoid the injury bug.
    And QB Griffin’s upside is as good as any day 2 -3 QB in this draft. He was MVP of the Texas VS. the nation game and his desire and work ethic will take him far if he wants it bad enough.

  • grw1960

    Well Done mock Dave,
    Tough year to do mock drafts for teams after the first 12 picks. Hard to wrap my head around the weak first round talent in this draft.Most of the players after the top 10 or 12 are bottom first round talents at best. Cooper is one on the few true first round talents even in a better year.
    In a normal draft year we would have a shot at OT Lane Johnson at 17 and the # 2 OG would fall well into the 20s.
    We seem to agree that many of the players the Steelers should pick are not good value at 17, but will probably be gone by 49.
    I like LB Arthur Brown, WR Hopkins, .
    The key to the 49th pick in the 2nd round probably will lay in what position a run is started on in the late first round. WRs,Safety, CB , LB or other. Something none of us will know till it happens.

  • Cody Younkin

    He was suspended because Miami was giving him money so they suspended him and acted like they didnt do anything. He’s too valuable not to take if hes undrafted. Imagine Vaccaro and Armstrong in the secondary.

  • LouPGH

    I like Ty Powell. Good call.

  • Guest

    I think we could probably use another offensive lineman, but given how many other needs we have, not in the 1st Round. (I don’t think Cooper or Warmack will be there anyway.) I don’t think Hopkins will be there in the 2nd Round and the 1st Round seems like a reach. If we picked up A. Bradshaw on a one year contract, what about…

    1. (17) – Tyler Eifert, TE (Notre Dame)
    2. (48) – Kevin Minter, ILB (Louisiana State)
    3. (79) – D.J. Swearinger, SS (South Carolina)
    4. (115) – Marcus Lattimore, RB (South Carolina)
    5. (150) – Zac Dysert, QB (Miami, OH)
    6. (186) – Rodney Smith, WR (Florida St.)
    6. (206) – Stansly Maponga, OLB (Texas Christian) (Quanterus Smith, OLB (Western Kentucky) is another DE-to-OLB project, or Ty Powell, OLB (Harding) in the 5th is another option.)
    7. (223) – Mark Harrison, WR (Rutgers)

  • LouPGH

    I would be very happy with this draft. I especially like Rounds 3-7. I would be very happy to get Cooper in the 1st Round, were he available. Maybe we could finally put things together on the line. I’m skeptical of USC WRs on principal, but you make a compelling case for Woods.

  • Dan

    Thank ya. I definately think we’ll see LBs picked in the mid-late rounds as we need the depth and bodies to groom for the future. Plus we often see LBs on special teams.
    Ah yes, forgot about the “frame to get much bigger” remark. These are usually comments for D-lineman and LBs, but certainly very common for O-lineman. Next we’ll discuss DBs “fuidity of the hips” 🙂

  • roger milner

    I LOVE the Cooper pick. If we select another position of need at 17 (OLB, ILB, S, WR) how much of an impact will they really have in ’13, outside of ST and sub-packages? How quickly the nation forgets, we just don’t play rookies! Cooper will be a plug and play guy barring injury. Drafting Cooper would also allow Foster and Beachum to be depth guys, versus playing significant snaps. We’d still be able to address our other areas of need in the mid rounds (3-5). The WR and safety positions are relatively deep, and a rush-backer can be had in the 4-5 range (Brandon Jenkins from FSU). Man I can’t wait!!!

  • Dominic Johns

    Haven’t seen a worse mock draft. Elam at 1 is beyond awful. Yes he’s a good player but its still a reach and the business man would say you could trade down, even in this buyers market, to get a player like him. Williams is all combine so far. Bailey and bell are good although I would rather have swope or Dobson, if he’s available. Bell probably won’t be there.

  • RW

    My post pro-day mock draft:

    A trade! I can’t see us not trading back for value, so here it goes (by the way, I used the NFL 2013 draft trade chart to choose the picks):

    1) (via trade with Falcons) Round 1, Pick 30 – TE – Tyler Eifert, ND – I don’t like taking a TE so early, but he is the best available. Paired with Heath, we’d have a great red zone tandem for Ben to work with.

    2) Round 2, Pick 17 – ILB – Kevin Minter, LSU – I know he’s sliding, but he represents a major upgrade at backup ILB. How can you pass him up at this juncture?

    3) (via trade with Falcons) Round 2, Pick 30 – WR – Robert Woods, USC – I’m liking the Woods pick more and more. He’s versatile and could really add another element to the offense, particularly if Sanders is lost.

    4) Round 3, Pick 17 – OG – Barrett Jones, ALA – This guy is the ultimate swing-man and can really play. Most people have him as a day 3er right now. I think he’s worth a day 2 pick, but hopefully he slides to the third round.

    5) Round 4, Pick 17 – OLB – Brandon Jenkins, FSU – He was hurt and out for the entire year last year, but before that he was an animal. He was the best pass rusher on FSU’s defense, and that’s saying something with the DE draft picks they have coming out ahead of him. A high upside OLB.

    6) Round 5, Pick 17 – QB – Zac Dysert, Miami (OH) – I’m still high on this guy. I think he’s a career backup in this league and a good one at that. Not the best arm strength, but he’s accurate and tough. Plus, he shouldn’t need to throw the ball 70 yards in Haley’s offense.

    7) Round 6, Pick 17 – RB – JaWan Jamison, Rutgers – He has the upside to be the next Ray Rice. Can catch out of the backfield and looks to be an every down back. Plus he can block.

    8) Round 6, Pick 38 – NT – Kwame Geathers, Georgia – He came out early as a bit of a surprise, but he looks every part the NT the steelers would like on 1st and 2nd down. He is a true NT, which means that perhaps (eventually) McLendon could move over and a combination of Geathers and Ta’amu could man the NT spot. Would give us tremendous depth.

    9) Round 7, Pick 17 – SS – Ray Ray Armstrong, Miami – We could wait for him to go undrafted, but it’d be easier to snag him up in the 7th round. He’s a supreme talent that got shafted by miami’s ongoing booster problems. Would be a great special teamer and a sufficient backup to Polamalu. We’ll have to wait to truly address safety until next year’s draft.

  • Kevin Gobleck

    Rhodes CB Florida St.
    Lacy RB Alabama
    Patton WR Louisiana Tech
    Thomas SS Syracuse
    Simon OLB Ohio St.
    Reddick ILB North Carolina
    Joe Kruger DE Utah
    Allen P Louisiana Tech

  • Shannon Stephenson

    I really like this draft . The Shaggy breakdown:
    Cooper IMO is a great fit plus most likely the BPA when we draft. You can never have to many OL or DL on your team especially a guy like Cooper
    Woods is ok. I hope Hopkins is available but you maybe right. Haley needs a bigger WR for his system and Wood is most likely the best larger WR at this spot
    I’m ok with McDonald but with Swearinger out there would rather go with him
    I really like Simon except for one problem. what position will he play. He is too slow for OLB and too small for a DE. He plays hard and is strong as an ox. Hope he can put on 30 lbs and be a back up DE
    Barner is a really good pick. Takes the place of Rainey which is the type of guy Haleys covets in his offense. As a late round/UDFA Chris Thompson could be a steal
    I like Kruger there….seems to be a prototypical DE for us
    Mauti could be a big surprise but 3 serious knee injuries. This guy maybe made out of glass
    Not a fan of Griffen although the Steeler did take a closer look. Aplin , Cameron or Renfree.

  • David Edward

    RW, I like Zac Stacy as a nice third day RB too, but so do a lot of other teams. He’s an early third day pick meaning a 4th likely maybe 5th…won’t last to 6-7.

  • RW

    He might go earlier. It’s really hard to project him only because there are a wealth of other RBs that are values late in the draft. Plus I think teams don’t value the 40 as much as fans do. Stacy is just flat out good, though, regardless of the 40, so I can see your point.

  • David Edward

    Stacy ran a 4.55 @ 215 compared to Taylor 4.75 who is same size. Jamison ran 4.68 @ 200 compared to Graham who ran 4.8 @ same size. Scouts take speed relative to size into consideration. Graham and Taylor will be late round guys based on ability otherwise they’d just be UDFAs. Jamison is a 3rd day guy maybe 5-6…and Stacy is the best of that bunch.

  • nbaballer1

    what do you guys think about Da’Rick Rogers? he will definitely be there in the 2nd and maybe 3rd. We took a chance on Mike Adams last year, and we really need that big fast wide out.

  • nbaballer1

    i just dont see us taking a cb number one, we wouldnt of let keenan lewis walk if the steelers didnt have a plan for next season. Lacy would be nice in round 2 but i dont see him falling past green bay in the 1st

  • Kevin Gobleck

    yeah its just he could be the BPA here and the fact that some say he could also play safety is a huge plus. If Ike or Allen gets hurt would you trust Gay to start? I also feel that Green Bay goes defense again with some one like Damontre Moore, and i think the new RB rule will help him drop a little.

  • nbaballer1

    who has equal value? if they did then you wouldnt be able to get them later.

  • mlc43

    Well, thank goodness for phone alerts. This was an old post. There is absolutely NO dominant receiver in this draft. The difference between the top receivers going in the top rounds is so insignificant that it makes no sense to waste a 1st round pick on a wr when you can get the same thing (and maybe better with good scouting) in the 2nd and 3rd rounds. Hence the no value in the 1st. Same thing with rbs.

  • nbaballer1

    I still disagree with this. If they put up the same production and had the same skills then they would be taken around the same time. The only receiver I see after round 3 able to become a number 1 target would be da’rick rogers

  • I don’t think philly passes barner enough times so the Steelers could get him in the 5th but I’m hoping you’re right on this pick.