With the 2014 NFL Scouting Combine now behind us, it is now time for my second 2014 Pittsburgh Steelers mock draft, or as I like to call them, educated guesses to inspire good draft talk about players.
I usually do about 5 or 6 mocks prior to the actual NFL draft taking place and you can find the links to all of those from last year in this final mock draft post from 2013. Here is my first mock after the 2014 Senior Bowl from a few weeks ago in case you missed it.
The Steelers will likely receive two compensatory draft picks this year and while one should be a third-round selection for the loss of Mike Wallace, the other should be either a fourth or fifth round selection for the loss of Keenan Lewis. My gut tells me that it will be a fifth-round selection, but until we know for sure, I will assume that it will be a fourth round selection. Why? Because it best fits this mock. lol
************** 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 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 or a troll. **************
Round 1 – ILB C.J. Mosley – Alabama
|6020||234||33 1/8||10 3/4||DNP||DNP||DNP||DNP||DNP||DNP||35||9’10″||4.40||DNP||7.30|
I am sure several of you will be disappointed that I haven’t changed my first overall pick from my post Senior Bowl mock, but I really have no reason to. I do acknowledge, however, that if Mike Evans, Justin Gilbert or Darqueze Dennard are still on the board when the Steelers pick, that they will likely have quite the conversion in the war-room.
While Lawrence Timmons certainly shows no signs of slowing down, it would be brutal if he were to go down for an extended amount of time in 2014. If the organization, however, believes that Sean Spence can pick up right where he left off before suffering the knee injury in the preseason finale of his rookie season, then selecting Mosley wouldn’t be the wisest choice from a “positional need” standpoint. If they don’t believe that Spence will make it back, at least Mosley could give them a fighting chance inside should something happen to Timmons.
While he is likely best suited to play the weak-side position inside, Mosley could possibly serve as a nickel backer alongside Timmons at some point during his rookie season. This of course assumes that Vince Williams would remain a liability in pass coverage in 2014. At the very worst, Mosley could serve as a special teams player during his rookie season and be groomed to replace Timmons in a few more seasons.
|C.J. Mosley – Alabama||Pass Int Ret||Tackles||Tackles For Loss||Sacks|
Round 2 – WR Davante Adams – Fresno State
|6007||212||32 5/8||9||4.50||4.54||4.56||1.59||1.53||14||39 1/2||10’3″||4.30||DNP||6.82|
In a perfect world and draft, Virginia Tech cornerback Kyle Fuller would fall to the Steelers in the second round, but I think as of right now we all would be shocked if that happened. While the Steelers appear to be “intent” on drafting a “tall” wide receiver early in the draft, you have to wonder if Adams would be tall enough.
While he measured in at the combine at just under 6’1″, Adams plays much taller. His 39.5″ vertical shows his excellent leaping ability and his 32 5/8″ arms round out a catching radius that a wide receiver an inch or two taller would often have. Because he doesn’t have blazing speed, it might be easy to say that Adams is a poor man’s version of Sammy Watkins. Like Watkins, Adams caught quite few screen passes during his two years as a starter and this helped him register an astounding 233 receptions for 3,030 yards during that span.
One thing that sets Adams apart from other receivers, however, is his ability to produce in the red zone. 17 of his 38 career touchdowns came inside the red zone as he is a mismatch in that area when guarded one-on-one. In addition, despite being timed at 4.56 in the 40-yard dash at the combine, Adams turned in 25 explosive plays of 20 yards or more last season with nine of those good for 40 yards or more.
While Adams will need his route running and blocking refined at the next level, he should be able to contribute in some capacity as a rookie, especially inside the red zone.
|Davante Adams - Fresno State||Rushing||Receiving||Punt Ret|
Round 3 (Comp) – CB Pierre Desir – Lindenwood
Desir is another carryover from my first mock and I believe he helped cement his status as a third or fourth round cornerback during the combine. While not blazing fast, he has prototypical size to play at the next level. Desir is raw with his technique, but I do like his ability to stay square in press coverage and his ability to use those long arms of his off of the line. He’s probably a better zone coverage cornerback than anything else and is also a willing tackler against the run. That area of his game, however, will need some work.
The fact that Desir never played against elite competition in college will need to be sorted through and that could be the difference between where he is ultimately drafted. He appears to be a moldable piece of clay, however, and as evidenced by Cortez Allen, the Steelers seem to like those types.
|Pierre Desir – Lindenwood||Pass Int Ret||Tackles||Tackles For Loss|
Round 4 – FS Terrence Brooks – Florida State
I didn’t know much about Brooks until the combine, but after watching his tape and doing extensive research on him, there’s not a lot not to like about him. A versatile safety-type, Brooks seamlessly converted from cornerback to safety during his time at Florida State. He turned eyes at the combine by running by running a 4.42 40-yard dash and posting a 38″ vertical jump.
Brooks can play in the box, in the slot or deep centerfield and because he is jack of all trades, but a master of none of them, that is why I think he has a chance to drop to the third or fourth round. He is aggressive against the run, athletic and understands angles well.
While he is a bit undersized at just under 5’11″, he plays like a 6 foot safety. Against smaller slot receivers, he should be fine if asked to cover them off the line, but the larger tight ends, of course, could create problems for him. He has a solid character, has a strong football IQ and is a natural leader and communicator. The fact that he played for a top-notch college program will go a long way with several teams.
|Terrence Brooks – FSU||Pass Int Ret||Tackles||Tackles For Loss|
Round 4 (Comp) – CB Phillip Gaines – Rice
|6003||193||31 7/8||9 5/8||4.34||4.34||4.38||N/A||N/A||15||36.5||10’2″||4.04||DNP||6.62|
It probably would be wise for the Steelers to double dip at the cornerback position this year much like they did in 2011. Gaines is a size and speed prospect that certainly helped himself at the combine with a fast 40-yard dash time.
At just over 6’0″, Gaines set a school career record at Rice by breaking up 38 passes in his career and he earned first-team, All C-USA honors from league coaches for second consecutive year in 2013 for his play. Like Desir, Gaines is very raw, but he has good ball skills and is effective at jamming wide receivers off of the line and is always working hard to not give free outside releases. His tackling needs a lot of work, but he’s not afraid of contact and works at fighting through blocks.
Will he fall to the Steelers late in the fourth so they can potentially take him with a compensatory pick? It’s hard to say. I’ve seen him ranked as high as a third round prospect and as low as a seventh rounder.
|Phillip Gaines – Rice||Pass Int Ret||Tackles||Tackles For Loss|
Round 5 – OLB Shaquil Barrett – Colorado State
Regardless of what happens during the offseason with Jason Worilds and LaMarr Woodley, the Steelers absolutely have to keep the outside linebacker pipeline filled with prospects. New defensive assistant and former linebacker Joey Porter knows all about Barrett, the 2013 Mountain West Defensive Player of the Year, as he coached him as a graduate assistant just last season. That coaching resulting in Barrett having 12 sacks in 2013 and he set a Mountain West record with 20.5 tackles for loss. If that wasn’t enough, Barrett was also a force on special teams, having blocked three kicks.
Barrett played well against Alabama and while he didn’t take over the game, he did show that he could play against a top-rated left tackle. He was not invited to the combine, so you can bet his Pro Day numbers and workout will be carefully scrutinized. The Steelers could do worse for a later round outside linebacker prospect.
|Shaquil Barrett – Colorado State||Pass Int Ret||Tackles||Tackles For Loss||Sacks|
Round 6 – RB James White – Wisconsin
|5091||204||29 1/4||8 1/4||4.52||4.53||4.57||1.57||N/A||23||32||9’6″||4.20||DNP||7.05|
Being as I haven’t dug too deep into the running back prospects just yet, I will carry over White from my previous mock. Below is what I wrote about him after the Senior Bowl.
There’s a chance the Steelers will draft a change of pace back late in the draft this year if they don’t wind up re-signing LaRod Stephens-Howling. If they don’t, White could fit the bill.
While he’ll never be an every-down back at the NFL level, White should be able to function as player that can give a team 8-10 touches a game. In 2013, he showed that he can catch the ball out of the backfield by logging 39 catches for 300 yards. He finished his career at Wisconsin with a 6.2 yards per carry average on 643 attempts and 14 of those carries went for 20 yards or more. 10 of White’s 13 touchdowns came inside the red zone with 7 of those coming from inside the opposition’s 10 yard-line.
Like most undersized backs entering the NFL, White will really have to improve his pass protection.
|James White – Wisconsin||Rushing||Receiving||KO Ret|
Round 7 – FB/HB/TE – Trey Millard – Oklahoma
If not for a knee injury, Millard would likely be a mid-round draft pick in May, but being as he will likely be hard pressed to be ready for the start of the season, he will more than likely drop all the way down to the last round with an outside shot of going undrafted.
Millard, who can line up as a fullback, h-back, or even as an in-line tight end, carried the football 98 times for 538 yards at Oklahoma. He also caught another 70 balls for 677 yards and scored a total of 13 touchdowns during is college career. He is an above average lead blocker and a very solid special teams player.
Millard reminds you of a rich man’s David Johnson with his style of play and while he might be forced to miss his rookie season because of a knee injury, he could surely battle for a roster spot in 2015 and possibly be an upgrade over Will Johnson, depending on how he plays in 2014.
If he does go undrafted, the Steelers should consider signing him as a free agent.
|Trey Millard – Oklahoma||Rushing||Receiving||KO Ret|