Steelers 2013 Draft: Ranking The First Round Draft Pick Options By Position Probability

The 2013 NFL combine is now behind us and we are getting a little better handle now on which players are first round prospects. We have also had more time to look even closer at the needs for the Pittsburgh Steelers. Below is a breakdown by position of how likely it will be that the Steelers first round draft pick in April comes from each certain position from least likely to likely.

Center – There is not a first round center in this draft class and the Steelers do not need one just the same for obvious reasons.

Quarterback – General Manager Kevin Colbert has made it known several times since the season ended that he is willing to draft any position in any round, and that includes quarterback. Colbert forgot to add after round four to the statement as there is virtually no chance that they draft a quarterback in round one. Should Geno Smith or Matt Barkley fall that far, Colbert should be entertaining offers to move down a few spots to pick up an extra pick or two. I just cant see a quarterback here for obvious reasons.

Running BackEddie Lacy and Giovani Bernard might hear their names called in the first round, but the 17th overall pick is way too early for either of them to be selected by the Steelers. They will draft a running back in this draft, just not in the first round.

Tight End – This position certainly could be addressed in this draft at some point, but 17 is way too early for either Tyler Eifert or Zach Ertz to be selected.

CornerbackDee Milner should be gone in the top ten picks and Xavier Rhodes could go anywhere past the top 10. The Steelers are hoping to re-sign Keenan Lewis and history shows us that they haven\’t selected a cornerback in the first round dating back to 1997. Should they draft a corner this year, I imagine that they will do it in the back end of the draft.

TackleLuke Joeckel and Eric Fisher are sure to be long gone by the time that the Steelers pick. There is a chance that Lane Johnson could still be on the board, but the Steelers already have two young tackles in Marcus Gilbert and Mike Adams that they hope are long-term starters. I really think the Steelers are willing to bypass Johnson after unsuccessfully trying to trade the pick.

Inside LinebackerAlec Ogletree, Arthur Brown, Kevin Minter and Manti Te\’o are the four inside linebacker prospects that have been associated as possibly being drafted in the first round. Ogletree, which many teams will view as a 4-3 outside linebacker, is most likely to be the highest one drafted of the three, but his character red flags should be enough to get the Steelers to pass on him should he not be off the board by the time that they pick. Brown is an interesting prospect, while Minter and Te\’o could possibly be perceived as very late first round selections, or even second round prospects. Neither of those two warrant the 17th overall selection, however, so that leaves Brown as the one in this bunch that I could remotely see the Steelers drafting in round one.

Nose TackleStar Lotulelei and Johnathan Hankins are really the only two candidates here for the Steelers as Sheldon Richardson is best suited to play defensive tackle in a 4-3 defense. Lotulelei might be considered too much of a medical risk, however, so that leaves Hankins as the player that would most likely get consideration from the Steelers.

SafetyKenny Vaccaro, in my opinion, will be the only safety that has a chance to be drafted in the top 20. The Steelers have only drafted one safety in the first round in the Super Bowl era and that happened ten years ago when they moved up to draft Troy Polamalu. Vaccaro is not Polamalu, and the odds alone say that he will not be the selection at 17.

Defensive End – Do the Steelers consider Bjoern Werner a five-technique defensive end candidate? It\’s possible. I do not, however, think that he has the skill set to be a 3-4 outside linebacker prospect. Sharrif Floyd might also warrant consideration as a five technique defensive end, so these two players have to be considered should they drop. Ziggy Ansah is another player that not only could warrant consideration as a 3-4 defensive end, but an outside linebacker as well. In the end I think Ansah best fits a 4-3 defensive end skill set that would require him to stop the run on his way to the quarterback.

Wide Receiver – This is surely a need that the Steelers are most likely to fill in the first four rounds. Depending on how you rank them, Cordarrelle Patterson, Keenan Allen, DeAndre Hopkins and Tavon Austin could possibly be first round candidates. How many of them are top 20 candidates? Two? I am not willing to rule this position out as a possibility, but I have a sneaky feeling that one won\’t be taken by the Steelers in the first round.

Outside Linebacker –  The list is long. Dion Jordan, Barkevious Mingo, Jarvis Jones, Damontre Moore and possibly even Ansah. Several of them will also get consideration by other teams early in the first round as defensive ends. There is a chance that only one or two remain on the board when the Steelers pick. Should one of them be drafted by the Steelers they better be solid special team contributors as that is where they will play in their rookie season.

Guard – Where the Steelers pick is normally the time in the draft when the first interior lineman is known to come off of the board. The two studs here are of course Chance Warmack and Jonathan Cooper. They both can play in a zone blocking and power blocking scheme with Cooper having more position flexibility of the two. Cooper also moves and bends better. It is hard to rule this position out being as one of the two, if not both, will still be on the board when the Steelers pick.

So who do I think the Steelers will pick in the first round? My second mock draft will be out sometime Sunday and I have narrowed it down to one of these 16 players: T Lane Johnson, ILB Arthur Brown, NT Star Lotulelei, NT Johnathan Hankins, S Kenny Vaccaro, DE Bjoern Werner, DE Sharrif Floyd, DE/OLB Ziggy Ansah, WR Cordarrelle Patterson, WR Keenan Allen, OLB Dion Jordan, OLB Barkevious Mingo, OLB Jarvis Jones, OLB Damontre Moore, G Chance Warmack and G Jonathan Cooper.

  • Jollyrob68

    Cooper, Allen, Austin, Eifert or Jones. However Star might be too good to pass up.

  • HarryBackside

    I can’t see the Steelers passing up on Lane Johnson. I don’t think anyone seriously considers Gilbert a long term solution at OT. The high positional value, and the fact that Johnson would provide a improvement to the entire OL, make him to good to pass up if he is available. Besides, how often do the Steelers have a shot at drafting a top OT?

  • HarryBackside

    No to the pass rushers. Way over hyped. Everyone of them has a “but” next to their names. If you compare the OLB prospects in this draft class to the past two drafts, they just don’t stack up. There is no equivilant to Aldon Smith, Von Miller or Bruce Irvin in this draft

  • Garrett Hunt

    I would not be upset with Eifert at 17, but the last four in your final paragraph seem most likely/best choices to me.

  • Take Cooper and have Beachum be the back up Tackle and Malecki can be the back up C/G.

  • Kevin Gobleck

    I think Eifert at 17 might be more realistic than you think

  • zyzak

    He solves two problems, he give Ben a big target and can play until Heath returns. I think he is a stud.

  • Randy Neff

    If Gilbert is projected to be the LT, and the team passes on Johnson, I’d be going to bed that night ticked off. The odds are long that would happen though.

  • Shannon Stephenson

    I like that breakdown Dave. We seem to have few options. G looks like the best bet although teams will go after T’s and QB’s that maybe they shouldn’t and push a guy down the draft board. I really like Cooper and think he will be a perfect fit for our OL and give it the potential to be the best in the league( although I would be more than happy with Warmack). I thought Hankins would bring an interesting twist at NT because he is more agile than most NT’s but his combine worried me.

  • If we drafted Johnson could Adams function as the left guard?

  • chris dimarino

    Good in the red zone as well. But beware of discussing the TE in the 1st (cough cough, Coby Fleener)

  • TE, WR and G should be our only options in the first.

  • grw1960

    For now , Vaccaro, Ansah, Cooper or Datone Jones seem the most likely
    There is an awful shortage of good mid first round talent in this draft. . The Steelers may have to gamble on the ceiling of a few of these draft prospects

  • mokhkw

    Slightly off topic but I recall the following being discussed in a previous article here so….

    Just watched the 2002 Week 10 Falcons at Steelers game with Kendrell Bell playing. Sam Rosen mentions that Bell was the 1st rookie LBer to start for the Steelers since 1974(!). There haven’t been any since Bell who have started, so if Sam Rosen is correct, that’s only 2 starting rookie LBers for the Steelers in last 38 years.

  • LucasY59

    more likely Gilbert, but I think if they take Johnson that Adams would be RT and Gilbert would be the backup, or start at LT untill Johnson is ready. would be one of the more suprising 1st rd picks if they take Johnson, if they go OL it should be Warmack or Cooper

  • Jazz

    I could see them taking a TE as well, but not at #17, that’s too high. The only way they select a TE in round #1? They trade down and stockpile multiple picks.

  • moderatelysane

    I’m just hoping that Damontre Moore mediocres his pro-day. Watch the tape and you see a Steelers OLB. This guys is the real deal, and if he can slip to 17 we should run to the podium. Precombine I saw that Chris or Jeremy had him in their first mock, which I thought was unrealistic. Another mediocre pro day and we’ll have him. He’s been productive in three years as a pass rusher and run stopper with a motor.

  • steeltown

    I WISH the Steelers would trade back a few spots into the mid 20’s and target Eifert.. and if someone scoops him up in the early 20’s they could still get a guy like WR Hopkins or ILB Minter

  • Kevin Gobleck

    I don’t think he’ll get passed the bears at 20 to be honest

  • Garrett Hunt

    So you want to rule out Jarvis Jones, Demontre Moore, Ezekiel Ansah, Dion Jordan,Star Lotulelei, and Jonathan Hankins??

  • I have yet to see anyone protect well enough to be trusted with the blind side and while I love the idea of a guard if Adams is going to be able to do that, I could see getting the better pure LT and moving Adams inside if the team isn’t convinced.

  • Jake

    No. OLB, WR, OT, or C. I don’t think we need at tight end right now because Heath will be a pro bowl player after injury God-willing for the next 2 to 3 years. And we just signed Leanard Pope.