2014 Steelers Mock Draft – Alex Kozora Version 3.0 – Final

By Alex Kozora

With the first round of the 2014 NFL Draft Thursday, it’s time for my final mock draft. You can check out the first one here and the second one here.

Overall, this mock is more about what I think should happen if I was in charge as opposed to what will happen. Without mocking other teams in this draft, there’s no point in predicting the latter.

Round One: Odell Beckham Jr/WR LSU – 5’11/2 198

In scribbling down different options for this mock, I kept coming back to three players: Justin Gilbert, Aaron Donald, and Beckham Jr. I’ve made my stance on cornerbacks clear although I am a big fan of Gilbert and wouldn’t be upset with the pick. Donald makes a lot of sense for a team with by far, its biggest issue at defensive end but I simply don’t believe he’ll last to 15.

Wide receiver is a slightly smaller need than some make it out to be. I believe coaches were encouraging by Markus Wheaton’s progression. A lot of players in that situation, missing OTAs, dealing with multiple injuries, wouldn’t see a snap on offense. Wheaton didn’t do much statistically but got valuable playing time on offense and became a starting gunner. All steps in the right direction.

But even with the Lance Moore signing, adding another receiver would be welcomed looking towards the future.

Beckham Jr is not tall but his play speaks volumes. He reminds me a lot of Antonio Brown. Lacks elite speed but extremely explosive and can pluck and tuck. Natural separator who shows good body control. And though he has a svelte frame, his hands are ten inches, bigger than Martavis Bryant or Mike Evans. Makes defenders miss in the open field and a strong YAC receiver.

What attracts me most to Beckham however is his versatility. You’re looking at a player who can make an impact right away, even if it isn’t at wide receiver. Beckham Jr can become the team’s starting kick returner from Day One. He was the 2013 Paul Hornung Award as the nation’s most versatile player, returning 32 kickoffs and 18 punts. He also had a 100 yard return for a touchdown off a missed field goal against UAB. In all, he had 2,315 all-purpose yards his senior year, 2nd most in SEC single-season history. So even in a worst case scenario where Beckham Jr starts the year as the #4, he’ll make an impact on special teams and make his helmet worthwhile.

Some may knock this pick because the team already has a similar player in Antonio Brown, but if you told me that Beckham Jr was going to turn into the next AB, a #1 wide receiver, I’d sprint to the podium, card in hand.

Scouting Report: http://www.steelersdepot.com/2014/04/2014-nfl-draft-player-scouting-report-lsu-wr-odell-beckham-jr/

Round Two: Chris Borland/ILB Wisconsin: 5’11/4 249

He’s back. I’m unapologetic about my mancrush on Borland. He went from a player I nearly dismissed after looking at his size and T-Rex arms (29 1/4 inches) but am elated I decided to give him a second chance.

It may sound bold, but I honestly think Borland is the next Luke Kuechly. What he lacks in size, he makes up for in everything else.

Fundamental tackler who can sink and snap his hips. Powerful tackler who rarely misses in the open field. Tremendous motor. Extremely active hands and rarely gets stuck on his blocks. Takes proper angles to the ball. Weight room warrior. High character. Ultra-productive career in Wisconsin and regarded as one of the top players in the Big Ten (Braxton Miller called him the best player he faced).

Wonderful article here (Link: http://espn.go.com/college-football/story/_/id/9826232/wisconsin-badgers-linebacker-chris-borland-big-ten-elder-statesman) that highlights the type of player he is. You’ll find out about his time working with children at elementary schools and what coach calls him “The Thing.”

He’s not a superior athlete but is the kind of guy that can do a backflip, kick a field goal (he has three career extra points) and can hit the crossbar from 30 yards out on the first try (Link: http://instagram.com/p/fVPOFWDgFl/# ) .

His lunch pail attitude and style makes him a leader on the field. Guy that is labeled as saying few words but when he talks, everyone listens.

Borland is well-respected by coaches, too. Northwestern’s Pat Fitzgerald and Ohio State’s Urban Meyer shook Borland’s hand and remarked how much they loved watching him play during the Big Ten media day this past summer.

For his 2013 efforts, Borland was named the Big Ten Defensive Player of the Year. In his career, the Badger started 48 games, racking up 420 tackles and 17 sacks. His 15 forced fumbles good enough for the second most in NCAA history.

I’ve maintained all along the selection of Borland has less to do with Vince Williams than it does Borland’s ability. Williams had a fine rookie season and showed growth. But I’m as certain as I can be that Borland will be a ten year starter at inside linebacker. Can’t say the same about Williams.

Give me players that I think can succeed. That’s what the draft is about. That’s what you’re getting in Chris Borland.

Scouting Report: http://www.steelersdepot.com/2014/02/2014-nfl-draft-player-profiles-wisconsin-ilb-chris-borland/

Round Three: EJ Gaines/CB Missouri – 5’10 190

As the Steelers tend to do, they wait until the mid-rounds to grab a cornerback. Gaines is not an elite cover corner and his five interceptions are misleading, mostly coming off lame duck throws or tipped passes, but he did help hold Mike Evans to four catches and eight yards.

What I like most about Gaines is his physicality. Isn’t a soft corner who bows out of contact. Will get his nose dirty, support the run, and you can count on him as a tackler. All critical components to play under Dick LeBeau. 244 career tackles, including 75 in 2013, illustrate that point.

Three year starter that missed just two games so he’s experienced and dependable in that regard, too.

Because the Steelers have four cornerbacks at their disposal: Ike Taylor, Cortez Allen, William Gay, and Shamarko Thomas, Gaines will have the opportunity to sit and learn for a year while contributing on special teams. He can work his way into the starting lineup from there.

I don’t feel he’ll ever be a #1, shutdown cornerback but ideally, Cortez Allen moves into that role. Allen’s ceiling allows him to become that player. Gaines is similar to William Gay but has slightly better coverage skills to be a #2 cornerback.

Scouting Report: http://www.steelersdepot.com/2014/04/2014-nfl-draft-player-scouting-report-missouri-cb-e-j-gaines/

Round Four: Will Clarke/DE West Virginia – 6’6 273

This is where my draft gets a little murky. I’ve admitted the team’s biggest need at defensive end but recognize that it’s unlikely a rookie, in any round, will be able to remedy that problem in Year One. The team should give serious consideration to Aaron Donald should he fall in Round One and to Stephon Tuitt or Ra’Shede Hageman in the second round.

Clarke is similar to Hageman. Love Clarke’s physical tools. Imposing frame with a ton of length and can definitely add 20 more pounds to give him the weight of a five tech. Shows good strength and can hold the point of attack. Flashes as a pass rusher and has short-area quickness. At times, he was dominant.

But like Hageman, Clark is raw and maddingly inconsistent. Disappears at times. Needs to show consistently active hands to avoid getting stuck. Won’t always play to his strength. Trouble staying square to the ball against the run. And he only has one year of true production.

He does have the experience playing in a 3-4 with the Mountaineers running it last year. Will help him ease into the transition. As you saw with 4-3 defensive tackles like Ziggy Hood, sometimes they get fully comfortable playing five tech. No question that was a big reason why he jumped ship to Seattle to play under Gus Bradley.

Clarke will likely have to take extra time to gain weight and work on his technique but his ceiling his high. At its peak, he has the tools I see in Cam Heyward.

Scouting Report: http://www.steelersdepot.com/2014/02/2014-nfl-draft-player-profiles-west-virginia-de-will-clarke/

Round Five: Taylor Hart/DE Oregon – 6’6 281

Back-to-back picks at defensive end. Like pairing Hart with Clarke because they are two different styles. Hart isn’t the athlete Clarke is and frankly, doesn’t have the same ceiling. He’ll never be a dominant pass rusher.

What Hart is something very similar to Brett Keisel. Decent athlete with a non-stop motor and will be a great personality in the locker room. Part of the reason why he pairs well with Clarke and on the whole, a young defensive line. When you see a player working hard in the locker room and on the field, running down every play, it permeates to the rest of the group. In that competitive setting, no one wants to be outworked or look bad.

It’ll push someone like Clarke, who had some effort issues on tape, to be better than Hart. Because even though Clarke is more talented, Hart will outwork you. Ditto with the rest of the group. Now you don’t have an all-star but a cagey group of guys like Nick Williams, Brian Arnfelt, and now Hart.

He does have some areas of his game where he must improve. Chiefly, with his leverage. Pad level is poor and he plays too tall. Something that must be repped and develop that flexibility and muscle memory. Few better equipped to handle that task than John Mitchell.

Scouting Report: http://www.steelersdepot.com/2014/05/2014-nfl-draft-player-scouting-report-oregon-de-taylor-hart/

Round Five: Ross Cockrell/CB Duke – 6’0 191

Should clarify this is the one pick I don’t support. But it feels very likely that Cockrell is one the team’s radar and if available, will be drafted by the Steelers.

Cockrell does have decent size and is a good enough athlete for the position. Earns high marks for his starting experience (49 games), academics, and leadership (two-time captain).

But I struggle to find many other positives in his game. Is past the six foot threshold but has short arms and small hands, 29 7/8 and 9 inches respectively.

I see a player that shies away from contact and is weak with hardly any functional strength. In that regard, doesn’t have the traits typically seen in a Steelers’ corner. But good chance he gets selected and fulfills the team’s manta of double-dipping at cornerback in the middle rounds.

Scouting Report: http://www.steelersdepot.com/2014/04/2014-nfl-draft-player-scouting-report-duke-cb-ross-cockrell/

Round Six: John Urschel/OG Penn St – 6’3 313

Some “experts” may profess the Steelers need help along the offensive line. Those are probably the same “experts” who think the defense is old and Steve McLendon is not a capable nose tackle.

The team has a core starting five but depth is a little murky. Nik Embernate will probably be a camp darling but what he can offer is unknown. Fenando Velasco could be re-signed but that remains to be seen.

The Steelers give Mike Munchak a toy to play around with. A smart, technically sound player like Munchak was in his Hall of Fame career, Urschel played in a zone blocking scheme in Happy Valley. Same system the Steelers will try to revive after flaming out under Jack Bicknell Jr. All he did was scoop and reach block and Urschel is a better athlete than probably given credit for. Above average strength and shows the nasty in his game that’s appropriate for an offensive lineman.

He should fit in well as a backup lineman. Although he only played right guard in college, he’ll have to learn to play multiple spots. Considering how smart he is, he’s working on his second masters degree, that shouldn’t be an issue.

Scouting Report: http://www.steelersdepot.com/2014/04/2014-nfl-draft-player-scouting-report-penn-state-g-john-urschel/

Round Six: Quincy Enunwa/WR Nebraska – 6’2 225

Third position the team has double-dipped at. Another man crush, Enunwa compares to a slightly bigger Hines Ward. Loves to block and got a lot of experience at Nebraska. Cornhuskers ran it nearly 1250 times the last two seasons.

Shows toughness at and willing to absorb a blow to make a catch. Quick feet who can separate and shows good body control. Captain and MVP in their 2013 bowl game, catching a 99 yard touchdown pass.

Negatives include dropping the occasional easy pass and lacks elusiveness after the catch. May never be a #1 but there’s an outside chance at has a good chance to become a “Z” receiver that will take a lot of pride in his blocking.

Scouting Report: http://www.steelersdepot.com/2014/04/2014-nfl-draft-player-scouting-report-nebraska-wr-quincy-enunwa/

Round Seven: Nat Berhe/SS San Diego St – 5’10/4 193

Only player in this mock I don’t have a scouting report on. Just reading the tea leaves with Berhe, who met with the team at the Combine. Fairly productive player recording 193 tackles his last two seasons. Said to be a physical player and willing to support the run.

Nice to grab a defensive back late in the draft and throw him on special teams to see if he can make some noise.

Could also see a flier taken at tight end or running back in this round. Rob Blanchflower is the only tight end the team visited with so he’d be a favorite. I’m a fan of Storm Johnson and Jerick McKinnon though they may not last this long. Syracuse’s Jerome Smith has some LeGarrete Blount to him.

Bio: http://www.goaztecs.com/sports/m-footbl/mtt/nat_berhe_459517.html

——-

To recap, I have mocked two wide receivers, defensive ends, and cornerbacks. One inside linebacker, guard, and safety.

Assuming Brown, Wheaton, Moore, and Beckham Jr are locks to make the team, that likely leaves on spot open for Enunwa, Darius Heyward-Bey, Derek Moye, and Justin Brown. Creates a lot of competition and that’s a healthy environment in training camp.

Ditto at cornerback with five presumably locked in.

Finally add depth at defensive end with Clarke and Hart. Team goes from just four defensive ends, if you count Cam Thomas, to six. Not sure if it will happen, but re-signing Brett Keisel and getting a veteran back would be critical with all this young talent.

Get a low-floor guard in Urschel and of course, a stud in Borland.
To conclude, a list of UDFAs I’d be interested in.

Jamie Meder/NT Ashland – 6’2/2 293 An ox who played five tech at Ashland, having an extremely successful career. Not the greatest athlete but heady player who showed well at the NFLPA Bowl Game.

Roy Finch/RB Oklahoma – 5’6/3 177 Undersized scat back. Dri Archer light. Great burst and maintains speed through his cuts. Kick return value. Got in the doghouse at Oklahoma because of work ethic issues but could have a better pro career than college.

Lawrence Martin/OG South Florida – 6’3/1 318 Tea leaves here. Steelers reportedly had a visit with him. Moved to tight end/fullback after starting the year at right guard and then moved back to the offensive line during the NFL Draft Bowl Games.

Brandon McCladdie/CB Citadel – 6’1/1 221 Mentioned him in my last mock. Came into his Pro Day 20 pounds heavier than listed, possibly showing a sign of him moving to safety. Regardless, similar to Cortez Allen. Long frame and high character. Two year captain with 36 starts under his belt.

Jonathan Krause/WR Vanderbilt – 5/10/7 187 Had no intentions of watching him but caught my eye when I did a scouting report on Jordan Matthews. Willing blocker who makes up for his diminutive size. Ran a 4.37 at his Pro Day. Averaged 17 yards per catch in 2013, scoring three times.

Senior in college, blogging from mom's basement. Marrying tape and statistics. Chidi Iwuoma is my favorite Steeler of all-time.
  • Biggie

    Exactly what I am hoping does not happen come Thursday, reaching for a WR in Rd 1 when the drop off from Rd 1 to 2 after Watkins and Evans is minimal at best and then ending up with a couple depth type cbs who don’t exude starter quality. Very mediocre draft, can get starter quality ILBs in middle rounds. If we are going WR in Rd 1 then we need to trade back and pick up a couple extra picks.

  • Alex Kozora

    Beckham is certainly not a reach. 15-20 range is where he’s likely to go.

  • tcirish53@gmail.com

    Biggie, could not agree more with you. OK, Beckham in rd 1 even though I don’t believe our need for a WR is worth either a rd 1 or rd 2 pick. But, Borland in rd 2, yecchhhhhh……

  • 68mustang

    Not a fan of this draft either. I’m not sold on Beckham, and think we really need a cb in round 1 or 2.

  • blue

    I will be disappointed if Steelers take this route

  • steeltown

    Like the Beckham, Gaines, Hart, Cockrell and Enunwa picks.. not sure I’d double dip at DE and im not a fan of drafting ILB this year.

  • bonairsfavoriteson

    Beckham and Borland are the only two on the list and maybe not where they were taken, that would help the steelers.

  • blue

    1. WR K Benjamin 2. CB Roby 3. OLB/S Telvin Smith 4. OLB Adrian Hubbard 5. DT Justin Ellis 5. TE AC Leonard 6. OT Seantral Henderson 6. RB DeAnthony Thomas 7. WR/KR Trey Burton

  • StrengthOfVictory

    The Steelers’ first-round pick (from my understanding of Colbert’s comments) will be someone they consider a “special player.” That doesn’t mean just picking the highest-rated player you can at a specific position. Fuller may be the highest-rated corner they have a chance to draft, but that doesn’t mean they consider him special. Beckham, likewise, might be the highest-rated receiver on the board, but the team may or may not consider him special. (“Special” gets the pick at 15, no matter what position that is.)

    The thing many people here seem to be forgetting is this: The Steelers are looking to draft specific players, not accumulate “value picks” as they go through each round. They don’t get extra points for taking a projected third-rounder in the fifth. They want as many of the players on their “list” as they can get. Period.

  • ApexSteel

    Nah

  • Alex Kozora

    And that’s how you reach when you abide by that motto. Like Colbert said in his press conference, he’d take an OLB in the first round if he was the best player around.

    You use your list as a guide and take the best players off of it.

  • http://www.nyob.com/ Dr. Doom

    Do not like it at all.

  • http://batman-news.com steellife007

    I agree Alex about Beckham not being a reach, and I would go even one further and say the range starts at 10-18….and might not even be on the board for us. Once the steelers really started to show some interest in Beckham I really looked into him as much as I could and only came away disappointed in one category–his height. Dude can really play ball and I would not be disappointed if he was the pick, but I also would not be disappointed if we went Def. because ultimately I am a firm believer in Def. with the right QB wins Championships and we have the right QB. And of course combine that with this very deep WR class I would be ok waiting, but after what I watched of Beckham’s tapes I would not complain.

    Beckham is NO reach!

  • cencalsteeler

    I do think double dipping a cb this draft makes sense.

  • http://batman-news.com steellife007

    Kinda agree with you about the double dipping on DE’s and the ILB comment. Only thing I’ll add is IF we don’t decide to get Mosley or Shazier in any way possible, then I would ignore ILB altogether….I say this because those 2 may be special, but from the way Alex talks he seems to feel the same way about Borland and if this is what the Steelers see too it would make sense…I just don’t see him as another Luke personally.

  • http://thereactionblog.com Michael Stickings

    Alex is taking a lot of heat in the comments for his picks, but if you like Borland as much as he does this mock starts looking pretty good. My preference would be to take a CB in 1 and then go WR in 2 (if Benjamin or Latimer is available), and that’s in large part because I don’t see Beckham as being that much better than some of the WRs projected to go in 2, but sure, if you see him as being another AB, why not? I’d also rather not have to wait until 3 or later to get a CB, though I realize the Steelers have a history of that.

  • http://thereactionblog.com Michael Stickings

    Yes, which is why Dennard/Fuller in 1 and maybe Cockrell later would be great.

  • Alex Kozora

    And that’s really the crux of the issue. It’s not that Borland is filling the biggest need – defensive end is clearly a bigger need at that point – but when you see a guy who I think will be a 10 year starter, I don’t pass on that in the second round. If you (speaking generally here) don’t like Borland, then the pick is probably confusing. I get that.

    It’s why Jason Worilds is on the team. Report was he wasn’t the top player on the board…Sean Lee was higher. But Tomlin loved Worilds and that was the pick.

  • Steelers12328882

    If the Steelers go LB I think they do one of 3 things. 1) Get an OLB like Barr early, or like Jeffcoat later. 2) Get a versatile OLB/ILB like Zumwalt. 3) Get a tweener late for the big nickel like Pierre-Louis, Jones from FSU or even take a flier on Nick Williams in the 7th. I don’t see the Steelers drafting a pure ILB like Borland that seems like another 2-down player, although I did have Bullough as one of my 5th rd alternates for my mock draft.

  • Alex Kozora

    I lean towards the third option. Steelers already have a versatile guy like that in Moats. Can play inside/out. Someone like Prince Shembo could be an option in Round 6/7.

  • Z Vranic RMT

    Not a fan of this mock. I feel you left better players behind. Here’s mine.
    15th Justin Gilbert CB. I think Colbert goes against the norm and goes CB in the first. Pitt seems to always get a falling player and I think Gilbert is this years. True difference maker on backend and creates turnovers. Will make an immediate mark on special teams.
    46th Austen Seferian Jenkins TE. I can already hear the swearing lol. But folks there are 2 false hoods that I see. 1 we have an old defense and 2 we are set at TE. Heath is 32 years old and 1 year removed from a serious knee injury. He’s not the same blocker or receiver he was 3 yrs ago. Spaeth is only a blocker and hardly played and Paulson regressed from his rookie year. Jenkins reminds me of Antonio Gates and would be the heir apparent to Heath . Immediate redzone threat at 6’6″ and Haley can employ 2 TE sets.
    97th Shane Skov ILB Born to be a Steeler . Can start immediately. Smart heady player . Can fill and athletic enough to help in pass coverage. High character and a leader.
    118th Jeff Janis WR. 6’3″ 215lbs . A more athletic version of Anquan Bolden. Ran a very fast 4.46. Good hands.and route runner. He and Jenkins give Big Ben the large targets he can use in the redzone .
    157th Brent Urban DE. Being Canadian I admit to being biased about this kid . But , whoa , what a kid ! 6,7″ and 295lbs. Raw and not the sum of his parts but their is talent. Perfect for Coach Mitchell to tear down and build back up. A bigger version of the Beard .
    173rd Aaron Colvin CB . Need to double dip at corner. Ike is 1 and done the following year so is Gay. Have to restock this position. Colvin will not play much but he is tremendous value at this point. Probably would have been a Second rounder before the injury. Good size and play in senior year.
    192nd Shaliq Barrett OLB. Need another OLB prospect. Good size at 6,2′ 250lbs or so. Was coached by Pizzy at Colorado State and Joey can continue building this kid up. I think this player could surprise
    215th Justin Britt OL A project for Munchuck to mold . Gilbert is a FA next year and not sure if I would spend a lot to bring him back. Would rather extend Beachum. This player has good size , strength and potential .
    230th Ladarius Perkins RB. A true scat back. You pound with Bell, Blount and let this guy run. Would be a good 3rd down back and has experience as a kick off and punt returner, so will play special teams. Good hands not a great nlocker but can make people miss.
    UDFA
    Ryann Carruthers NG
    Punter
    CB
    RB
    LB
    There you have it folks. Now rip it apart lol

  • Jeff Anoble

    Steelers stacked at guard. OT not at all. They will 100% be drating an OT.

  • Rick Rogers

    No way.

  • cencalsteeler

    I like the way your thinking there.

  • dgh57

    We’ll still be looking for answers at the CB position with this mock! I know you think they don’t value their CBs that much and one hasn’t been taken in the 1st round since 1997 and blah, blah, blah, but don’t you think that’s the reason why the CB position is in such a mess to begin with? It’s time to change that philosophy and draft Fuller, Dennard. or Gilbert at #15!!

  • steeltown

    I like it for the most part. Im actually a big fan of Seferian-Jenkins, like that you double dipped at CB and I like the Urban and Barrett picks. Also appreciate the late Rd picked used on a scat back

    I dont think R.Carrethers goes undrafted

  • Toddy Bravo

    It need not be one or the other. I think they’ll draft a versatile swingman who can play both positions in rds 4-5.

  • StarSpangledSteeler

    Alex-

    Which of these guys do you expect to become “impact” players?

    (To me, I see a bunch of role players).

  • Asmitty56

    Beckham is okay depending on what’s left on the board. In order my personal board would be Evans, Donald, Barr, Fuller, Gilbert, Tuitt, Dennard, Shazier, Beckham/Cooks, and mix Lewan some where in there depending on if the Steelers haven’t taken him off their board and if they feel M. Gilbert and/or M. Adams do not deserve to be resigned.

  • Asmitty56

    But imo the rest of the mock looks good.

  • Alexander Sebastian Heath

    I lol’d at the comments. The scenario is unlikely BUT i’d be ecstatic to see happen.

    Beckham is in between of Brandin Cooks and Kelvin Benjamin. One’s a superior route-runner and great playmaker for between 20 and 20 yardlines. Benjamin is literally non-exist between those 20’s but he’s a superior redzone weapon. You get half of both in Beckham and not just, Beckham displayed the IQ to start right away.

    Chris Boreland- love him. Not sure how the Steelers feel about him. People talk about OLBs in the draft but they forget about one thing; pass-rushing and blitzing. That is one skillset Boreland excels, he will FIND the hole and attack aggressively. I think what Alex is implying; if we do ever get Boreland, that doesn’t mean Vince Williams won’t get to start. In matter of fact, Timmons’ contract is coming up next season (rather the situation, not the contract itself) where we will have to make a hard decision- keep him or release him. Timmons is a really good player, he is… he’s not the good fit for our defense anymore, he’s the kind of player that will be great ONLY if there are pieces being built around him. Going forward I can see the combo of Vince Williams and Chris Boreland being better than Timmons and Foote. MORE pass-rushing. Of course, this would allow Jarvis Jones to become more effecient in zone plays.

    EJ Gaines, love him, I see him as the most pro-ready zone cornerback. His ceiling isn’t high as you mentioned but yes, he’s more athletic version of Willie Gay.

    I like the Clarke pick, I would substitute Hart pick with.. well okay I might be pushing it but I would like A. Lynch from Georgia with the pick.

    Some late-round prospects are different but first 4 are an A in my book. Good job, Alex!

  • http://thereactionblog.com Michael Stickings

    Interesting that you mention that. It goes back to the idea of having, and targeting, “special” players. We tend to think of them as first-rounders, but there may in the Steelers’ view be “special” players who are flying under the radar a bit. I don’t know if Borland is one of them, but I’m sure the team has a group of second-round possibilities who fall in that category. And if one of them is available… well, you’d be foolish not to go there.

  • Donny Simmons

    Alex- Great work this year. Here is my projection.
    1st – Kyle Fuller CB – VT
    2nd-Jordan MatthewsWR
    VanderbiltSr6-3212
    3rd – Jackson Jeffcoat OLB Texas
    4th- Will Clarke DE WVU
    5th(a)- Ross Cockrell CB Duke
    5th (B)- Justin Ellis NT LA Tech
    6th (a)- Crockett Gilmore TE- Colorado st
    6th (b) – Shaquil Barrett OLB- Colorado st
    7th- Travis Carrie CB- Ohio

  • Alexander Sebastian Heath

    Beckham and Boreland. Others, career starters. We have impact players already in places, we need to surround them with better pieces, that’s the point ofthis draft.

  • Toddy Bravo

    As much as I love Borland’s game, there’s no way we use #46 on him when we desperately need CB, DE, OLB. I’d be on board with drafting him with our 3rd round comp pick, but no higher.

    BTW, a similar type of undersized, ultra-productive player that I really like is Denicos Allen from Michigan State. He’s a 5’10”, 225 OLB who probably has no position in the NFL, but he’s the kind of guy who forces you to put him on the field and is a potential special teams star. He’s currently forecasted to be a 6-7 rd. pick.

  • Asmitty56

    He’s a good receiver. But honestly he just doesn’t seem like the type of player that will be a difference maker. They can get someone similar in the later rounds who would have a similar impact.

  • Alexander Sebastian Heath

    Okay, I got to say something else; people talk about the depth of wide receivers. Okay yeah the depth are there, doesn’t mean THEY will be there by our picks. The talk have cooled down on tight ends which mean people will overdraft the wide receivers (this is just my assumption and I’m pretty sure that’s what will happen anyway) we saw the run on running backs in the draft last year. Some teams actually missed out on some good prospects, should we make the same mistake they made?

    You tell me. We do sorely need a started beside Antonio Brown and that, is why Beckham makes the most sense as a 1st round pick.

  • Asmitty56

    I really wouldn’t want Benjamin unless they use him in similar fashion Graham or Hernandez was used in NO and NE, a slot miss-match against LBs and safeties. With the league wanting tall-ish CBs, most of them would have no problem covering Benjamin.

  • Alexander Sebastian Heath

    We don’t desperately need an OLB- we need a pass-rusher. Denicos Allen, okay tell me what position do you see him play in next level? How is he any different from Terrence Garvin or dare I say, Sean Spence?

  • Alexander Sebastian Heath

    Not just that, for Benjamin to fully blossom as a great flanker/ #2, it’d take years… not worth the pick. Only if we tradeback and he IS the bpa I’ll be okay with him. You are right.

  • Alexander Sebastian Heath

    Seem like you actually agree that Beckham is a special talent, just not a guy with unique size. Don’t know what to tell you, pal, either you do or you don’t.

  • Shannon Stephenson

    Liked Dave’s better but this would work

  • Alexander Sebastian Heath

    We don’t need a #1 though, we need a great complimentary receiver at #2. Beckham is a humble kid who would accept the role best and make the best of it. Beckham’s ability to start right away and take away kick/punt returning job from Antonio Brown would makes most sense. Plus Beckham is a better receiver than Evans, while that’s not saying much for a 1st-round prospect but it does for teams that are size-deprived at receiving positions.

  • Asmitty56

    Yeah 2nd round.. maybe. All depends on who is left. I really wouldn’t touch him at all in the first round.

  • gevins

    I love Borland and would be extremely happy if the Steelers draft him.

  • Alexander Sebastian Heath

    Agree.

  • Asmitty56

    If they’re looking for a compliment receiver then don’t take one in the 1st round. Any GM worth their while knows the value positions offensively are QB, OL, and maybe TE (before Graham and Gronk blows up the market). I disagree that Beckham is better than Evan, I don’t really consider him a better receiver than Cooks either, although Beckham is a more virsitile WR that can play inside and out more effectively than Cooks. I do like his return ability, but let’s be honest once he breaks into near the top of the line up he would likely stop returning punts as well. If I want a WR in the first it would only be Watkins or Evans, but wouldn’t avoid Beckham or Cooks either unless there were better players on the board.

  • SfSteeler

    mock mock the planet mock, dont mock!

    please no more, i really think i can hold my breath til thursday…

  • Toddy Bravo

    1. Ok, what other position do you suggest our 3-4 defense get a pass rush from if not OLB? Nose tackle? Listen, we don’t need a 1st round OLB, but we do desperately need depth at OLB, so I strongly disagree with that statement. Worilds, Jones and Moats are the only locks to make the team. We need another one in the 2-4 round area. I think the visits the Steelers had with Crichton, Jeffcoat, Lawrence, Zumwalt, etc. support my opinion.

    2. What? I just said Allen probably doesn’t have a position, but we have had numerous players in the past make the team as a special teams ace. I think Allen has that potential. In the 6-7 rd., he’s certainly worth taking a flyer on.

    3. For starters, Garvin is primarily an ILB who they tried at OLB. Spence is/would be a roving ILB. Allen probably can’t play either position at his size. Many have said he may be able to play safety, but I frankly have no idea. He’s probably too slow for safety. Again, I think his best prospect would be as a late round special teams demon.

  • Alex Kozora

    Our philosophy isn’t too dissimilar, cornerback aside. Both have an old school ILB in the first three rounds, a WR with good triangle numbers, a five tech in the mid-rounds, double-dipping at corner, an OL in the late rounds, and you could easily replace Berhe with a RB for the final pick.

    Will say it seems a bit unlikely they’ll take Janis…Tomlin has only ever drafted two kids below the FCS level (Nick Williams and Cortez Allen).

    I would love to get a move tight end but concede that just doesn’t seem likely. Team has put very little time bringing tight ends in – Branchflower in the only one. Just doesn’t seem likely. Which annoys me some because I see the immense value of taking one.

  • wdhammer

    If Beckham is there pull the cord this kid can play and play now…..

  • Jollyrob68

    Like this mock but not sure they’d go with Borland in 3rd 2.

  • Alex Kozora

    Cornerback not as big of a mess as people like to make it out to be. Misconception in my mind.

  • Alex Kozora

    Pretty much what the other Alex said. I’d say Clarke has the ceiling to be an impact player too.

  • Tullydew

    If you want Beckham you will have to trade up. He won’t last to #15 pick.

  • Tullydew

    Beckham will be picked in the top 12

  • Toddy Bravo

    Timmons isn’t going anywhere.

  • Toddy Bravo

    One of the better mocks I’ve seen. Maybe we should have J-Peezy announce the 6a and 6b selections.

  • cp72

    I agree. Let’s give Vince Williams one more year. I think he could be a good player because I think he refuses to be average.

  • Doug Sawyer

    with V.Williams and Sean Spence very much in play…I see no way Pittsburgh will spend a top 4 round pick on an LB …and Odell Beckham is a smokescreen

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

    I could easily see them doing so on an OLB, given then uncertainty at the position. ILB I think someone would have to fall to them.

  • Alex Kozora

    Again, not a knock against Williams, I liked what he did last year. Spence is a bonus and can’t count on him. Just a huge fan of Borland and wouldn’t pass him up.

  • Doug Sawyer

    not bad similar to mine in the Ellis and Cockrell picks…my top of the order were different and I noticed you left a RB out of your picks

  • Darryl Battle

    Looks like someone might have read my post on Enunwa. I said the same thing about him about a week ago. Great minds think alike and a true football fanatic can spot talent in the later rounds, whether you are a professional scout or not. Personally though, I would go for Fuller in round 1 and Jordan Matthews in round 2. How can you go wrong with the cousin of Jerry Rice.

  • dave

    I don’t really think it’s a philosophy as much as there hasn’t been a great CB on the board for us in round 1 or 2.
    We missed out on Revis by one pick in 2007.

  • Alexander Sebastian Heath

    Are you sure of that? We also thought Woodley wouldn’t go anywhere last season. Not comparing both on talents and health bills but rather from the standpoint of how do we go forward from here. I’d say its 50/50.

  • Alexander Sebastian Heath

    Oh I agree. I just see an ILB in 2nd as much better value than OLB. That’s from what I’m seeing at this draft and some stuff i’d have done differently as… getting Shaquill Barrett in 6th round. I’m sure Alex himself would have wanted Barrett as well. I do want to see more pass-rushing from our D-line, leave the assignments of read and react to our LBs, Jarvis Jones and Vince Williams showed they are better in zone.

  • Toddy Bravo

    Two entirely different situations. I never thought it was a lock that Woodley would stay. As his lack of conditioning, lack of production and injuries started piling up, I became more and more convinced that he was gone in favor of Worilds. There is none of that with LT, plus Tomlin loves him. My best bet would be about an 85% chance that he’s here long term. LT is the type of high character, high quality player that the Steelers seldom let walk. Woodley never was. We knew that 2 years ago.

  • Virdin Barzey

    I like Beckham and he’s not a reach at 15. That’s all I like from this mock. ILB with the second pick? Really? Couldn’t disagree any more. CB greatest need and totally disagree with the reasoning and the pick for that position.

    Dave’s mock is much better and more in line with what I feel the Steelers should do. No disrespect. Just an opinion.

  • Donny Simmons

    I think RB is good at this point. We just have to many other needs and T. Poole should be a good 3rd down back.

  • steelster

    Borland would never live up to being drafted in the second round. He is short and slow. He is a great run defender but poor in pass coverage. He most likely will be a 2 down linebacker and the steelers need a 3 down linebacker.

  • Lewis

    Beckham is a great talent, but he’s not what the Steelers need. IF they need to go WR in the first round it should be a tall possession receiver

  • Alex Kozora

    No disrespect taken. But you’re focusing too much on the positions and not the players. You draft the latter, not the former.

  • http://batman-news.com steellife007

    The bigger mess last season was a lack of pass rush if you ask me…which has been something our DB’s have not had to deal with in the past. They were spoiled, and not many secondary’s would be able to cover Pro WR’s for as long as ours were expected to last season thanks to our front seven lack of pressure. I know we had 2 rookie LB’s start for us which is not ideal, but how many sacks did they have between them….and then tell me the last time our LB’s sack totals were that low bc I can’t remember….we need to hope that they make great strides during their 2nd year which I do think they are capable of, but we need them to just as much, if not MORE, than we need immediate production from some of our rookies this season.

  • Addison

    Your best mock yet. Thanks for all the work This year Alex!

  • http://batman-news.com steellife007

    Why, if Beckham is better? I’m just curious on your reasoning, because I would rather have the better player and I said it before that I would take 2 AB’s if you gave them to me right now. I know Beckham is no AB yet but just an example.

  • Matt Manzo

    As long as Enunwa gets drafted I’m ok with OBJ.
    I’m still hung up on a tough, tall WR!
    Borland in 2 would surprise me but his character and motor are needed on this team.
    Would rather have Watkins than Gaines!

  • steelster

    Watkins will most likely be drafted before the steelers 3rd round pick. It sucks that the steelers have to pick so late in the 3rd round.

  • steelersfan

    Im ok with Beckham as the pick. But if it’s between him and one of the top three corners- I would rather we draft the corner and wait till the second to draft a tall receiver.

  • Donny Simmons

    Peezy would be great on stage! Give him 1 year with Jeffcoat and he will be nasty good.

  • Lewis

    Because we have 2 abs. AB, Wheaton. Add another with Moore. Where do we struggle though, the redzone. We need a big target, someone who can come down with a few jump balls in the end zone. They are two different types of WR, that contribute in different ways. One of those ways is covered with AB and the rest of the group.

  • Alex Kozora

    2013 – Desmond Trufant goes five picks after Jarvis Jones.
    2011 – Ras-I Dowling and Aaron Williams go two and three picks after Heyward.
    2010 – Kareem Jackson goes two picks after Pouncey.
    2009 – Alphonso Smith goes five picks after Ziggy Hood.
    2008 – Mike Jenkins goes two picks after Mendenhall. Antoine Cason is five after.

    Now of course, most of those guys were busts, but no one knew that at the time. That’s all hindsight.

  • http://batman-news.com steellife007

    I get that, and if the best available WR was tall I would LOVE it bc I to would like a tall WR when all things considering are equal….I just wouldn’t want them to get a tall WR at the expense of getting a BETTER WR that’s all my thinking is. I just don’t feel like we have the luxury of getting to pick specific weapons like that…that’s something say the Seahawks can do bc they don’t really have any holes–pick a tall WR just for redzone purposes. I do know that tall WR would still be playing between the 20’s but not as well as the other better WR would be….and that’s a lot of the playing field. I’m not even saying a prefer WR in the 1st rd or not….but Beckham is really good! And there are only 2 other WR’s in this draft I would take over him, S. Watkins & M. Evans…..and Evans isn’t even better; just taller with great jump ball ability and hands just as good as Beckham…otherwise Beckham is better; better route runner, quicker in and out of breaks, bigger hands, return abilities, better vertical, faster, quicker, better reading defs and zones, etc.

  • http://batman-news.com steellife007

    Thanks for your response though; I just wanted to know your reasoning, and I figured it was the whole redzone thing….able to do some things that AB can’t. I do get it.

  • Lewis

    I actually feel there are a couple that can do both. Mike Evans is the obvious choice for that, because of his height/speed/hands combo. Jordan Matthews would be a good one too, and he might be a suitable pick int he 2nd. I think he’s one of the more underrated WR. Beckham is good, and worth a 15, but knowing that the Steelers have other needs other than WR, my opinion if they can’t get Evans, get a CB or something.

  • dave

    That’s sort of my point – they didn’t pass on the next Rod Woodson with any of those picks – obviously they had Heyward rated higher than Ras-I Dowling, or Pouncey ahead of Kareem Jackson, etc….
    I guess we’ll see this year if they pass on Dennard/Gilbert/Fuller…

  • http://batman-news.com steellife007

    Nothing personal Alex, but there could be a chance that the Steelers knew it and therefore laid off….who knows but also we needed o-line help more the yr we took pouncey, obviously we needed to address OLB last yr more, we needed a RB the yr we took Mendenhall and he was very talented coming out….there’s just other variables to always consider too.

  • http://batman-news.com steellife007

    I would be good with that…..I just wouldn’t want to stay at 15 and pick a WR other than Beckham in the 1st rd. Unless Evans somehow fell to us, I would just assume wait or trade back.

  • Dennis Nevinsky

    Who knows if it is a smokescreen, but I have been reading that some teams are dropping Chris Borland from their draft boards due to medical problems.

  • Alex Kozora

    No one knew those players would bust…most people thought those would be good prospects. Sure, the team probably didn’t like some of them, but unlikely that hated all of them. The point was there were cornerbacks on the board when they picked and they have routinely passed on them.

    Maybe it’ll be different this year. They’ve obviously shown a lot of interest in the position and it stands to reason one of the three will be there (Gilbert, Dennard, Fuller, and I’d even throw Verrett in the mix). But based off past history and what it seems they think about the position, I’d be fine with passing it up.

  • dgh57

    We have but one CB drafted since 2009 still on the roster and that is C. Allen. Even IF he locks down one CB position who’s going to play the other side? K. Lewis is gone. Gay is getting long in the tooth and some would argue he should play the slot. Ike Taylor is over the hill. So while the already listed names could get us by another year I see it still in our best interest to take advantage of our draft position and start grooming the next guy up to play opposite C. Allen because next year Taylor won’t be around and Gay will be another year older.

  • Weiss Chad

    Two busts pick one and two IMO.one can’t catch and the other gives up a million yds to mediocre wr.Like Sentrell Henderson and Thomas.

  • Steve

    What happen to Kevin Benjamin, the tall WR that Colbert wanted? Was never a fan of KB but a lot here were, would rather have Lee from USC.

  • Alex Kozora

    Some teams might bring that up to try and “drop” him but that really won’t work. Though he does have medical problems. Reoccuring shoulder injury. Some teams probably have him off the board because of that.

  • http://batman-news.com steellife007

    I realize they may not have disliked all of them, maybe some, which is why I gave several other examples of us just needing other needs at certain times. Plus, not all teams have the same boards as the media….I just think they valued the other players more. Another example the yr Hayward came out they were hoping badly that he would be on the board when they picked. I’m not saying they will take one in the 1st rd, they might pass on one but if they do I think it will be bc they value someone else more. On a side note: regardless they need a better pass rush…it was not as much of these DBs fault last season as it was the front seven IMO. I think we need aCB or 2 bc of Ike’s age and cortez’s contract yr but make no doubt about it we need more of an immediate impact out of our front seven.

  • Alex Kozora

    I think the bottomline is because we don’t truly know what they thought and who was in contention for the pick, it can’t be used as an argument. Doesn’t have the proper backing. Just go off of the facts. And Colbert has never taken a cornerback in the first round.

  • Matt Manzo

    Yup! An extra third rounder would make such a difference in this draft!

  • Matt Manzo

    I think the need for DL and LBer has made KB a luxury pick. Would be nice to have him but I think we all agree that WR can be had in rnds 2,3 and even 4? I wouldn’t be surprised if we took KB at 15, it seems there is/was a lot of interest in him from the FO. But if Fullers on the board I’d rather have him!

  • Donny Simmons

    I would rather have Lee over Benjamin also. Lee is much more polished and younger. Think Hines Ward with more speed!! Sounds good in the 2nd.

  • Matt Manzo

    I think Matthews is gonna be the best WR in the league! I’m really hoping we get him at 2:15! I hoped for Bell in 2 last year so I think Santa reads my letters! Except the one about Burfict!

  • http://batman-news.com steellife007

    The proper backing is there were more needs than CB during those years and the players they drafted were better prospects…yes prospects meaning even during the time they were drafted. And apparently the proof is in the pudding but you can go with your theory I guess lol. Just answer me one question: you, yourself personally, did you think any of those Cbs at the time were better than the prospect the steelers ultimately did draft? Because I personally didnt…besides ziggy who I just didnt think fit our scheme. Thanks for the article Alex I really do honestly appreciate your articles but don’t tell me I didnt provide you with proper backing.

  • Lewis

    Dang, anyone could have snagged Brufict. Worst part is it makes the Bengals look like geniuses for getting him.

  • Alex Kozora

    You’re missing my point. It’s not about what I think. It’s about what they thought….and we just don’t have those answers. Maybe there was a heated discussion, maybe their were close to taking a corner. We don’t have that info. All we can do is go off the facts…and the facts are they haven’t taken a CB in the first round since 1997.

  • Alex Kozora

    Thanks for checking us out!

  • SteelersDepot

    oh yeah, you are the one that said KB drops too many balls. I remember. Funny you like Lee, who drops even more than KB. http://www.rotoworld.com/articles/cfb/46006/349/peshek-top-4-wr-metrics

  • steelster

    The bengals stole your santa Letter?

  • Alexander Sebastian Heath

    Well yeah you got me. I do think we CAN upgrade Timmons though. Timmons can do anything except for blitzing and pass-rushing (if he’s left unblocked, sure) so.. yeah I feel like people are looking at whole picture; DEs and OLBs are suppose to pass-rush, NT and ILB stay home or zone but… we missed Farrior’s pass-rushing from old days. He’d open up many things for us. That’s why I like Boreland a lot. At 2nd round, you won’t find a better LB than Boreland. Vince Williams are developing as a Mike LB who can absorb blockers and if he does…

    Damn, that’s the 90’s throwback defense we will be seeing. McLendon just may give us flashbacks of Joe Steed. Jarvis Jones and Jason Worilds both probably will remind us the when Carlos Emmons and Jason Gildon became good pass-rushers for us. Boreland intimidates what Kirkland was. Vince Williams give you an old-school Earl Holmes nastiness. Timmons shall be our mr. Versatile, albeit Chad Brown.

    By the way, this was the 95′-96″ defense. Only NOW we have Cameron Heyward who look like our best player in front 7. If (he is but play along) he is, you utilitize him, let him pass-rush more. That’s me.

  • Steve

    Never made a statement about Kevin Benjamin like that, must have me confused with someone else. Did talk about Lee having over 400 yards vrs Arizona.

  • Steelers12328882

    Best part of this mock draft is the double dip at DE. Just my opinion anyways lol.

  • Steelers12328882

    Great work by you and Dave on all the breakdowns this year. If I win the mock draft contrast I owe you a cut lol. Cheers!

  • Weiss Chad

    He probably won’t even be there at 1.15.Could even go top ten.Not a fan of drafting wr in one.For all we know Wheaton might be a stud .If steelers think so Imo no reason to draft wr in first two.I think they do a trade ack and w that second 2 they go after moncrief.

  • Weiss Chad

    What’s Wheaton gonna do?entertain the kicker?Everyone forgets About wheaton

  • Weiss Chad

    I’d rather take Landry in latter rounds as I believe he was better of two wr on that teAm

  • Virdin Barzey

    Disagree again. CB with the first pick only one based on position of need. I like the players that Dave selected better. Lets Go Steelers…..

  • http://batman-news.com steellife007

    Ok but I do get your point, and I can concede the fact that I have no access to their boards…..but at the same time by the theory that we don’t know what they were thinking and what their boards actually were, you do not know either and therefore you have no proper backing for your theory that they do not draft CB’s early. I get it that they haven’t but neither one of us knows why they haven’t….the reason could be because they don’t value CB’s as much in their scheme like you are kinda saying, but the reason could also be because their board didn’t call for it at the time, they had other more pressing needs at the time, etc.

    The only point I have been trying to make is there are other variables to consider than they just haven’t drafted one early in while.

  • Asmitty56

    I guess. I wouldn’t be bent out of shape taking Beckham, I love his precision route running and hands, reminds me a bit of Holmes. But having 3 similar WRs kind of lends me to think that they wouldn’t be keeping Brown or Wheaton long term in the future depending on price and productions, which is not exactly the worst thing ever if Wheaton and Beckham produces a lot. You never want to put too much money in your receivers, the smart money is on QBs, OL, and defense, especially if you have an elite QB.

  • Steve

    If Lee last till 15 in the 2nd round. He reminds me of Lynn Swan, but Lee is quicker than Swan and both from USC.

  • Alexander Sebastian Heath

    Maybe it help you see where I’m coming from. I don’t think Beckham is the best prospect we can get in draft…. but I’m saying he makes the most sense. His readiness helps and versatility are likely to keep him on field.

    I’m not going to deny the depth of position in this draft but… if you were betting, which’s more likely-

    1). We draft a wide receiver in 1st round and a cornerback we want will be there in 3rd round.

    2). We draft a cornerback in 1st round and get a wide receiver that we LIKE in 3rd round?

    We know #1 is very likely. Because of the value and talents those wide receivers have, we are more likely to draft a Wheaton clone in 3rd than getting a Mike Wallace. Point being, if I’m a GM, I don’t gamble in 1st round but I would in 3rd round and later especially when it come to playing time. But and again that’s just me.