Categorized | 2014 Draft, Article, Prediction

2014 Steelers Mock Draft – Alex Kozora Version 2.0


By Alex Kozora

With free agency near its end and more players researched, the draft becomes slightly clearer. A second crack at a mock. Needless to say, still very fluid at this point. Trades aren’t projected in this mock. If you missed it, my first mock draft.

Now if you excuse me, I’m going to put on my riot gear and shield myself from the comments.

Round One: Stephon Tuitt/DE Notre Dame

As upsetting as it is to take another defensive end after selecting Ziggy Hood in 2009 and Cameron Heyward in 2011, there’s a big hole at five tech. And past selections shouldn’t dictate future ones.

Admittedly, 15 is optimistic for Tuitt. Best case, and though this has become cliché, is to trade down. Should a quarterback fall, and there’s a real possibility of that happening, the Steelers could have the opportunity to move down.

He’s comparable to Heyward in size and scouting report. Heyward weighed in at the Combine at 6’5 294 with 34 1/4 inch arms. Tuitt goes 6’5 305 and 34 3/4.

Tuitt doesn’t just take on blocks in the run game. He’s a fantastic athlete that can collapse the pocket and get to the quarterback. The role of a defensive end has shifted from that plugger to guys that can move and get pressure. Saw that with Heyward and you’ll see it with Tuitt. But he has the strength to hold the point of attack against the run. Just 21 and a hernia injury slowed him down last season. His 2013 tape isn’t even a true indication of how good he can be. He’s far from the ceiling.

Cam Thomas isn’t the answer at defensive end. Even though Kevin Colbert has stated Thomas was brought on to play there, he shouldn’t see significant playing time. Tuitt may not start Day One but can give the team two pass rushing ends in sub-packages on 3rd down.

If we’re going to continue to speak of the importance of a strong front seven, defensive end must be addressed.

Bio: http://www.und.com/sports/m-footbl/mtt/stephon_tuitt_768137.html

Round Two: Davante Adams/WR Fresno St

On the other hand, getting Adams here would involve a little bit of fortune. But like David DeCastro and even Limas Sweed, players inevitably fall.

No, he’s not 6’5. He doesn’t have to be. With a 39.5 vertical and a large catch radius, he plays big. And quick. Incredible burst and very little stop-start time. Soft hands who is capable of high-pointing the football and a natural separator on his routes. Racked up ludicrious numbers in just two years. 24 TDs in 2013, eight more than the next closest in Division One. Another player that’s only 21 and will improve exponentially. Scouting report is full of positives with the negatives minor by comparison.

It’s a difficult transition for most receivers but if Lance Moore is locked in as the slot receiver, it’s not unthinkable Adams could overtake Markus Wheaton as the #2 receiver. Wheaton did show progression in his rookie year but Adams is talented enough to compete. And that’s never a bad thing.

Should Adams be off the board, Vanderbilt’s Jordan Matthews is a solid consolation prize.

Bio: http://www.gobulldogs.com/sports/m-footbl/mtt/davante_adams_770935.html

Round Three (Comp): Pierre Desir/CB Lindenwood

Sticking with the same pick here as my last mock. Don’t think the Steelers will take a cornerback early because of a lack of precedent (only three corners in the first round since 1979) and a lack of value on the position. Team doesn’t ask for ballhawks. Just sure tackles who are physical and willing to support the run.

With the top three corners established, and really four counting Shamarko Thomas, the team can afford to wait until Day Three and snag a developmental prospect. Desir has good size and ideally, can eventually be paired with the 6’1 Cortez Allen.

It is rare for the Steelers’ to draft players below the FBS level, however. Picking Desir would be going against the grain.

As an aside, if Chris Borland should fall to pick 97, the Steelers should snag him in a heartbeat. More I learn about him, the more enamored I become. Quintessential Steeler. Just couldn’t find a place to fit him in this mock.

Bio: http://www.lindenwoodlions.com/roster.aspx?rp_id=6083

Round Four: Lache Seastrunk/RB Baylor

Reading the tea leaves with some of the following picks. Pittsburgh recently worked out Seastrunk as one of their 30 allotted private workouts. Certainly not a say-all, end-all but it shows interest.

Even with the LeGarrette Blount signing, there isn’t much depth. Alvester Alexander and Tauren Poole are the only other backs on the roster, each signing future contracts. Neither is likely to break camp with the 53.

This is a weak running back class that might not see the first running back off the board until Day Three. I haven’t gotten to watching many running backs yet but I like Seastrunk’s makeup. Ran in the low 4.5’s at the Combine and showed explosiveness with a position best 41.5 inch vertical.

Averaged over 7.5 yards per carry in his two year career with 19 career touchdowns. Big issue with him is like Boston College’s Andre Williams, did not catch a pass in 2013. Probably not a Day One ready type of back. But with Bell and Blount, he doesn’t have to be.

Bio: http://www.baylorbears.com/sports/m-footbl/mtt/lache_seastrunk_772741.html

Round Five: Loucheiz Purifoy/CB Florida

The team sent Carnell Lake to Florida’s Pro Day to watch the Gators’ trio of cornerbacks. Jaylen Watkins will be long gone by this point and Marcus Roberson is too injury-prone and way too raw to be selected here. Purifoy is also fairly green but has started 19 games seeing action in 18 others.

Thing to like most about him is his versatility.  Was never the main return man at Florida but has reps returning kicks and punts. Blocked a punt and field goal in 2012. Racked up 22 tackles on special teams in 2011.

At this point, with a potential starting cornerback already selected, you can look for someone who projects as a #3-#4 corner and core special teamer with upside. At best, you find a diamond. At worst, you have an asset who can wear multiple hats on special teams.

Twice under Mike Tomlin has the team taken two cornerbacks in the mid-rounds. Doubling-down would not be a shock at a position where extra bodies are not only welcomed but really required.

Bio: http://www.gatorzone.com/football/bios.php?year=2012&player_id=311

Round Five: Shaquil Barrett/OLB Colorado

Arthur Moats will get a crack at outside linebacker first but the depth there isn’t particularly promising. Frankly, it’ll be a shock to see Chris Carter make the team out of camp and if he does, it’ll only be because of his special team’s value.

Barrett was highlighted by Dave back in February and came away impressed. Statistically, he checks out. Twelve sacks in 2013 tied for 5th in the FBS. He also blocked three kicks, forced four fumbles, and had an interception.

In the scouting report, Barrett flashed against top quality competition like Alabama. With his connection to Joey Porter, Barrett’s transition and comfort level will be smoother. Worth a flier. Guy that plays better on tape than the workout numbers suggest.

Bio: http://www.csurams.com/sports/m-footbl/mtt/shaquil_barrett_756903.html

Round Six: Justin Ellis/NT Louisiana Tech

I’ve been a proponent of Steve McLendon and don’t question him being an asset as the starting noe tackle. But there’s no denying Ellis has the “prototypical” size at 6’1/4 331 (as of his Pro Day).

With a lot of needs addressed, a luxury like a third string nose tackle opens up. Even for a big man, recorded 48 tackles and 5.5 tackles for a loss his senior year. Tells you he did more than just occupy space.

With how great of a coach John Mitchell is, the more projects you can give him to mold, the better.

Bio: http://www.latechsports.com/sports/m-footbl/mtt/justin_ellis_401352.html

Round Six: John Urschel/OG Penn State

Guard isn’t a need with Ramon Foster and David DeCastro with the Guy Whimper signing providing veteran depth. But it wouldn’t be a Mike Tomlin draft without selecting an offensive lineman. He’s taken at least one in all but one draft (2013).

Urschel is similar to Kelvin Beachum in that they’re both undersized. But what they lose in brawn they make up for in brains.

At just 22, he’s already graduated with a degree in math, earned a master’s degree in the same field, and is working on getting his second masters in math education. His GPA is 4.0.

He’s been a two time, First Team All-Big Ten member. He’s taught a math class to undergraduates three days a week in the spring of 2013.

He’s started 25 career games at guard. He’s had a paper published entitled, “Instabilities of the Sun-Jupiter-Asteroid Three Body Problem.”

You get the idea.

In the midst of all the ugly locker room stories, a story like Urschel’s is refreshing. That doesn’t automatically translate into NFL ability. But it makes me want to find out. A guy I’m going to do more research on.

Bio: http://www.gopsusports.com/sports/m-footbl/mtt/john_urschel_467128.html

Round Seven: Roy Finch/RB Oklahoma

A fun flier. Just 5’7 180, he’s a tiny ball of speed and explosion. Don’t see too many guys that can cut as quickly as he can. Watched him in the NFLPA Bowl Game as he ran for 60 yards and returned a kickoff for 51. Not an every down back by any means but a player you can get creative with.

After a promising freshman campaign, questions about his work ethic dropped him down the depth chart and made playing time hard to come by. In 2012, he only received seven carries.

But if his head is right, and the uptick in carries from his junior to senior year would indicate that, he could have a more promising NFL career than college.

Going to offer value as a runner in space, catching out of the backfield or in the slot, and in the return game. Type of players you want to take late. The more hats someone can wear, the better the chances they’ll earn a helmet.

Bio: http://www.soonersports.com/ViewArticle.dbml?DB_OEM_ID=31000&ATCLID=208409606

UDFAs

Just a quick list of players that may not get drafted but still worth a look.

Jamie Meder/NT Ashland – Small school but uber-strength and understands leverage. Also played well in the NFLPA game and it translates to the tape I watched. Played the five tech in Ashland’s 34.

Jason Hendricks/S Pittsburgh – Local kid who showed great ball skills his junior season. Picked off six passes. But just one interception his senior year and a 4.81 40 at his Pro Day leaves him off the draft board.

Brandon McCladdie/CB Citadel – Just the tea leaves here. Played with Cortez Allen early in his career. Similar size at a listed 6’1 200. 36 career starts. Two-year team captain.

Jerick McKinnon/RB Georgia Southern – I’d be surprised if he was not drafted. But as a small school kid who played QB in a triple option, maybe he falls through the cracks. In love with his triangle numbers. 209 pounds, ran a 4.41 with a 1.46 ten yard split, jumped 40.5 inches in the vertical and 11 in the broad.

Glenn Carson/ILB Penn State – Isn’t going to wow you at all as an athlete but classic two down thumper who’s a fundamental tackler.

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  • pittsburghjoe

    No need for riot gear, Alex. Don’t mind me, I am just heading to the pharmacy for anti-nausea medication.

  • Steelers12328882

    I like the idea of taking a DE #1 but I think it’s too much of a reach for him especially given the injury. It would be awesome to trade back and grab him tho. I’m not as high on Davante Adams as everyone else, but I do agree if we take a WR early he has a chance to overtake Wheaton. The rest of your mock draft bores me except the Barrett and Ellis picks.

  • pittsburghjoe

    Why not Nix? Move Mac to end? Lewan is a wildcard no one is talking about.

  • Alan Felicia

    Wow a DE at #15 and 2 RBs late. No faith in Dennard or him being available past Chicago?

  • pittsburghjoe

    Worst case scenario would be both CB’s off the board when they pick. I think they will wait until the 3rd to address WR, unless a big talent falls to the second. Adams would not fit the classification.

  • cp72

    1. Benjamin WR
    2. Tuitt DE
    3. Watkins CB
    4. Cockrell CB
    5. Barrett OLB
    5. Gilmore TE
    6. Ellis NT
    6. Perkins RB
    7. Sunseri S

  • Zachary Wise

    As much as I’d love to get Dennard or Gilbert, or even Mike Evans if he falls, I’m starting to think they’ll take Taylor Lewan if he’s there at 15. More of a traditional left tackle and a new toy for Munchak to develop.

  • Dennis Nevinsky

    I also have Stephon Tuit going to the Steelers as he drops to them in the 2nd round. He not only had the hernia last year, but can’t run for teams because he had surgery for a broken foot.

  • pittsburghjoe

    Thats fine…Round 2 though, not 1.

  • VanKirk

    Worst mock of the year award goes too ….

  • 804Stiller

    I agree. If Lewan drops, it’s tough to not seriously consider him. I wasn’t in favor of drafting a tackle at 1-15 but if you have a chance to grab your left tackle for the next 6 or more years, don’t you have to do that? Also, I’m all for taking two CBs in this draft.

  • SteelersDepot

    where is yours?

  • 68mustang

    don

  • Big White

    After Ziggy Hood and over paying on Aaron Smith for the last two years on his contract, it is hard, but not impossible to see Tuitt as the no.1. A first round talent in theory should be able to make the field halfway into the season. Hypothetically, if this is the draft, it may be a good one, time will tell. However, steelers fans will be disappointed due to the lack of whispers. There has been little to no buzz regarding any of he above with the exception of Purifoy at the 5th and Ellis at the 6th. Interesting take Alex.

  • Jason White

    If they select Benjamin in the first I’m pretty sure I’ll do cartwheels in my living room and I’m 6’5″ 325 lbs. If they really want to win in the redzone then they need that monster.

  • cp72

    Geez 6’5 325 maybe after Benjamin they should select you. Can you play any 5 technique?

  • Jason White

    Probably could have 5-10 years ago lol.

  • Ike Evans

    The purifoy pick is the one that bothers me…..he’s just not good…other then that I have no issues with this mock…I guess you can make an argument that tuitt is a reach but guys need to start taking into account that certain guys just flat out won’t fall to us and outside of cj Mosley and lewan….everybody else could be argued as a reach at 15….

  • Addison

    I’m Addison and I approve this mock draft. Getting pressure on the QB makes everyone look better.

  • Rubem Dornas

    I really think that we need another DE to be the starter in week 1 together with Heyward and McLendon. If it is needed to be drafted in first round I don’t know.

  • Alex Kozora

    There’s so many people I’d like to thank…

  • Eric MacLaurin

    I don’t see enough difference between 1st and second round DL prospects to use the 15 pick.

    I can see Evans or ebron if they fall in the first but dennard in the first and Murphy in the second is my two round mock

  • Weiss Chad

    I like it a lot just don’t see hager man Tuitt or moncrief being available in those slots

  • Alex Kozora

    Tuitt played as a five tech. You’re moving Hageman from his natural spot as the one/three tech.

  • Weiss Chad

    I don’t get the Benjamin fascination.he reminds me too much of sweed.drops way to many balls

  • kev4heels

    Love it except round 1. No way Tuitt is worthy of 1.15 in my mind. I would rather take Mosely or Shazier than nabbing Tuitt in rd 1. The rest of the draft is great though Alex.

  • StrengthOfVictory

    Not a huge fan of going DE in the first round, and I’m also one of those who prefers Jordan Matthews to Adams (call me crazy)…BUT…rounds 3-5 I’m with you on the direction. I think the Steelers will double-dip at CB, and I’m all for creative picks in the later rounds.

  • Jollyrob68

    NIce Mock. I find it funny that everyone is ok with taking the 6st rated Wr because he’s tall but don’t want the 2nd rated DE(Kiper)/ 4th(McShay). He’s the #1 5 tech who has experience in the 34D.

  • Jollyrob68

    HE still has a 1st round grade or 1st/2nd.

  • Jollyrob68

    I’d love this Mock if it came true. I’d still like Desir in the 3rd or Telvin Smith.

  • RyanW

    I would HATE rounds 1 and 2

  • Matthew Anderson

    I don’t have any heartache over this at all. Nice mock Alex. I do have 1 question. Is it safe to assume you think Tuitt has more upside at DE than Nix does at NT. I understand the production argument but if u are drafting on physical gifts Nix has upside. Plus NT is quicker transition for impact….and for what it’s worth I have no issue with McClendon. Think he can play either spot.

  • Matthew Anderson

    Insightful.

  • cp72

    Did you watch h Florida State play this year? Kid is beastly.

  • cp72

    Yeah you can install what ever two corners you like in rounds 3 and 4.

  • Alex Kozora

    It’s positional need, really. Though yes, I think Tuitt has more upside. Nose tackle isn’t a need. Defensive end is glaring. I’m not moving McLendon.

  • JohnB

    Tuitt makes sense for the fact that he’s not a flashy pick and he’s not what many are expecting, which is the Steelers MO

  • cp72

    Alex any thoughts on Ferguson and Johnson from LSU? My fear is if we go WR in the first round other than Tuitt are there any 2nd round 5 technique canidates

  • Alan Felicia

    IMO, Benjamin is overrated. If he didn’t have a Heisman winning QB w/ a major league arm throwing, Benjamin would be 3rd round prospect. In fact, I believe his former teammate, Rashad Greene, would make a better pro!

  • RW

    Yeah, I think Tuitt can be had in the early second. If you’re going to trade back, grab someone who can contribute early with the back end first pick (like CB Kyle Fuller or WR Benjamin). I love the Dennard pick, but I’m not sold on Moncrief. I think he’s a good x receiver, but doesn’t strike me as a true red zone threat.

  • RW

    I think Nix is dropping down draft boards like wildfire. By the time the draft rolls around, he might be there at 2.15. Don’t think Lewan would be a great pick – I’d much prefer someone who can start right away, and my list of players that can do that includes many in front of Lewan. On the backend of that list would be Mosely, who would be an upgrade over V. Williams, though I’m not so sure V. Williams isn’t the solution for the next 3-4 years as a stop gap while we fill bigger holes (like CB, DE, TE and the X receiver position).

  • Game_Time

    Taylor Lewan would make sense as this is Gilbert’s last year under contract and I don’t think they are sold on bringing him back as a starter…. I think Mike Adams would do well at RT under Munchak’s
    tutelage. And Beachum can return to his all purpose roll.

  • RW

    I don’t like Cockrell, but the rest of your draft looks pretty good. I’d love a hybrid LB like Boseke Lokombo. Would be the perfect Nickel LB in my opinion, and would be a great depth pick. Barrett is good, but I would definitely prefer Lokombo in that spot.

  • RW

    It isn’t about being a complete receiver so much as being a red zone threat. We’ve been dreadful from within the 20 for the last 3-4 years. His presence alone would open up additional running lanes within the five.

  • RW

    Agreed. Round 2 is fine. Round 1 they need to grab a show stopper.

  • RW

    Purifoy had a down year last year. The previous year he was one of the best corners in Div. 1, routinely shutting down opposing #1 receivers. Not only that, but he was projected to be a top 10 pick before last year.

  • Alex Kozora

    First round was one of my toughest picks, truthfully. I still don’t see taking a cornerback in the first as likely as most others. I was pretty much left with a list of Ebron, Hageman, Tuitt, Beckham Jr, Donald. Perhaps Donald makes more sense if you want to take a DE there from a value standpoint. I know he’s short but he can play in a 3-4.

    Plus, Tuitt is probably being underrated more in the draftnik community than the scouting one. Still looked good last year despite the injury dogging him. Had he been fully healthy, everyone would think 15 was realistic.

  • Milliken Steeler

    That’s not bad Alex. Its interesting that as everyone knows by now this draft is pretty deep except at a few positions. Two of those is ILB and OLB.

    I have done a lot of mocks and tried flipping the priorities to see if we could add depth at ILB and OLB. By taking one of the few ILB’s (Mosely)in the first round I was still able to pick up a CB like Mcgill in the fourth and even double dipped at cb and picked up Colvin in the sixth for depth or as an insurance policy if you will.

    I kept the faith in our D-line and only added Tuitt however, I was able to add a TE,RB,OLB and Safety also later in the draft.

    I would have loved to grab Janis at WR and double dip at that position also, as I think he is going to be sneaky good, but I went defense.

    So here is mine and obviously these players fell to me so I realize there is luck involved.

    15) Mosely ILB 46) DE Tuitt 97) WR Latimer 118) CB McGill 157) S Ladler
    173) TE Gilmore 192) CB Colvin 215) RB Rajion Neal 230) OLB Allen

  • cp72

    Did Winston win the heisman or did Benjamin Greene Freeman and O’leary win him the heisman?

  • Alan Felicia

    Well instead of reaching for KB @#15, why not be patient and draft TE rounds 2 or 3 like Amaro, Sefarian-Jenkins, or Niklas.

  • Mike Frantz

    I’m with you on this mock, for the most part. Totally fine with Tuitt in the 1st. Watched a lot of his cut ups and he’s a quality 3-4 DE prospect. Like him more than Hageman due to positional experience and age. I feel like age/youth is undervalued by the internet draft world. Guy who is 21 has a lot more growth opportunity. That was the biggest reason I was a little down on the JJ pick last year. My 1st round board looks something like this:

    Adams
    Ebron
    Dennard
    .
    .
    Tuitt/Mosley/Fuller- Guys I’d be ok with, but really would much rather trade down.

    The second round is going to be very interesting. The guys they have been bringing in (Moncrief and Ellington) both seem more like 3rd round targets to me. I’m having a very hard time ranking that second batch of WR. Adams, Matthews, Robinson, Bryant (right now, he’s my favorite), Moncrief, Richardson, Lattimore, So many good choices.

    Not a fan of Purifoy, but I’d deal.

  • cp72

    Because we have a starting TE and I don’t want to use a first or second round pick that isn’t going starter for two more years. I also don’t think Benjamin is a reach. He is the perfect compliment to what we already have on the roster.

    Just out of curiosity who is starting on the outside if we wait on wide receiver? AB and who?

  • Ike Evans

    Interesting……what do you think may have caused his down year?

  • Alan Felicia

    Who had better stats at the end of the year: Greene or Benjamin? Who had more games with 6 or more receptions this past year: Greene or Benjamin? Finally, who played a Beast in carnage during the National Championship game: Greene or Benjamin?
    Like I said, KB=Overrated.

  • Milliken Steeler

    Why do you guys do that? If you’re gonna rip a guy for just talking football, at least put up your draft as a retort. lol

  • Alan Felicia

    Take ur pick: Lance Moore, Markus Wheaton, Darrius Heyward-Bey, Derek Moye, or Justin Brown.

  • cp72

    Ok I guess you have your opinion and I have mine. Greene is a slot receiver at the next level and those guys are easier to find and we don’t need that. We need a big physical guy and to me Benjamin fits that perfectly.

  • Milliken Steeler

    I agree on Benjamin. I think we can get a quality WR in rounds three through five in this draft to be honest.

  • cp72

    Two slot guys, a first round bust, and two fringe roster guys. You just made even more sure I want Benjamin.

  • SFIC

    For me all that’s needed is to replace Tuitt with either Donald or Jernigan. With most offenses forcing defenses into sub packages, the need for pass rushing interior linemen over NTs is critical.
    Before the start of the college season many had Purifoy one of the top CBs in the draft. Personally I don’t care for him but would be great value here.

  • Milliken Steeler

    I hate Broccoli and Spinach :)

  • Mike Frantz

    Would really hate Benjamin in the first. he’s big, but doesn’t really play big. Does not consistently high point ball, doesn’t attack it in the air. Does not compete. Does not play physical at all, except with ball in hands. Doesn’t adjust to the ball well at all. He’s old. He is a bust waiting to happen. He’s about 10th on my WR list.

  • Alan Felicia

    And Benjamin is a glorified big target or TE who can’t block and drops too many balls. You call him a beast, yet, Benjamin was not even the best WR on the team! Would rather Pitt take Ebron over him and, to me, that’s even a reach.

  • cp72

    Doesn’t high point? Huh?

  • Alan Felicia

    Pittsburgh could draft a similar WR in the 5th or 6th round: Brandon Coleman. Practically same size and speed.

  • StarSpangledSteeler

    CP-

    In my opinion this is not only an excellent draft but it’s very likely along the same lines the front office is thinking. I think they see more value in going with two CB’s in the 3-5 range than they do with one CB in the 1st.

    (Just like they did with Brown and Allen a couple years ago. And Keenan Lewis in the 3rd before that. People forget that we have Cortez Allen as our future #1 CB already. And unfortunately it’s not likely we’re getting rid of Gay anytime soon. We need two quality depth guys IMO.)

    My only problem with this mock is I don’t think Tuitt lasts anywhere near 2.15. There are too many 3-4 defenses that need him.

  • Mike Frantz

    Consistently? Nope.

  • StarSpangledSteeler

    Alex-

    The more I watch of Tuitt, the more I think he’s a legitimate 1st rounder. You’re right that he’s very similar to Heyward. Not just in size but the way he plays. And even though Tuitt think he’s a slight reach at 1.15, I would not be upset.

    The thing that makes Tuitt so valuable to us is that he can play DE in our base package AND flex to 4-3 in our dime and be equally effective. I don’t think people realize how rare that is.

    Most of all, though, when you combine Heyward and Tuitt, you get a cumulative effect. Together they cause the opposing OL to stick with their double teams (instead of chip block) and that frees up our LBs which is the key to our whole defense.

    If we draft Tuitt you will see our LBs suddenly look like a bunch of ninjas.

  • Nolrog

    I think you hit the three biggest needs in the first three rounds, although, I do think they are going corner first, then WR, then DE. I also think we’ll see Keisel back to help give a little depth to the position for a year.

  • dkoy85

    I think youre describing Evans.

  • Russian Steel

    I assume Aaron Donald isn’t available at 15 in your mock? If he is, then I would definitely go with him over Tuitt. Donald is superior in 99/100 respects. He may be ideally a 3 tech guy, but still would play our system better than Tuitt I am sure with his explosiveness alone. Plus you could move him around for pressure…already ran a 4.68 40 so he’s faster than every one of our current linebackers and he weighs 285!!!! It’s a null point anyway I guess because I assume Donald will be gone before 15 anyway. In that case I’d be OK with Tuitt so long as they got him after trading down and picking up an extra 3rd rounder or something.

  • Doug Sawyer

    We don’t need a Defensive End and most certainly not in the first round …we need a NT and we’re not taking Nix in round one because that would be a waste to draft that high for essentially a two down player

  • Justin Barlow

    This is a solid direction. Developmental CBs are the need over a plug n play guy, so this shotgun approach to getting youngsters in the pipeline is perfect.

    Benjamin all the way. Let’s draft like we want to win a SB.

  • Justin Barlow

    He is a million times more physical than Sweed. And I would like to see the drop percentages on each.

  • Doug Sawyer

    is nothing like Sweed

  • Doug Sawyer

    the Steelers will have 8 million in June…4 of that for the rookies that leaves 4 million to go out and add to the D line…and yes including bringing the Beard back for depth …maybe Harrison too

  • http://www.thesportsbonanza.com/ TheSportsBonanza

    Too many Projects for my likeing. Tuitt is a good player but can easily fall in the 2nd round. If we got more draft picks and moved down in the first round i would be more ok with that.
    I am i firm believer you take the best available player at your pick. No matter the Need. Granted if Dennard or Gilbert are there i think it would be INSANE if we didn’t take 1 of the 2.

  • Alex Kozora

    Got it backwards. We have a starter at nose tackle. There isn’t one at defensive end.

  • Matt Manzo

    I’m in love with this mock! Most of my guys are there in spots I agree with, except Purifoy, I thought he was a projected 2/3rd pick?
    I’d be fine with Tuitt, Adams is gonna be a beast, Desir is great, Seastruck? Could be a nice player for us. Justin Ellis is perfect, Barrett is perfect and we get another Penn ST player! BRAVO!!!

  • Doug Sawyer

    Cam Thomas is a back up

  • Doug Sawyer

    and Mclendon will be moved to Tackle with Arnfelt and Williams as back ups…this mean Pittsburgh will take a NT in the 3rd or 4th round …and as I said we can land a DT after June 1

  • http://www.thesportsbonanza.com/ TheSportsBonanza

    LoL.. Worst mock is kind of a stretch. his late round draft picks are great! (Starting with round 5 – which is my favorite player he mocked for us but i do no think he will drop to round 5)..
    But i dont agree your first 4 picks.. Just my opinion.Your choosing to many project guys early.
    No way you pass on a premier CB(unless both are gone) with Ike clearly not being a #1 anymore. We can afford a “project” CB. We need a guy who can possibly start Mid to end of the season or without question next season. I am tired of waiting for 3 years to see if a CB pans out (Keenan Lewis–Cortez Allen–Curtis Brown) with no guarantee if they do.

  • Alex Kozora

    Thomas should not be starting at end. Isn’t built to play there and has limited experience at that spot. Arnfelt has played all but two snaps and Williams is raw and spent last year on IR…neither should be counted on for much.

    I’m assuming you mean McLendon will be moved to end which I find unlikely and not practical. He played ONE snap at defensive end in the base 3-4 last year. He honestly does not have the experience there. Keep him at nose tackle where he’s gotten his reps at. And he’s done a find job there, too. Don’t move more people than you have to in order to fix one spot.

    What DT are we getting after June? Market is dried up, my friend.

  • Alex Kozora

    Thanks Matt. I’m sure it’ll change again and I know this isn’t the “cookie cutter”, if there is such a thing, mock. No 1st round corner, tall WR, etc. But rarely what we *think* will happen actually happens. Especially still a month out from the draft.

    I see the same names again and again in these mocks. Sometimes feel like people think the team only has 10 names on their board…

  • 243546

    Why do you think that Hagemans natural spot is at the 1 and 3 technique? Based on the film I have seen, Hageman looks at his best playing at the 5. Also, Steelers DE’s are asked to play the 3 technique in base, and the 1 or 3 in sub packages.

  • Doug Sawyer

    Thomas is a NT…and actually Mclendon is better suited at end than NT…that would leave LDT Mclendon NT(Daniel McCullers via draft)RDT Heyward …with Arnfelt, Williams and Fangupo as back up in each spot…plus maybe the addition of Brett or another end via free agency or the end of the draft

  • Doug Sawyer

    go look at Daniel McCullers film on Youtube…guy holds up tremendously at the point of attack is a perfect fit for a 3-4
    and can be had in the 3rd round

  • Joe La

    Im not in love with Dennard as a good use of our 1st round pick. Steeler corners are asked to do so little in our zone blitz scheme it seems pointless to use a 1st round pick on one especially when we have bigger needs on the D line.

    Guarantee that neither Hageman or Tuitt will be available

    Id love to see us trade down with a team who has an abundance of picks, i.e. San Fran, I think Tuitt or Hageman will be available at the end of the first, then in the 2nd with 2 picks we can pick up Jordan Matthews or Davante Adams or someone of that ilk and look at corner. I think this is a great opportunity to trade down, all the value is there in the 2nd and 3rd rounds IMO

  • StarSpangledSteeler

    That’s a very good point. I know we have a lot of holes. But if we want to win a Super Bowl we need to draft differently than if we’re just trying to build depth.

    To win a Super Bowl you need impact players. That is what allows role players to be productive. Because the opposing team focuses elsewhere.

    A guy like Benjamin scares the shiz out of red zone defenses. They have to double team (or at least shade help coverage). That opens up windows for Brown/Wheaton/Moore, and also softens up the run defense for Bell/Blount.

  • Joseph Boyd

    I don’t necessarily love the Tuitt pick, but the later round guys sound great! To me, guys like Ellis, Desir, and Barrett are such good fits that it feels like a foregone conclusion that they’ll be in black & gold come August. Let’s hope we can get 1 or 2 of those guys.

    That being said, I still think it comes down to 3 guys in round 1: Evans, Gilbert, or Dennard. The other guy I’m personally high on would be Fuller from VT, but I’d rather trade back to get him.

  • Paul Barracliffe

    Do you guys think Donald can play 5 tech? I feel like he has the ability to succeed. I really feel like he can play the role of anchor while providing great pass rush. I just am not understanding why not. Alex it would be great to hear your opinion

  • Alex Kozora

    Colbert said Thomas was brought in to play end. I figure he’ll rotate at both spots especially against power schemes. But he shouldn’t start or see significant playing time.

    How do you know McLendon is better suited to play end? He hasn’t played there. Done a fine job at nose tackle, don’t know why there’s this irrational hate for him.

    I’ve seen McCullers and did a scouting report on him. Wouldn’t consider him to be a “perfect fit”. 6’7 is going to kill his leverage against 6’2-6’3 centers/guards. Also, slow off the ball.

  • moderatelysane

    I think if Tuitt were around at 2.15 we’d run to the podium. Depending on our first round pick, I wouldn’t be amazed to see a trade up a few spots to get him around 2.10.

  • Ben Anderson

    Alex, Is this what you want or what you think they’ll do?

    I think they’ll be able to select either Gilbert, Dennard or Fuller in the 1st and that they will end up taking a CB.
    I would prefer that they take Mosley, get a CB or WR in the 2nd and take whichever of the two was not addressed in the 3rd. That said, I think they’ll take a corner in the 1st and a WR in the 2nd and then BPA based upon their needs afterward.

  • Jay Jaber

    Actually one of Benjamin’s strengths is high pointing the ball and in my opinion is a beast blocker that will lay out cornerbacks.

  • Jay Jaber

    I agree with you on Benjamin’s would love to have him but rather have evans. I really think evans will be the next greatest WR in the nfl. People don’t realize this but evans made johnny manziel. Every time manziel threw it up like an idiot. Evans went up to catch it

  • Brian Tollini

    Also a fan of Borland. I see him as an early-mid 2nd rounder though, if he would be available for us at the end of the 3rd that would be thievery.

  • pittsburghjoe

    Alligator Arms

  • Weiss Chad

    Except his hands

  • Alex Kozora

    I feel they won’t take a cornerback in the first but it’s of course dependent on what the board looks like. And they often take two CBs in a draft so that’s based off what they usually do, not what I think they should do.

    But there are some personal picks I love like Adams and Finch. So know I’m hedging here, but it’s a mixture of both.

    I am a big fan of Vince Williams and think he can be starter. Played well and really grew despite being a rookie and being rotated on and off the field.

  • dkoy85

    I really am having a hard time seeing how Evans is better than Benjamin other than speed. I first started watching Evans highlight reel and didnt come away impressed and didnt see any tough high point catches which I like to see for a big guy. Then I watched as much tape as I could (gona go back and look again) and didnt see it either. IMO Benjamin has the best chance to be a big time playmaker with some polishing. With Benjamin I see a beast of a man that is capable of dominating DB’s with not only physicality but leaping ability and coming down inbounds with the ball. I also feel Benjamin has better body control… Evans looks to gumby like.

  • Matt Manzo

    I, at the very least, want 1 of Desir, Baptiste, McGill, Gaines in the mid rounds! I agree with you on the FO never listening to the fans so I’m trying to get over a “tall” WR but they gotta at least be 6ft! That’s why Adams is perfect!

  • pittsburghjoe

    I agree… He is the guy no one is taking about.

  • tcirish53@gmail.com

    Alex,
    Like PittsburghJoe, no need to fear me either…….
    A coupla thoughts, though, that may or may not have entered into what is a unique draft based on all the ones I have seen,
    I think given where the Stillers are, this could be a very solid draft, BY POSITION.
    I am really only puzzled by the selection of Tuitt in rd 1. He is projected by almost all sites to be an early rd2 pick, so Joe’s reference to Hagemann may be appropriate.
    I have had Davante Adams (or another WR) as my personal mock pick for some time.
    I think it is wishful thinking to think that we could get Ellis at NT in rd 6 – I would take him in rd 4 which is where most big boards seem to have him. However, I have to say I COULDN’T AGREE MORE that we need to take a true NT in this draft. Why? Start him, let him suffer as a rookie, and move McClendon to DE where he belongs (and where I think he can really cause havoc).
    We have (despite my wish to do otherwise) NEVER taken many CBs in rd 1. I think the historical reference is not valid, given the change in the game. Remember, the NFL in 1979 was a different animal, probably all the way up to like mid-80s. So, if I was going to do anything differently vs you mock, I would take one of the top 2 CBs in rd 1, then double up late in the draft by taking Colvin from Oklahoma, who would have been the 3rd CB taken.
    Otherwise, thanks for a refereshing and un-lemming-like look!!!

  • Ben Anderson

    I like Vince Williams too. I just don’t think he’ll ever have enough coverage ability to play well in sub schemes. That said, you need a handful of guys like the Jerry Olsavskys and Keyaron Fox’s to give a defense depth. That is where I think Willams fits.
    I am also a fan of Adams’. But, given my choice I would rather have Jordan Matthews. The kid broke every SEC career record playing at Vandy, with less than stellar QB play and doesn’t seem to have that diva persona dwelling inside like so many WRs.
    I know little about Finch. But, I love a similar player in Dri Archer.

    Anyway, not as bad a draft as some here are making it seem. I don’t agree with all of your choices, but your logic is sound when approaching them.

  • Aric Brown

    Benjamin was tied with the #3 receiver for receptions… just saying

  • LatrWildcat

    Wow. Came to the conclusion a few weeks ago after watching video of Tuitt that he should be our 1st round pick. He can be a monster at DE. Reminds me of Heyward at his best. Easily locks out his long arms to control & shed the blocker & make tackle vs the run. Has thick legs to anchor. Splits double teams to disrupt in the backfield. Keeps his feet in the wash & still makes the play. Good pass rusher as well. And this was as a 19-year-old against a dominant Alabama O-Line that featured at 2 first-rounders and at least 2 other future NFL players. If they can trade down and still get him it would be a home run in my opinion.

  • Axe Skot

    I am as intrigued as everyone about the big receiver but a little voice in my head keeps bringing up the receiving corps we had in the last three superbowls, and particularly the ones we won. 2005 we had these receivers on the roster: Hines, Randle El, Nate Washington, Cedric Wilson. Now Hines should be in the hall, but really, what DB is terrified by that group? XLIII we have Holmes’ theatrics. My point is that you can bet on the fact that Colbert and Tomlin are going to go after a receiver with the best ability, period. Height won’t ever trump hands. I’m not even sure that it is entirely correct to characterize the receivers as one of our biggest needs when you look back at what we had in the past. And don’t tell me, things are different, it’s a passing league, because although that is true, when was the last time there were significant rule changes governing DB’s on receivers? I think we are all in for some pretty big surprises.

  • Alex Kozora

    One thing to keep in mind is how often we play sub-package football. Part of that likely was because Williams was a rookie and we’d rather have Will Allen, a veteran, in dime, than a rookie inside linebacker.

    I really don’t know if it’s fair to evaluate how good in coverage Williams is. He really hasn’t gotten a chance to show it. Ostensibly, he’ll struggle if the team isn’t putting him out there but I’m all for giving him a chance to try it and grow. Only way to get better is to rep it.

    I’m also a big Jordan Matthews fan. But Adams is more explosive with a better burst and a natural separator. Matthews is more stiff out of his breaks and really has to use his size/physicality to get separation.

  • Alex Kozora

    Like I wrote, ideally we trade back for Tuitt. But when you see a guy who still played as well as he did despite fighting through the hernia, a guy that is 21 and still growing, at a position of extreme need, you jump on it.

    That stat of last time taking a CB isn’t just historic. That’s counting up until today. It’s not as if we didn’t take one from 1979-2005 and then bucked the trend. Just something we don’t often do.

  • steelster

    Wouldn’t it be better to try and fix the de position next year in FA, thus making it the number one priority in 2015.

  • pittsburghjoe

    I dont think his size will let him fit the system. Too short for DE, not stout enough for NT.

  • Dennis

    (1)CB DARQUEZE DENNARD
    MICHIGAN STATE
    (2)WR DONTE MONCRIEF

    MISSISSIPPI

    (3)DE DEMARCUS LAWRENCE

    BOISE STATE

    (4)DT ANTHONY JOHNSON

    LSU

    (5A)RB DEVONTA FREEMAN

    FLORIDA STATE

    (5B)DE BRENT URBAN

    VIRGINIA

    (6A)OT CORNELIUS LUCAS

    KANSAS STATE

    (6B)CB SHAQUILLE RICHARDSON

    ARIZONA

    (7)RB JERICK MCKINNON

    GEORGIA SOUTHERN

  • Matt Manzo

    Good one! If JMatthews is already gone and DAdams, Moncrief is next! I like Shaq Richardson late, had a good all star series! I like the DL picks, too! Good spots for those guys.
    McKinnon is turning into my “gotta have” this year! Bell was mine last year so let’s hope I’m on a roll?!

  • Keshav Gupta

    Steelers still seem to believe in best athlete available (BAA) philosophy of drafting. That is why they have been so active in free agency trying to replace players lost to free agency. So using BAA philosophy, here is my draft:

    1. (#15) Zack Marti/OT Notre Dame. I do not think Kelvin Beachum is long term
    answer at OT.
    2. (#46) Martavis Bryan/WR Clemson. Unfortunately Davante Adams will be gone by the time Steelers pick in the second round.
    3. (#97) Philip Gaines/CB Rice.
    4. (#118) Andre Williams/RB Boston College. Mr. Kozora also has Steelers picking a RB at this position but a different one.
    5. (#157) Howard Jones/OLB Shepherd.
    5. (#173) Kirby Van Der Kamp/P Iowa St. He is #1 punter available in the draft. Steelers can use a good punter.
    6. (#192) Khyri Thornton/DT Southern Mississippi
    6. (#215) Ryan Hewitt/FB Stanford
    7. (#230) John Urshel/OG Penn State. Mr. Kozora has Steelers picking him 15 picks earlier.

  • Dennis

    I like this one better. And the only reason I did not take a WR early was because in the mock draft I was in there were players that dropped to me in rounds 2,3,and 4 that I could not pass on. If the draft shakes out for us this way our defense will be sick in a few years.

    15

    CB DARQUEZE DENNARD

    MICHIGAN STATE

    46

    DE STEPHON TUITT

    NOTRE DAME

    97

    DE JACKSON JEFFCOAT

    TEXAS

    118

    DT DANIEL MCCULLERS

    TENNESSEE

    157

    RB DE’ANTHONY THOMAS

    OREGON

    173

    WR CODY LATIMER

    INDIANA

    192

    CB ANTONE EXUM

    VIRGINIA TECH

    215

    OT MATT PATCHAN

    BOSTON COLLEGE

    230

    LB KEVIN PIERRE-LOUIS

    BOSTON COLLEGE

  • Shannon Stephenson

    If this is how the draft went down I am all for it. I feel Tuitt is a mid first rounder so I am fine with that pick and think he will be a difference maker. I would go Thomas where Finch is but that is being nit picky.

  • Doug Sawyer

    Ebron has worse

  • Paul Barracliffe

    hmm good point

  • Alex Kozora

    Yes Paul, as I mentioned, I think Donald can. Check out my scouting report of him. Better length than most at his height and that’s the number to really focus on. Remember Sheldon Richardson wasn’t tall but did a great job in the Jets’ 3-4 (Richardson did have longer arms than Donald, too).

    Donald played in a 3-4 as a sophomore at Pitt. Made five starts at DE. I think he’s an ideal 3 tech one gapper but can he play the five? Absolutely.

  • Guest

    Steelers still seem to believe in best athlete available (BAA) philosophy of drafting. That is why they have been so active in free agency trying to replace players lost to free agency. So using BAA philosophy, here is my draft:

    1. (#15) Zack Marti/OT Notre Dame. I do not think Kelvin Beachum is long term
    answer at OT.
    2. (#46) Martavis Bryant/WR Clemson. Unfortunately Davante Adams will be gone by the time Steelers pick in the second round.
    3. (#97) Philip Gaines/CB Rice.
    4. (#118) Andre Williams/RB Boston College. Mr. Kozora also has Steelers picking a RB at this position but a different one.
    5. (#157) Howard Jones/OLB Shepherd.
    5. (#173) Kirby Van Der Kamp/P Iowa St. He is #1 punter available in the draft. Steelers can use a good punter.
    6. (#192) Khyri Thornton/DT Southern Mississippi
    6. (#215) Ryan Hewitt/FB Stanford
    7. (#230) John Urshel/OG Penn State. Mr. Kozora has Steelers picking him 15 picks earlier.

  • http://pittsburghsportsinat.blogspot.com/ bgsteelfan

    I would be thrilled.

  • Jay Jaber

    I watched every game for Texas a&m last year and this year. Mike evans stood out to me over every player on the field every game he played. Like I said he made johnny manziel. The good- has amazing body controll high points the ball better then anyone has amazing hands never losses one on one. The bad- rout running needs work. And sometimes he desapeers in games other than that there small things like his hand size. I know u probably heard this a lot but he remindes me of Calvin Johnson not Vincent Jackson oh yeah one more thing hell of a blocker and I think he’s perfect for roethlisberger cause roethlisberger likes to hold on the ball longer so mike evans was known to always work back towards the QB to make a play this is why he would be a perfect fit

  • StarSpangledSteeler

    That’s what I’m predicting. A trade up with our 2.15 + 4.15 to about 2.7-ish for Tuitt.

    I also think a trade down from 1.15 to 1.26 for Cleveland’s two 3rd round picks is a possibility.

    You wanna hear something really crazy? If we trade back to 1.26 we can ALSO trade our 2.15 plus the two 3rd rounders and get ANOTHER first round pick at about 1.23.

    It might be very tempting to draft Kyle Fuller and a WR in the first. And then a DL with the 3rd round comp pick.

  • mem359

    Was reading an article with the draft predictions for Sweed. His positive was ball catching, and the concern was getting separation. (Guess things got swapped on the pro level.)

  • Weiss Chad

    That don’t make it better

  • Weiss Chad

    Why would I wanna teach a “pro” receiver to catch?ill take marquise lee

  • Frank Oswald

    Amazing…I had the exact same picks….Also I had Pitt playing Mercer in the NCAA basketball finals……

  • Paul Barracliffe

    Thanks Buddy. I don’t see why more Steeler fans don’t clamor for this kid. He’s got special talent and he’s from the Burgh so he’d be a natural fit. I asked Dave and he said no w/out explaining. I think this guy has skills that transcend, even are extenuated by his height and arm length. I see Donald as a generational line talent

  • Alexander Sebastian Heath

    Did you change the mock?

  • Ben Anderson

    Alex, I have been of the opinion that the reason tge Steelers play in sub packages so often is that they lack players with enough versatility to play on all 3 downs. Our guys played a lot if dime on 3rd and long in 2008the and 2010, but rarely did they line up in nickel or quarter on 1st & 2nd. Getting solid players in those spots again and setting defensive trends rather than following them i & 5s where I would like to see the Steelers again. And, yes, I realize that you aren’t going to run base vs 4 & 5 wides. But, you should be able to vs double tights, even if those guys are receiving threats.

  • nicolaisim

    Kelvin Beachum has serious talent – way more than anybody figured.
    Put Taylor Lewan at left tackle against Terrell Suggs and he’ll have the defensive mvp locked up. KB has shut him down. Munch will bring his 7 sacks allowed down to 5 and then you have a really good LT.
    I’m with you on the love for those cornerbacks with Gilbert being my favorite. I also think Mike Adams takes over at RT and Gilbert rides the bench this year.

  • Alex Kozora

    That is one part of the equation, as I mentioned. But no denying sub-package is being used more and more. Steelers’ used it on 60% of snaps in 2013. Maybe that’s a little high and the number will fall back to Earth, but it’s not going to regress that much.

    Matthew wrote an article about two weeks ago with Tomlin discussing how the emphasis today is on sub package football.

  • charles

    At least you understand, refreshing on this site. Thanks.

  • http://batman-news.com MC

    Tuitt does look similiar to Heyward. Hewyard was a really good pick where he was picked though at 31 or 32, hopefully they can trade down and get Tuitt at the end of the round.

  • shawn

    Yup

  • shawn

    what tape and who were u watching ???

  • shawn

    Purifoy sux .. needed to see all i needed at the combine …

  • shawn

    he sucked at combine … weak small and can’t remember but there was something else that really really bothered me !

  • steeltown

    Im starting to REALLY like this Tuitt kid… I like this mock

  • Callentown

    Alex, I appreciate your well-thought out mock draft. We all know there are thousands of possibilities with all of the movement possible and needs at various positions.

    I’ve become enamored with Ryan Shazier at ILB. I know trading down isn’t easy, but wondered about your thoughts on who the Steelers might target SHOULD they get a trade down opportunity (such as Cleveland trading up for Manziel from 26 to 15, trading our 3rd from last year perhaps).

    Who do you like in the mid-20’s in that scenario?

  • nicolaisim

    As we stand today – DE is by far the most glaring need in my mind. We need somebody to play quality snaps in there and likewise in our sub-packages. I’d love for that guy to be Aaron Donald!

    What makes you say that we don’t need a DE?
    Or that you’d be comfortable with a NT in Thomas that was benched at NT in SD / McLendon untested at DE?

    For me, you’re creating 2 problems instead of just fixing 1, being a DE spot without starter capability.

    I’d like to get your 2 cents on that…

  • Doug Sawyer

    If you look back at Steelers recent DL picks… we drafted Hood and Heyward in round one and they have provided no more security at the position than guys we have gotten deeper at the position.In the 3-4, NT is more important than tackle…A huge guy who plays the 0 position who occupies 2 O-lineman…No one in this draft is suited to play our 3-4 that is going to be more value than taking a WR#1 or corner …I honestly believe that a LB is a better value draft pick than a 2 down package guy in the first round…there is no D lineman in round one who will step in an immediately upgrade our team VS what you could draft in the 3rd or 4th round.

    In other words a guy in the 3rd round could just as easily be brought in during sub packages as a guy in round 1,because both will be developing…their overall effect is less value than what a first round WR,CB or even LB would bring immediately.After 2 8-8 seasons the Steelers are looking for answers now

  • srdan

    I like this draft.

    People putting Tuitt in the second round, but top 3/4 ends tend to climb up boards as May nears. EG Tyson Jackson.

    Our team is only as good as our front 7.

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