Sports Illustrated Draftnik Doug Farrar Has Steelers Picking Nix In First Mock Draft

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Another day and there’s yet another national media mock draft of the first round of the 2014 NFL Draft now out to pass along to you that closely resembles a few other recent ones when it comes to who the Pittsburgh Steelers are projected to select.

On Thursday, Doug Farrar of Sports Illustrated released his first version of a mock draft and he has the Steelers selecting Notre Dame nose tackle Louis Nix III with the 15th overall selection, just like Mel Kiper Jr. and Todd McShay of ESPN also projected in their latest versions.

Farrar writes:

Yes, cornerback is a sure need, and this team always seems to require more help on the offensive line. But Dick LeBeau’s defenses are built on a root hog up the middle who can soak up double teams and let everyone else fly around. Not only can Nix do that at 6-2 and 345 pounds, but also he can bull through those schemes arrayed against him to add to any team’s pressure concepts. Conditioning is a slight concern, but Nix would be around veterans who understand what it takes.

Farrar has two wide receivers, one cornerback and three tackles off the board by the time the Steelers pick rolls around in addition to three quarterbacks.

Farrar is one of my favorites to read when it comes to player profiles of which he will probable begin doing soon.

As mentioned previously, Nix to the Steelers seems to be a popular choice by the major media draftniks to start off this offseason and we’ll see if that trend continues following the scouting combine.

I am, I'm me. 40 something, retired and a life long Steelers fan.
  • Shannon Stephenson

    Well…I think this is the general consensus for our first pick and we should get use to seeing this quite a bit between now and draft day.

  • dkoy85

    I’m not good at evaluating talent in the trenches, however I do know Heyward is a damn good DE. I know many many many people on here severely dislike the notion of drafting Nix (I’m sure to get more than one thumbs down on my opinion) but I think this could be a good move for us to make. But ONLY if McLendon will be an upgrade over Hood on the other side.

    My question to Steelers Nation and people who know a hell of a lot more about the front 3 than I do is can McLendon be a dominant DE for the Steelers? In my mind I feel that what the FO feels the future at LB will be- Jones, Williams(TBD), Timmons, and Worilds- that making the Dline a force will not only improve the pressure from the line, but greatly impact the IMPACT the linebackers will have and that resonates into the secondary. Why not do what has made the Steelers great and turn the front 7 back into the Steel Curtain?

    I’ve felt for a while we need an upgrade over Hood. Whether that is by moving McLendon to DE or by drafting a DE in round 1, it needs to happen. I feel it is more of a need than most people think. We can find quality CB’s in rounds 2 and 3 as well as WR.

    This is my opinion and I’d love to hear everybodys opinion on the subject.

  • steeltown

    Your points are valid and I believe McLendon could play DE at a high level. The issue arises when you consider the scheme and packages that are infused in the Defense. It seems we hardly use the base 3-4 anymore and if that’s the case I don’t want to spend a 1st Rd selection on NT.. if the plan moving forward is to get back to playing more base than I wouldn’t mind the Nix selection, letting Hood walk and kick Mac out to DE

  • 243546

    Tough to comment on this one. Farrar didn’t provide a link to the player rankings he used for his mock. If he thinks Nix is a top 10 player, and BPA when the Steelers pick at 15, then I say nice job. On the other hand, if based on his big board, Nix is a reach, and there are higher graded players available who would be a good fit for the Steelers, then I say get a clue.

  • 243546

    I think Al Woods would be a better option at DE, than McLendon. One thing to consider would be playing McLendon and Woods in rotation. I hate to be this guy, but I’m going to make a Seattle comparison. The have good, not great players on their D-line. They are able to play with such intensity, because they are so deep across the line, and could always have fresh players on the field.

  • cp72

    Ok. Here’s my first swing at a mock this year. I am anticipating signing both Hood and Woods on the D-line

    1. CJ Mosley LB
    2. Kelvin Benjamin WR
    3. Pierre Desir CB
    4. Arthur Lynch TE
    4. Aaron Colvin CB
    5. Devin Kennard OLB
    6. Dri Archer KR/WR
    7. Vinnie Sunseri S

    Wanted to get a safety in earlier but couldn’t find a spot.

  • James Kling

    Rather see us go S in R4, but overall I’d love this. Getting a physical CB in Desir, and bringing some talent to the middle of the D with Mosley is nice. Colvin in R4 is a nice value pick, stockpiling for the future. IMO Benjamin will be gone by our R2, but if not that would be a superb value.

  • James Kling

    Can anyone really say Nix in R1 is a better value than a guy like Justin Ellis in R4? I just don’t see the dropoff being as great as that with some other positions.

  • cp72

    Yeah thought about Ahmad Black there.

  • RW

    I’m not sure I see a huge need if we’re going to keep running the hybrid fronts we have. Given the higher percentage with which we used the nickel and dime packages last year, my draft right now would be:

    1) Kelvin Benjamin – WR, FSU: Gives us the big body we’ve been looking for out wide and would help to take some pressure off of AB. Would not be the matchup nightmare that Ebron would be, but our more immediate need is a #2 receiver. Plus, he’d be very helpful in the red zone.

    2) Stanley Jean-Baptiste – CB, Nebraska: At 6’2, 214, Baptiste has great “measureables” for a CB in today’s NFL. The guy also catches almost everything he gets his hands on, which is something I’ve been pining for for a long time. He is a more than willing tackler. Some draft websites have him going in the 3-5 range, but I’d take him on Day 2 without hesitation.

    3) (Comp Pick) Pierre Desir – CB, Lindenwood: Another tall corner at 6’1 and seems to have the speed and hip movement to be a lock down corner with the right coaching. Adding a second cover corner to this defense would go a long way.

    4) Kenny Laidler – FS, Vanderbilt: He doesn’t seem to be a willing tackler in the run game, but has a nice pair of hands and would serve as an above average traditional FS. He’s 6’0 and 205, which gives us another tall DB, which would more than make up for Shamarko’s height.

    4b) (Comp Pick) Boseke Lokombo – OLB, Oregon: This is my favorite player in this year’s draft. He can hit, fly to the QB using an assortment of moves, and best of all – he can cover out in space. He brings a lot of energy to the field and I wouldn’t mind having him here. He’s projected a little later but, again, if I were the FO I would take him here to make sure I got him.

    5) Jeoffrey Pagan – 3-4DE, Alabama: I can’t tell whether (or why) this guy is under the radar, but he has a high motor and plays even bigger than he is (even though he’s 6’4 and 286). At times I saw him playing the nose position and playing it well (mostly on passing downs). I think of him as a JJ Watt with slightly less strength and a slightly higher motor (though he does not have the vertical of Watt).

    6) Max Bullough – ILB, Michigan State: He lacks the aggressiveness of some other LBs in this class, but always seems to be around the football. If nothing else, he is a solid leader that could make an impact on special teams.

  • Kenneth Wilt

    I think here are my things about Nix.

    First, if you look at the NFL and our team right now as we stand, can Nix play more than 25 plays a game for us. If you look at our final game of the year we had 66 defensive snaps, if that averages out to 60 plays a game against our D, and Nix only plays 25 of that 60….is he still worth a first round pick? That is question #1. We know he isn’t an every down player. Are we going to use a #1 pick on a 2-down guy….

    Second, if we don’t take him in Round #1….who does? Who are the other teams in round one and the first 14 picks of round 2 who would take him? Do teams see him being able to play a 4-3 D or is he strictly a NT? This I want to know because value in the draft is built on more than just ability, it is built on demand. I may be the best dang kicker and able to punt the ball 60 yards, do kickoffs and hit 60 yard FGs, but unless there is demand for me…I am not going to get drafted early….period. Dave, can you maybe provide some analysis for us on where Nix could possible land as a target and who might be willing to take him in the first 45 or so picks in the draft?

  • chris ward

    I just can’t see the Steelers taking a NT in the first round. Think there is more pressing needs in the secondary or a chance to get a big WR in the first round.

  • Spencer Krick

    This. So much this.

  • Steelmill 74

    #1 problem in 2013 was are 21st ranked run defense. We need a STUD NT and I think he would fit in great. McClendon did a good job but is to small, move him outside. Take a shot. Before his 2013 injury he was a projected top 5 pick.

  • Patrick Reid

    %100 Steeltown!!!

  • grw1960

    Tell me it is Not so

  • SFIC

    Labelling Nix as a stud NT is misdirected. Sure, he was a stud against weak competition, but against better OLinemen he had a tough time, even against single coverage. We could pick up McCullers or Ellis in 4 (or later) who could service as well. Why waste our 1st pick on a Terrence Cody? Makes no sense.

  • SFIC

    Thankfully Doug Farrar is not an NFL scout

  • Bill Molinaro

    The Steelers played a morphed defense last season because they did not have the personnel to play the 3-4 as it’s supposed to work. The D-Lines first priority is tie up the O-Line and the most important element to do that is the nose tackle. Also, the 3-4 requires a really good set of linebackers and they did not have that in 2013. So who should they draft? The best player who most fits the Steelers mode I believe, is one who plays smash mouth football on offense or defense. Ever since I heard Tomlin’s lame line about the Lombardi trophies in response to Willie Parker’s complaint about deviating from traditional Steeler football, I’ve wondered what Tomlin’s vision of Steeler football is. It seems the team has no identity. Perhaps a look at how Seattle defense dominated a team with one of the best offenses in history, will open the eyes of Tomlin/Colbert/Rooney! In the end my philosophy on the draft is to never pick for position in the early rounds if you’re more than three players away what you define as the best player left on the board. The goal should be to get the best player available regardless of position.

  • Alexander Sebastian Heath

    …why is he the favorite?? He’s a 3rd round talent-wise. Only different ge got with Justin Ellis and Ryan Carrethers is he plays for a big school… even last year when the line was arguably dominating; Kapoor Lewis-Moore was the best player and he was a 7th round pick last year (because of a torn ACL he tore in BCS Champion but talent-wise he’s a 4th round) so I’m almost assured Steelers don’t want him in first 3 rounds.

  • Alexander Sebastian Heath

    love Desir, would have to get him in 2nd though

  • Callentown

    In watching the playoffs, and specifically, the Broncos, Seahawks and 49ers, their interior DL was a big force in winning games and shutting down the other team’s Offense.

    I think we the fans are underestimating the use of the NT.

  • James Kling

    Bingo.

  • StarSpangledSteeler

    Thank you. This is the point everyone is missing. Of course we could use a franchise 3-4 NT. But is Nix that QUALITY of talent?

    I believe the answer is no. When Notre Dame played Alabama in the BCS championship two years, Nix was thrown all over the field. Easily moved. Sometimes with just a single blocker. That is the caliber of OL he will face in the NFL.

    A lot of draftniks (and people on this site) see the numbers 6’3″ 330 pounds and instantly think Casey Hampton type nose tackle. Louis Nix is FAR from Hampton skill wise (in my opinion).

  • steeltown

    Its not a matter of us as fans underestimating the use of NT, it could be more a matter of the coaching staff underusing the position.. Will Allen had more snaps on defense than McLendon this past season, that says it all

  • James Kling

    Not sure I understand where you’re going. All three of those teams run a 4-3, so they have two DTs, not just one guy. Of course they’ll get more push from the interior. So how does that sell the necessity of a 3-4 NT? Or are you suggesting we move to a 4-3?

  • Lucus Rodriguez

    Id rather have them take McCullers in the 3rd round. But I wouldn’t mind this pick.

  • Lucus Rodriguez

    Benjamin wont be there in the 2nd. Desir will end up being an early 2nd round pick by the draft

  • StarSpangledSteeler

    Then let’s draft a QB?

    Seriously though. When you say “best” player available, what exactly do you mean? Best player now? Or best potential player in two years?

    JJ Watt slipped to #11. He wasn’t the BPA because he had some flaws. But he quickly corrected them.

    What if the BPA is an OLB? And we draft him and he sits on the bench for 3 years (like Jason Worilds did)?

    Isn’t the best player the one who can provide you with the most return on your investment? That might be a pass catching red zone threat. Regardless of a slightly lower ranking, he produces TDs.

    What if all of the players are “nearly” the same talent? And the BPA is difficult to determine. Because that’s what it’s shaping up like this year.

    Last year, the Steelers went with the best player available on their board (Jarvis Jones) which as of right looks like possibly a mediocre choice.

    I say draft an impact player that will produce in our system immediately.

  • blackandgoldBullion

    Good work there. Interesting and close to my sentiments about going with almost all D. I am not crazy about Desir, but I just looked up Lokumbo (sorry, but I don;t watch much college ball). I think that OLB could be spectacular. Lokumbo looks like he could easily build muscle and not lose much speed, so he absolutely has the potential there. Aslso, if the Steelers chose to only use on a part-time basis, he could come in on passing downs because he cwertainly can cover TE’s but also he has some very quick rush moves.

    On top of that he seems very intelligent for his age, and a Canadian to boot. Here’s hoping he ends up in Black and Gold.

    Thanks for sharing that.

  • Johnny Loose

    Every year it seems like these “draft experts” have Pittsburgh reaching for/filling a need in the first. General consensus every year is that Pittsburgh doesn’t go for value in round one. For the last few years, at least, we’re always projected to take a guy in the first because he’s pretty good and we need to fill that position. I hardly ever see a mock draft where someone falls to us and we end up with a great pick, which is what happens almost every year.

  • blackandgoldBullion

    McCullers possibly because he might end up being just as good as Nix. Nix in round 1? No, thank you.

  • AndyR34

    Nice out-of-the-box thinking! Some might be a bit of a stretch…but if these are players the FO wants, I say go get them!

  • Bill Molinaro

    As I said, by best player I mean the one for which you have the highest rating, without consideration of positional needs.
    With respect to your Jason Worilds comment: No matter how you draft, my way or any other way, you will always have failures and if your lucky, present surprises.
    Steelers drafted Jarvis Jones because they needed a replacement for Harrison. They did not draft the best player, they drafted by position – outside linebacker. Jarvis was however, a fairly high rated player and would meet my criteria.
    If you know the secret formula for determining how to determine a players impact before he ever plays a down, you shouldn’t be blogging, you should be making millions as a draft consultant.
    If you read my comment carefully you’ll see it does allow a small amount of latitude (3 picks away).

  • dkoy85

    I agree. Do you think it could be the lack of personnel that leads to less use of a NT? Like McLendon not being a “true” NT? Maybe they were waiting for a NT to develop but one never did so they adjusted accordingly. What are your thoughts?

  • steeltown

    I think there’s a couple factors at play, one is Teams were attacking our aging secondary this past year so we played a lot of nickel and dime, also I think they were finding ways to get Worilds, Woodley and Jarvis on the field at the same time with two down linemen… McLendon did rather well against the run, for the most part, it was actually when he wasn’t on field that we struggled in that area

  • Steelmill 74

    He’s not Cody. Drafting is always risky. I just feel like the risk versus reward here is worth it. Are last 4th round NT didn’t work out all that well.(Ta’amu)

  • SumnerYoung

    I like this draft and your analysis. Personally, I would prefer Marquise Lee over Benjamin at 1.15, but still very solid. I guess for a 7th round pick you could draft the best remaining TE on the board.

  • Axe Skot

    I like this, too, but I don’t understand your reasoning in the first when you say “Would not be the matchup nightmare that Ebron would be, but our more immediate need is a #2 receiver.” I think Cotchery will be back, and Wheaton is to be determined, though he looks to have much potential. If Ebron is on the field, he can be your #2 receiver out of certain formations. I like the idea of AB, Heath, Ebron, Bell, Will Johnson on the field where you can as easily pass as run out of the no huddle and the defense would have to go pretty vanilla. New England showed how dangerous an offense can be with two viable pass-catching tight ends. I just see Ebron as being a more versatile big receiver.

  • blackandgoldBullion

    I don’t buy the Ta’Amu argument. He went to the Cards because the Steelers were no longer willing to take a chance that he loses his mind again. What did he do there? He is starting on a team that has a great defense and getting better.

  • blackandgoldBullion

    I like that you threw Aaron Colvin in there. Great teams can take these chances, like SF taking that RB last year. Most teams don’t have the patience to make a pick like that. The Steelers used to make picks like that.

  • blackandgoldBullion

    Ebron might end up being so scary good. Potential is incredible. Good point.

  • Sdale

    I would love this draft. I really like Jean-Baptiste for the reasons you stated and I think we will have to take him by R2 or he will be gone. Ebron or Benjamin in R1 would have similar impact, so either one. All the other picks would satisfy both value and need.

  • James Kling

    Cards run a 4-3. I said from the get go that he looked like a 4-3 DT, no way he’d work out in the 3-4. Had the workout strength, but the film I saw on him didn’t show a Hampton in waiting. Just not a fit here.

  • Steelmill 74

    Ta’amu only started by default because Dan Williams got hurt. He was a dud in the Steeler system.

  • Dan

    Would be more interesting if mock authors would pay more attention to the development of players on the teams and their depth, rather than end of year stats and rankings, and especially what other mocks say. Certainly there is a strong case to be made for Nix, but it seems like they just slot what other people write.

  • blackandgoldBullion

    Thanks, that’s an excellent point. But you never know. Perhaps if he got a chance to play, he might have been fine. I guess the coaches must have figured there was no chance.

  • joed32

    He missed 2 games with an ankle sprain and the Steelers play a lot of nickel formations which takes the NT off the field. NT is a 2 down position in today’s NFL. Also the Broncos, Seahawks, and 49ers all play a 4-3 defense

  • Callentown

    I’m suggesting that while we all postulate over the use of more DB’s, during the playoff run, it was the interior defensive line that was the cause of shutting down defenses, more so than having multiple DB’s on the field.

    3-4/4-3, does not matter. Those interior Defensive lineman did not come off the field much.

  • Callentown

    Seems to me that the defense, much like the offense, was covering weaknesses and may not have used the same approach if they were getting the results up front that we hope for.

  • Callentown

    “NT is a 2 down position in today’s NFL”.

    Maybe on the Steelers, but not all teams took the NT off of the field as often. The Steelers have always taken the approach of playing the best players vs position need.

  • Callentown

    I’ve read over and over that the league has changed and it’s more of a passing league and that the NT only plays 2 downs.

    When you watched the playoffs – when it counts most, 4-3/3-4, you saw the interior D-line take over on the strong defenses.

    The NT IS an important position, even though fans don’t thinks so. This was my point.

  • RyanW

    Personally I think the reason you didnt see the 3-4 lineup as much this season is because they had to use a lot of nickel and dime packages to help the linebackers and secondary our due to the injuries. Also Mclendon isnt the right type of NT for our defense he seems to want to preassure thr qb more and not hog up 2 lineman like Hampton did.

  • RW

    I was split on Ebron and Benjamin for a variety of reasons. I honestly wouldn’t mind having either, but I went with Benjamin because Ebron isn’t a truly great run blocking TE, and I’m not sure he would figure into Todd Haley’s plans as much as a #2 TE. Honestly, I think Ebron might end up being better than Benjamin. Like I said, flip a coin as far as I’m concerned.

  • RW

    No problem. Like I said, my favorite player. Hope we grab him.

  • steeltown

    I agree with this, its obviously a result of subpackages

  • steeltown

    I can agree with that

  • steeltown

    I mostly agree, I personally wish we still had Ta’amu on roster, we wouldn’t be having this conversation because we would have our big body in the middle. With him, Heyward, McLendon, Woods/Hood, Arnfelt etc you could play all kinds different lines keeping legs fresh

  • SFIC

    Cody was projected as a mid to high-mid rd1 pick just like Nix. Sure their styles and frames are different. Cody has the quickest feet on a big man I’ve probably ever seen. Still, it’s not enough.

  • Shelob9

    Here is my question, did the Steelers choose to move to smaller NTs like McLendon and Woods or were they forced to beacuse there was no one in a Casey Hampton’s size with his skills?

  • SFIC

    You’ve got it right.

  • Milliken Steeler

    He was not a dud in the Steeler System. In fact he worked out with Cam all off season and came in stronger, quicker and lighter. He definitely outperformed fang.

    He is gone because the Steelers thought they had a ticking time bomb and for no other reason.

  • Reg Sayhitodabadguy Hunt

    I agree i like your reasoning with your picks rw but i would hope we take ebron or another top tier TE instead of wr in the first if they looking for a wr they do their best work drafting later rds

  • RedCarpetDefense

    I’ll reserve my opinion of Nix till I see him at the combine. But most of what he’s done this past season isn’t impressive he’s missed too many games due to injury, struggles with his weight, and has a questionable work ethic. I’d be more inclined to take Hageman to play DE and maybe see what he’s got at NT or Aaron Donald mainly for his results on the field this past season as well as his pass rush ability leaving McClendon at NT. Nix seems to be too much risk outweighing a limited reward.

  • bonairsfavoriteson

    I always try to view tapes where ever I can of a player against the best teams they might have played against , if you really look closely at his tape of the national championship game vs. Bama, forget it, if you look closely at his tape against Michigan this past season, for the most part, he was blocked well by a center , guard from the wolverines , neither of whom will be drafted, he did show some movement laterally but always a little too late just to arrive after the play was made and did get some but little pressure inside against one of the worse qbs in college ball last season. I think we can do a lot better in round one, maybe take a shot if he is there in second round, .

  • Callentown

    I guess I thought Ta’amu didn’t turn out to be what the team had hoped. Or do you think it was something else?

  • Steelmill 74

    He may have worked out hard but any of his on the field time was a dud+character issues.

  • Derick L Young

    Say they do draft Nix, then what with Al Woods and or Steve McLendon?

  • ATL96STEELER

    On paper…Farrar is spot on in terms of the LeBeau system and the need for a NT.

    My concern with picking Nix @ 15…in the biggest game of the season/career…Nix was a complete non factor playing against AL…guys that were NFL caliber players. Bama ran it right up the gut a lot which means Nix was not even holding his ground much less dominating and getting push.

    With his injury history and the performance in that game I don’t see him being much more than a 1 down player this season, and probably never more than that.

    Bottom of the 1st round on team like NE…Nix makes more sense imo.

  • ATL96STEELER

    IMO the Steelers were moving to more of a pass 1st type team once Cowher left and Bruce Arians was promoted to OC. We saw a few position coach changes on OFC …I don’t think any changes were made on the DEF staff at all aside from moving coach Mitchell to asst. HC.

    The point I’m making here is being such a young HC I don’t think Tomlin made those decisions, certainly not on his own.

    Cowher left in part because of family as we all know, but personnel power played a part as well. I get the sense the 1st couple of drafts Tomlin did not have the kind of input that Cowher did…from what I’ve seen…last year was the most visible Tomlin has been in terms of draft preparation.

  • ATL96STEELER

    On the draft strategy…I agree 100% for the 1st round…BPA works most of the time unless you need a QB…you might have to leave a better player on the board if the QB is the 2nd or even 3rd rated prospect.

    Not every draft produces a great crop if you will…looking back to Hood’s draft year, I didn’t find a lot of 1st rd picks behind him that are big demand FAs this year.

    This year the Steelers are in a unique position to get a high rated player at a position of need and it could be any of 4 positions.

  • steeltown

    I think its something else.

  • Aaron Green

    Tomlin is a tampa cover 2 disciple so i really believe that if there is a cornee or safety who they grade higher than Nix then they will go with secondary in the 1st round. Dont be surprised if worildds (or woodley) is gone and they draft LB in first three rounds either

  • Fivesevenzero Sports-Radio

    Man oh man i would love Marquise Lee or Darqueze Dennard to drop to us!!!! Lee will help explode this offense.. Dennard can really help the secondary out with Ike on his way out… My two favorites.. IF both are gone i would like Mosley although im still Optimistic about Spence. So Nix can work if we move McLendon to DE and let Nix clog the middle. If we bench McLendon for WHATEVER reason i will be upset. Him and Heyward are monsters