Hritz: Steelers Mock Draft 2013 Version 3.0

By Jeremy Hritz

When I initially completed my third mock draft, I had fully accepted that the Pittsburgh Steelers would not match the offer sheet from New England for Emmanuel Sanders and that they would have acquired an additional third round pick. I couldn’t have been more wrong. Retaining Sanders changed the entire complexion of my mock draft, and I had to retool the direction I envisioned them going.

There has been a great deal of speculation that several teams are looking to trade out of the first round because of the quality players available in the second and third rounds and the lack of elite players in the first round. Considering all of the needs that the Steelers have, trading out of the first round to stockpile picks makes sense. Does that mean they will do it, no. This version of my mock draft is an exercise in showing what the team can do if they were to add additional picks by trading out of the first round, and in this mock, I have Buffalo trading back into the first round with the Steelers and giving up their second and fourth round picks, increasing the overall number of picks for the Steelers to nine.

This is a critical draft for the Steelers organization, one that will either help the team rebound from 8-8, or continue to slip into the abyss of mediocrity.

The final edition of my mock draft will be available Tuesday or Wednesday of next week.

Round 2 from Buffalo: Pick 41: Keenan Allen, Wide Receiver – California – 6’2, 206

The Steelers can get value in a wide receiver in the early second round, and if Allen happens to fall to pick 41, the Steelers would be wise to grab him. While he is not a burner who can stretch the field, he is a big, physical receiver that has excellent hands. Adding a large, tough receiver like Allen to the Roethlisberger’s arsenal will provide a red zone threat and a reliable pass catcher that can convert third downs in a Hines Ward-like fashion. There are some concerns about health as he missed the final three games of the 2012 season at California, but it is not enough to pass Allen up should he be available in this spot.

Round 2: Pick 48: Le’Veon Bell, Running Back – Michigan State – 6’1, 230

A carryover from my second Mock Draft, though two rounds earlier as his stock has risen. The Steelers need a zone runner, and they can get that in Bell. Worked out for the Steelers. See my 2.0 for a more detailed analysis.

Round 3: Pick 79: Phillip Thomas, Safety – Fresno State – 6’0, 208

Another carryover from 2.0 that I am standing behind, especially after his visit with the team. See previous mock for a more detailed analysis, but safety is a need, especially one with Thomas’ playmaking ability.

Round 4 from Buffalo: Pick 105: Corey Lemonier, Outside Linebacker – Auburn – 6’4, 255

Lemonier may not be available at this pick, but there is a chance that he could be, and with his speed off of the edge, he would be a nice addition to the Steelers pass rush. Is physical and a big hitter that has experience dropping into coverage. His best season came in his first year as a starter when he recorded 13.5 tackles for loss and 9.5 sacks. His junior year was not impressive, but the entire Auburn team struggled through a poor season in 2012. Will need refining and commitment to improving his technique as he has a tendency to play out of control, but his relentless motor, if harnessed appropriately, could pay dividends for the Steelers defense. Ran a 4.6 forty yard dash at the combine.

Round 4: Pick 115: Jon Bostic, Inside Linebacker – Florida – 6’1, 245

Addresses the need for depth at inside linebacker. Competitive, physical, and committed to stopping the run, Bostic fits the mold of an interior Pittsburgh Steelers linebacker. Was considered a team leader at Florida, a quality needed in the Steelers locker room.  Can also play special teams, so the ability to contribute in his first year is there. Not very fast and may not have the talent to stay on the field on third downs at the next level. Recorded five interceptions and seven and a half sacks during his career at Florida.

Round 5: Pick 150: Nick Kasa, Tight End – Colorado – 6’6, 269

Once again, another carry over from my early mock drafts. His size and raw ability make Kasa a player that could potentially develop into a star. Will benefit from learning from Heath Miller.

Round 6: Pick 186: Denard Robinson, Athlete – Michigan – 5’11, 199

Robinson carries over from my second mock draft, and while many consider Robinson to be exclusively a wide receiver, he will provide versatility to the Steelers offense that has been missing since the early days of Antwaan Randle-El. Todd Haley likes to have a shifty, quick back in his offense, and Robinson can fulfill that role, in addition to catching passes. If a gadget play is needed, Robinson can also throw the football to keep defenses on their toes. Robinson can also contribute on special teams as a returner, making his value very high. While he will probably go earlier than the sixth round, his do-it-all capabilities are something that would benefit the offense and the special teams, and the Steelers should think hard about selecting him.

Round 6: Pick 206: Terry Hawthorne, Cornerback – Illinois – 6’0, 195

The Steelers need to add some depth in the later rounds at the corner position, and that’s just exactly what they will do by selecting Hawthorne. Hawthorne will be a project for the Steelers, but his height (6’0) and his speed (4.31) indicate that he has the characteristics needed to be a successful cornerback in the NFL. Hawthorne is not afraid of contact, something that is a necessity on the Steelers defense. Can get beat easily and will get suckered into the play action. Durability is an issue as well. However, the later rounds are used on players who have boom or bust potential, and Hawthorne has a chance to boom.

Round 7: Pick 223: Jeff Baca, Guard – UCLA – 6’4, 302

The Steelers also need to add another guard for depth in this year’s draft. Baca has a high motor, plays through the whistle, and shows an excellent initial burst. Possesses the versatility that the Steelers look for in their offensive linemen, as he took snaps at every position on the offensive line during his collegiate career. While he is aggressive and physical, he is not athletically gifted. However, his effort may enable him to overcome his limitations.

  • SteelersDepot

    Trades are so tough to predict and it would be a first if the steelers traded out of the first completely. Pretty sure you didnt get enough from Buffalo to move up that far, but it is what it is and I do not want to take away from the exercise. I need to watch tape on Hawthorne. Denard is a balsy selection.

  • Dominic Johns

    To move up that many spots you are looking at a 2 and a 3rd this year…. and probably at least one more pick. From 41 to 17 is a hugeeeee jump. Solid draft though.

  • I like the players you have selected, but that is an absolutely horrible trade. I had to go back and read it again to make sure there wasn’t a first next year included. So basically we’re swapping positions with Buffalo and only gaining a 4th round pick ? Buffalo would need to include a lot more.

  • Tim Barca

    I love this draft, the offense gets 2 playmakers to start it off and the defense gets the depth that it needs at the weakest positions. I think that Bell is a perfect fit for the Steelers, he runs hard and loves to run people over. I really like the Robinson pick as well, he will be amazing in the return game. I know many are very high on Cooper at 1/17, I think he is a great player, but Foster has proven that he can be a starter in this league, we can get depth in the later rounds and rookie FA. Most of all, I really like the idea of trading out of the first, easier said then done, but it makes so much sense.

  • Addison

    I love it

  • You stole my idea that they will trade down. And moor than that the idea Allen well be there in the second round. Great draft!

  • mokhkw

    I like the idea of trading down, but I think the chances of finding another team to do this with are slim at best. All the potential QB needy teams have signed vets lately, meaning there will be less “panic shopping” for a QB then there usually is. If someone does trade with us eg. Dallas to get Vacarro if we don’t want him, then it likely won’t amount to much – a swap of picks in the 1st & an extra 4th Rder for eg.

    I think most teams want to get out of the 1st for extra mid round picks if at all possible. To me, there are about 14 players I would use a 1st on – and about 60 players who belong in the 3rd Round. Some of those players are getting pushed up to the 1st & 2nd Rds where they don’t offer much “value”.

    Still, I like the potential results if we do – only thing I’d do different is wait an extra round or 2 for a WR & RB, get Simon instead of Lemonier in the 4th and use the two 2nds on S, NT or CB.

  • walter mason

    No, a 2nd and 4th pick

    OK I see what you mean. Maybe we need a 2nd and 3rd.

  • Nolrog

    Hmm. The 17th pick in the first round for the 9th and 8th in the 2nd and 4th rounds respectively. I’m not sure that’s enough.I’m not so sure about Keenan Allen either. He had a questionable drug test and, if reports are correct, he has some attitude issues. Not sure that’s the kind of guy the Steelers would pick.

  • Nolrog

    Not swapping positions either. Just getting a 2nd and 4th in return (not a 3rd. )

  • Jonathon Bert Schade

    I’m not sold on Allen either and the rest of these picks don’t look so hot to me either although Thomas would be OK, I guess. Five through seven smell like FAs to me.

  • Maurice_hill_district

    No team would give up a 2nd to move to Steelers spot in 1st round, not this year. Past years sometimes, not this draft. For Steelers to trade down this year would only give Steelers a 3rd, not a 2nd rd pick this year. This has been explained by plenty of experts as because many teams around Steelers want to trade down for same reason Steelers do:-! duh. The reason being not much difference in talent in many positions from bottom half of 1st rd vs 2nd-3rd rd this yesr. Its just this year. Check it out.

  • Mike Amaro

    Instead of Keenan Allen in the second personally I would be happier with Robert woods

  • Fivesevenzero Sports-Radio

    First off if your Trading pick 17 and your “first” pick becomes 41 your getting more then a 4th!…I am not Sold on Leveon Bell.. he wont bully people around in the NFL like he did in the BIG 10.. If your gonna pull the trigger that early on a RB you find a way to draft Giovani Bernard. Change of pace RB who can really Mesh well with Dwyer and catch the ball with ease.

    Keenan Allen wont be a steeler if that drug test comes back positive, so you may as well look into another WR. The WR class is deep with talent you can steal WRs like Swope, King, Sanders, Robinson in later rounds who can really make impacts on teams. BUT for the sake of your MOCK draft you take Robert Woods or Justin Hunter with that Allen pick!! (Everything “after” your first 2 rounds i like)

    MY 1st Round Pick:: (Playmaker:: Eddie Lacy, Jarvis Jones, Tyler Eifert, Tavon Austin) That is your ideal picks who can make an impact for us right away.. Many of you want to take another Guard in the first round which i cant say i blame you because Ramon Foster is AWFUL but i believe you can manage to find a successful replacement guard later in the draft,

    MY 2nd Round pick:: This all depends on the Steelers First Choice. Im a HUGE believer in Robert Woods but i don’t believe hes going to be available. So my choices would be by position (RB) Eddie Lacy (if he fell)/Bernard, (WR) Justin Hunter/Robert Woods (G) Larry Warford, (TE) Zach Ertz, Arthur Brown (MLB for us) (DT) John Jenkins, (OLB) Damontre Moore… <— All impactful player for us.. Like i said i don't want to choose because we actually have some many needs that we need to fill they can go anyway— Feel free to blast me

  • $19122620

    I am not too crazy about this mock. Partly because I am not as high as some on Allen, Bell (at least for a 2nd round pick), Lemonior. And that is three of our first four picks. I do like Thomas as one of the top four picks but if I were to like this mock those other picks would have to change. The position selection is not the issue so much as it is the player selection.

  • they should stay at 17 and draft a starter, we need quality , right now we are at , 17—48 and 79 first three rounds, I see a chance to get 3 very good players, and get them on the field, 4 through 7 we can get some quality picking at the 17 spot or near it in each round 4 through 7.

  • I know this is just a mock exercise but I really just can’t see them waiting until the 7th to address the Oline depth as glaring as it is. I do somewhat like what you have for position picks in the 3rd and the two 4ths though.

  • reg38

    A 2nd & 4th for the 17th pick? If you think that is enough, I have some swampland to sell you!!

  • Chris S

    Like most have said…the players are not too bad…but the trade is one of the most lopsided I’ve seen. The Bills would need to give up just about all their draft picks (or most of them) to make it happen…and/or picks from next year. A more likely trade could be someone towards the back of the 1st and picking up an additional 2nd and maybe later round pick in the process. But still as SteelersDepot said in the comments…none of us are trying to take away from the “exercise” you tried or anything.

  • Bradys_Dad

    I think and hope that IF Zac Dysert is available in Round 6 that we grab him. We need look beyond the here and now and plan for 2+ years in to the future.

  • Cody Younkin

    Sorry to be a hater, but you traded back and got really bad high-round picks.. Bell is garbage and is just like the other backs we have..Inefective. Allen is one of the worst WR options, and Philip Thomas will just give us a average saftey instead of he next great one. I’d rather have 4 great picks that can contribute, than 10 picks that are just training camp guys. Just my opinion

  • David OBIE!

    Trade down with the Vikings Steelers #17 = 950 trade value
    Vikings #25 = 174 +#83=175 + #120 = 54 = 949 trade value
    Mock Draft
    #25 Arthur Brow ,Kevin Minter (ILB)
    #48 Robert Woods , Aaron Dobson (WR)
    #79 Philip Thomas , Bacarri Rambo (SS)
    #83 Leveon Bell, Montee Ball (RB
    #115 John Simon, Chase Thomas (OLB)
    #120 D.J. Swearington, Duke Williams (FS)
    #150 Bryan Winters, Rick Wagner (OL)
    #186 Jake Stoneburner, Dion Sims (TE)
    #206 Kenjon Barner, Christine Michael (KR)
    #223 Matt Stankiewitch, Spencer Long ((OG/C)

  • David OBIE!

    sorry Arthur Brown
    please no Jarvis Jones – or quarterback

  • RW

    I really would dislike this draft. Bell isn’t a feature back and despite what everyone thinks, he’s not a zone-read back. We need a Clinton Portis-type back for that – i.e. someone with even an inkling of speed is necessary. Plus, Bell is Dwyer light. Allen is an okay pick, but trade back for a late first and a middle/early second. The 17th pick will end up being valuable for a team given that a great pass rusher is bound to fall, and a team will definitely want to grab him. I think the value really decreases after the third round, so a net gain of a fourth round pick is really a loss for us. Not to mention, your fourth round picks are players that either can’t hold the edge against the run (Lemonier) or can’t cover enough ground in pass coverage (Bostic) to ever start in this defense. I can’t stress enough how much I dislike Lemonier. The only player I semi-like in your mock is Phillip Thomas, and even him in the third round is a reach. I think Shamarko is a much better fit. Even Duke Williams would be better in our defense. But, I’d prefer to address Safety with an extra second round pick. Here’s a team that I’d love:

    1 – ILB – Alec Ogletree

    2a – FS – Matt Elam

    2b – WR –Robert Woods

    3a – RB – Andre Ellington

    3b – WR – Stedman Bailey

    5 – CB – Brandon McGee

    6 – OLB Brandon Jenkins

    7 – SS – Ray Ray Armstrong

    This is assuming we trade back in the first (to say, SF), grab their second round pick, and then trade our 4th and 6th for an extra 3rd to a team like Miami, who needs all the picks they can get.

  • David Edward

    I’ll help out here. Steelers pick @ 17 is worth 950 pts. Buffalo doesn’t have enough points with all of their remaining picks to make that trade. Their 2 and 3 would give them 725 and they’d have to throw in next year’s 3. I’d rather see the Steelers trade down but stay in top 30.

  • steeltown

    I like the Woods and Ellington picks and I like the late picks on Jenkins and Armstrong, but I think I’d go Will Davis instead of McGee

  • marko290

    somebody has celebrated 4/20 a little too much to make that deal. That would be a pathetic trade for the steelers.


  • RW

    That’d be fine. Davis is just as promising, if not more so. Just didn’t know if he’d be available in the 5th.

  • RW

    That’d be fantastic. Don’t know about either of the RBs (I prefer Ellington for zone blocking scheme), but the rest of those picks would be just fine. If Ogletree is available in the first you take him over either of the other two ILBs, though. I know of his character issues, but at some point you just take a shot (look at Burfict last year). Love the WRs. Strong Safeties I could take or leave, but Swearinger at 120 would be awesome. Done really like John Simon at all, but Chase Thomas would be a serviceable career backup only because he can play the run and is decent in pass pro. Like the OL picks towards the end and the TEs are both sleepers in my opinion. Don’t know anything about the last picks, but Christine Michael doesn’t seem like a natural KR to me… All in all pretty good, plus I love the extra picks through Minnesota.

  • RW

    Couldn’t agree more.

  • RW

    Someone will trade up for a falling pass rusher. Plus, the way that rookie contracts are structured in the first round gives a team way more incentive to go QB in the first (5 yr contract vs 4 yr contract). Given the extra year on the cheap, any team will take a potential high-priced player (QB, DE, OLB) early. So there should be a reasonable amount of teams to trade back with.

  • RW

    I get that same feeling – didnt get enough from Buffalo. There are plenty of other teams on the back end that will be willing to trade up to catch a falling prospect. Take their first and their 2nd or 3rd.

  • yerp

    This draft Sux bags dude

  • hergieburbur

    Love the Thomas pick, doubt he is still there in the 3rd when we pick.

  • lol, well said.

  • SteelSpine

    In normal years there indeed is a trade value chart so appreciate your adding some needed sanity (or at least trying to add sanity) to this article. And in normal years a team would indeed trade down from 17 into later in the 1st. Long ago Steelers traded down from 17 to 21, & what the Steelers received for it was the last pick in the 3rd round.

    But I hear the old “value chart” of each place in the draft doesn’t apply this year. For example gurus say there’s not much difference in the safeties projected in 3rd round & not-even much difference between those & the safety projected in middle of 1st round. Also something to do with lack of talent in the top QBs etc which teams give up the farm to trade up for. Since supposedly more teams want to do that trade down than trade up it’s a buyers’ market for teams below us, teams aren’t expected to offer the usual number of points.usual number of points. I wanna trade down into 2nd round to get an extra 2nd, but from what I hear trading down into the 2nd will only get us a 3rd round pick.

  • ken wallace

    Trade with ravens. They have 12 picks and have immediate needs. Get their 32, their 3 both 4s, both 5s

  • Dan

    I understand that there are a lot of situations that override the trade value chart, but that is not even close and would never be considered except in an extreme scenario. To give up #17, which is worth 950 points for #41 at 490 points and #105 at 84 points (total 574 points) would never happen. I just don’t see them that interested in Allen.

    Kiper has us picking TE Tyler Eifert. With us signing Spaeth, I didn’t think this is very likely, but it could make up for shortcomings in the WR dept. Anybody know if Haley has much history for two Tight End sets?