2014 Steelers Mock Draft Version 4.0 – Final Edition

The 2014 NFL Draft will finally get underway in New York City Thursday evening, so it is now time for my final Pittsburgh Steelers mock draft of the year.

As I say every year, mock drafts are never satisfying to me as the chance of getting all of the picks correct really doesn’t exist. It’s like filling out a March Madness bracket. The pre draft process, however, is satisfying, as I get a chance to watch a lot of tape and read a ton of material on several of the draft hopeful players. Thanks to the draft being moved back a few weeks this year, I’ve had even more time.

You will notice at the bottom of every selection there are nine additional players listed that I considered in each and every round. In rounds five and six, however, I duplicated the nine as both picks existed in the same round. In total, I should have 70 players listed that I considered for this mock draft. My ultimate goal is to have all of the Steelers draft picks come out of that group of 70 players.

I tried to be as thorough as possible with my explanation of every selection, but did not get too deep into player breakdowns this year, as you all should be well acquainted with several of them by now.

If you are going to comment below, please make sure you read the entire post first. Also, if you oppose a selection, please explain why. Any comments that I deem to be non constructive or merely trolling will be deleted.

If you missed my previous three mock drafts, you can read them at the links below.

I hope you have enjoyed the mocks, player breakdowns and discussion this offseason and I invite you to list your final mock in the comments as well.

2014 Steelers Mock Draft Version 1.0 – Post Senior Bowl
2014 Steelers Mock Draft Version 2.0 – Post NFL Combine
2014 Steelers Mock Draft Version 3.0 – Post Pro Days

Round 1 (15th) – CB Kyle Fuller – Virginia Tech

The Steelers have to hit with a cornerback this year that needs to not only contribute later on this season in sub packages, but start in 2015. The top three in this year’s class are Darqueze Dennard, Justin Gilbert and Fuller. There’s a decent chance that both Dennard and Gilbert are off the board come time for the Steelers pick, but regardless, I think Fuller is very well-rounded and have made the argument that he might be the best cornerback in this draft. He’s a natural fit for the Steelers defense and can contribute right away on special teams. It would be even better if the Steelers could trade down a few spots to pick up Fuller and an additional draft pick, but I have no problems taking him with 15th overall pick.

Nine other players I considered here that might be on the board: CB Darqueze Dennard, CB Justin Gilbert, WR Odell Beckham Jr., ILB C.J. Mosley, OLB Anthony Barr, T Taylor Lewan, ILB Ryan Shazier, S Calvin Pryor, TE Eric Ebron

Round 2 (46th) – NT Louis Nix III – Notre Dame

Ideally, I would like Indiana wide receiver Cody Latimer here, but I’m not convinced he falls that far. In addition, Notre Dame defensive end Stephon Tuitt would also look nice here if he fell. So why a nose tackle? First, while I believe Steve McLendon played well last year and will be the starter in 2014, he is expected to have an expanded role in sub packages. In addition, don’t forget that he’s only under contract for two more seasons and is already 28 years-old. The Steelers signed Cam Thomas during free agency, but if you watched his play at nose tackle with the San Diego Chargers, you know he is not a long-term solution. He is best served as a rotational swingman and spot starter. Hebron Fangupo will be 29 in July and is merely a backup with no guarantees he makes the roster. Despite the recent talk of the need for hybrid defensive linemen, the nose tackle position is still pretty important in the Steelers defense. I don’t think the Steelers have given up completely on Nick Williams as a defensive end, either, and when you start counting defensive linemen bodies, you will see there’s room for a young nose tackle and one defensive end. I see Colbert going the “best player available” route here with Nix and I like his chances of still being on the board here. Colbert and head coach Mike Tomlin were both at the Notre Dame Pro Day, so that’s also worth noting.

Nine other players I considered here that might be on the board: WR Kelvin Benjamin, WR Cody Latimer, DE Stephon Tuitt, OLB Scott Crichton, OLB Demarcus Lawrence, WR Jordan Matthews, WR Donte Moncrief, WR Allen Robinson, DE Ra’Shede Hageman

Round 3 (97th) Compensatory – WR Martavis Bryant – Clemson

As you can see by my alternate picks above, I’m not opposed to the Steelers taking a wide receiver in round two and it wouldn’t surprise me if they did. Colbert has preached quite a bit about how deep the wide receiver class is this year, however, and when you consider that he attempted to insulate the depth at the position during free agency with the addition of Lance Moore and Darrius Heyward-Bey, I can see him waiting for value at the position in this draft. Bryant sort of reminds you of a cross between Plaxico Burress and Mike Wallace. He’s fast, he’s tall and he needs work on his route running in addition to his hands. His limited college production combined with a deep class should allow him to drop. Coming out of college, Wallace had speed and never caught more than 39 passes in one season and the Steelers were able to draft him in the third round. Bryant will never be an 80 catch a season guy, but could potentially catch 50-60 balls a season with 7-10 going for touchdowns. He will need a ton of coaching at the NFL level, but has some room for development. He has great size and leaping ability which would make him an asset inside the red zone.

Nine other players I considered here that might be on the board: WR Jarvis Landry, OLB Marcus Smith, OLB Telvin Smith, S Deone Bucannon, OLB Carl Bradford, CB Jaylen Watkins, DE DaQuan Jones, CB Pierre Desir, TE C.J. Fiedorowicz

Round 4 (118th) – OLB Jackson Jeffcoat – Texas

At some point in this draft, the Steelers need start filling the outside linebacker pipeline back up and that process could very well get underway in the first three rounds. Unfortunately, this year’s tweener defensive linemen pass rushers and outside linebacker class is not great. I’m not positive Jeffcoat falls this far, but do believe there’s an outside chance. He has a lot of development ahead of him, but could contribute as a rookie on special teams while he learns the position and gets stronger. He has an NFL bloodline and flashed at times while at Texas. If the Steelers were to pick up a third round pick in a trade, I could see Jackson going in that round just as easy.

Nine other players I considered here that might be on the board: DE Will Clarke, OLB Morgan Breslin, ILB Jordan Zumwalt, WR Bruce Ellington, OLB James Gayle, TE Arthur Lynch, T Michael Schofield, RB Lache Seastrunk, CB E.J. Gaines, ILB Preston Brown

Round 5 (157th) – RB Devonta Freeman – Florida State

At some point, I also expect the Steelers to address the running back position by adding a change of pace back. Enter Freeman, who can not only run inside the tackles, but outside as well. Due to him being undersized and not an every-down back, I can see Freeman possibly slipping to round five. His draft rankings have been all over the place, however, but I have 10 other backs rated ahead of him. Could he be a fourth-round option for the Steelers? It’s possible.

Nine other players I considered here that might be on the board: DE Taylor Hart, RB Jerick McKinnon, RB James White, RB De’Anthony Thomas, DE Brent Urban, NT Justin Ellis, CB Shaquille Richardson, ILB Kevin Pierre-Louis, WR Devin Street

Round 5 (173rd) Compensatory – CB Ross Cockrell – Duke

I think Colbert really has an eye for Cockrell and the fifth round is perfect for the second cornerback to be selected in this draft. Cockrell is very smart, but very raw with his technique. He also has good size outside of his small arms. His NFL career might start inside as a nickel or dime back and he should be a reliable special teams player as well.

Nine other players I considered here that might be on the board: DE Taylor Hart, RB Jerick McKinnon, RB James White, RB De’Anthony Thomas, DE Brent Urban, NT Justin Ellis, CB Shaquille Richardson, ILB Kevin Pierre-Louis, WR Devin Street

Round 6 (192nd) – TE Rob Blanchflower – Massachusetts

While he has had problems staying healthy at the college level, Blanchflower looks good on tape when he plays. He has tremendous upside as an all-around tight end and the Steelers reportedly brought him in for a visit. I’m not positive they draft a tight end this year, but it wouldn’t hurt to take a stab at one late in the draft this year.

Nine other players I considered here that might be on the board: G Brandon Thomas, TE Blake Annen, OLB Prince Shembo, OLB Derrell Johnson, DE Josh Mauro, WR John Brown, G John Urschel, RB Lorenzo Taliaferro, FB Trey Millard

Round 6 (215th) Compensatory – OLB Shaquil Barrett – Colorado State

I have been on Barrett for quite a while because of his link to Joey Porter. Porter got the best out of Barrett at Colorado State last season, so he ought to know everything about him and what his ceiling is. Barrett would make a great second outside linebacker prospect and this team currently needs that.

Nine other players I considered here that might be on the board: G Brandon Thomas, TE Blake Annen, OLB Prince Shembo, OLB Derrell Johnson, DE Josh Mauro, WR John Brown, G John Urschel, RB Lorenzo Taliaferro, FB Trey Millard

Round 7 (230th) – S Nat Berhe – San Diego State

Clearly a shot in the dark. The Steelers sure seem interested in strong safety types during the pre draft process and while he lacks ideal size, Berhe sure isn’t afraid to tackle and play downhill. He could certainly contribute on special teams if he were to make the roster. If not, he would be a good candidate for the practice squad. The Steelers interviewed Berhe at the combine back in February.

Nine other players I considered here that might be on the board: NT Beau Allen, NT Ryan Carrethers, CB Brandon Dixon, CB Travis Carrie, ILB Andrew Jackson, WR Quincy Enunwa, T Seantrel Henderson, G/T Brandon Linder, CB Andre Hal

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

    You want to use a second round pick on someone who will only play a small portion of the game and can’t rush the passer?

  • ATL96STEELER

    Kudos Dave…excellent mock!

    If Evans and Watkins are gone (which most likely they will be) I like Fuller, tough player…Didn’t like him at all @ 15, Love Nix @ 46…Because I like R. Carreuthers, I would be jittery leaving some tall WRs on the board here, but I would make that same pick.

    Risk thinking M. Bryant lasts to 97, but I would really be content with the 1st 3 rounds.

    I agree on Shaq…in the 4th I might look at McCullers from TN here and get another DL in the fold.

  • ATL96STEELER

    Yes, I would in this case, but I do like Ryan Carreuthers who I think can serve the same role later….aside from maybe WR I’m not expecting a rookie from this class to start…There’s no NT on the roster under 29…if Nix fell to 46…I would be fine.

  • Steelers12328882

    Cam Thomas is 27, although he’s supposed to play both NT and DE, but because of him I think Fangupo is done, which also ruled out an early NT in my mock draft.

  • chris ward

    Nice Mock Dave, really like Fuller in the first round for the Steelers. Also, like the two OLB’s in the mock, Steelers need depth behind Jarvis and Worilds.

  • ATL96STEELER

    Yea…Thomas okay, but I look at him as a stop gap and Fang is having trouble being active for games…as mentioned I could make this pick or take the tall WR here and go after a NT later…the kid from Ark St. peaks my interest.

  • ApexSteel

    I wouldn’t. I don’t know who else is on the board obviously, but I would rather just draft an end at some point (Dominique Easley or Ra’Shede Hageman) and resign Keisel.

  • Myster E

    As usual Dave, you’ve hit the mark.

  • John21

    The Man-Love Mock! If it falls like this I would be happy.
    How would you react if we take Hageman in round 1?

    I like Gilmore over Blanchflower. Hope we bring back LSH. Direct Freeman pick to LB or OL. Grab a scat back as UFA

  • steeltown

    I like it!

  • Steelers12328882

    Active is my issue. I’d have a hard time believing the Steelers would be able to activate McClendon, Thomas and a 2nd rd pick Nix for games.

  • srdan

    if the cards fell this way, I would be ok with it. I really like your third and fifth.

  • kev4heels

    very nice dave. i would switch up 2nd and 3rd rounders though. in the 2nd, i would take lattimer and in the 3rd daquan jones or justin ellis.

  • Douglas Andrews

    I like Nix at pick 46 good value. I’m also sold on Fuller at 1.15 perfect fit for the Steelers good all around CB aggressive and tackles well

  • BradleyT

    Nice mock, but I seriously hope we don’t pass on K. Benjamin if he’s there in the 2nd

  • http://thereactionblog.com Michael Stickings

    The Bryan-Mayock combo has talked me into Fuller, even ahead of Dennard, but of course the ideal situation would be to trade back in the first to get him. But of course we shouldn’t expect that, and if they really like Fuller they should just take him. I just think it’ll be easier to find WR talent later on, so a CB would be my pick over Beckham. (It’s another story if Evans falls.)

    As much as I like Nix, and it would be great to get a first-round talent that late, I’d much rather see them grab Benjamin or Latimer, and probably even Tuitt or Crichton. This is where a trade with the Eagles, swapping first-round picks and getting maybe their second, would be fantastic. But it’s hard to knock Nix. A Fuller-Nix combo would, at least on paper, be a huge upgrade for the D going forward.

    Beyond that, I love the rounds 5-7 picks, especially Cockrell and Blanchflower. Imagine coming away from this draft with Fuller and Cockrell! And Berhe seems like a good kid who might just make it.

    I confess to knowing little about Jeffcoat, so I’ll take Dave’s word for it. Looks like he’d be a solid pick, especially if the Steelers don’t end up with Barr in the first.

    I guess one question is who are the potential wild cards in the first? If it’s not one of the top 3 CB, and not Beckham, who would shake things up and force a changing of plans? Maybe Barr. But have we ruled out Ebron entirely? I was off him, but if for some reason he falls… okay, I’m overthinking. Let’s just do this already!

  • SteelersDepot

    I hope Latimer falls there. As I mentioned above, I REALLY wanted to put him there

  • Biggie

    Not bad at all, Fuller/Nix would be incredible start to the draft, can’t imagine Nix falling that far but would great welcome it. Not a fan of Bryant, poor hands and drops way to many and there are other options in Rd 3 (Ellington, Richardson, Abbrederas, Coleman). Definitely not a fan of Jeffcoat, nothing more than developmental backup OLB who needs to get way stronger and better at run support. I do like Freeman, Cockrell, Blanchflower additions, though not sure Freeman will drop that far.

  • ATL96STEELER

    Yep…knowing who is there is the key…I would not leave Hageman on the board either, but I’m thinking he’d be gone…Brett…if they were closer to a AFC champ type team I would too. But realistically, this team could finish 11-5 or 9-7…still a work in progress…younger is the way to go.

  • tcirish53@gmail.com

    I think this draft would work very very nicely for us, and I would be thrilled if it turned out this way.
    I would be tempted to double dip on CB in rd 4 or 5 though, instead of taking an OLB or RB. A quality RB in particular is something that can be had either later in the draft or via UDFA.
    But I would be happy if things turn out this way on Thurs/Fri/Sat

  • ATL96STEELER

    I’m still on Ebron, but my concern is Haley trying to make him a traditional TE…A Barr pick obviously means they’re not 100% on Worilds, or Jones.

  • dkoy85

    Good mock! Latimer is one of my favorite players. Have been trying to make a way for him to fall- stranger things have happened. I’d love to see what they do if Tuitt, Nix AND Latimer are on the board for our 2nd pick. Also wouldn’t rule out Benjamin being there(slim chance I know) as he would be my ideal 2nd round choice. Really hoping at least one of those 4 is available.

  • Justin Barlow

    I agree with everything on here if we were to swap the positional selections in rounds 2 and 3.

    Its hard to know what might be there, but I really prefer that we get a 5 tech guy and wait on it. Nix just doesnt seem like hed be able to play in sub packages. If he cant, hes not worth a 2nd rounder. Just my opinion. The other reason I would like to see the swap is that I cannot get excited about Martavis Bryant. He reminds me too much of Sweed. Too skinny, drops. I want us to get Benjamin after Fuller and I dont care if we have to trade up to do it. I think its critical.

  • http://www.nyob.com/ Dr. Doom

    I don’t love it, but I don’t love it either.

  • dkoy85

    So you… don’t love it? :-D

  • dennisdoubleday

    I think that’s what he’s saying…

  • Brian K

    The only changes I would make is I would draft Crichton in the second and Beau Allen in the seventh. Other than that A++

  • Jeff Anoble

    The only thing better is if we land Fuller after a slight trade down! Also like the CB from Arizona better then Cockrell. Maybe the TE from Cincinnati better then Blanchflower as well. Great job and thanks for your unbelievable draft prep this year.

  • SteelersDepot

    I really like Crichton as well. Good kid with good upside. Would not be mad if he is the pick.

  • Shannon Stephenson

    If the draft went down that way I would not be upset at all. I feel it was a good mock and a good representation at what we could expect the Steelers to do

  • Asmitty56

    Decent mock. I wouldn’t bother with Martavis Bryant, or Jackson Jeffcoat though.

  • Asmitty56

    I only disagree with it in the first round. 2nd round I’d start warming up to the idea. Everyone needs a few good situational/rotation players on the DL.

  • http://thereactionblog.com Michael Stickings

    Let me second that. I think a huge part of my obsession with this year’s draft comes from all the great information on this site as well as on the podcast. Really helpful sorting through a fascinating draft class and what could be a crazy weird draft.

  • Donny Simmons

    Like it. Good job Dave. I think Jeffcoat will be a steal in 2 years.

  • Jollyrob68

    Yes it’s a smart move. Nt is the heartbeat of the 34d and getting Nix in round two is great value

  • Jollyrob68

    I’d love this draft

  • cp72

    Dave I would like to challenge you about something in your mock….but I can’t it’s well thought out and logical. I would take this draft in a heartbeat.

  • StarSpangledSteeler

    As fans we sometimes forget that most “good” drafts produce 3-4 starters. Can I see 3-4 starters in this draft?… Probably.

    Obviously Fuller is going to start as a #1 or #2 CB. The big question is Cockrell. If he develops into the guy they hope, that potentially gives us a 3 CB combo of:

    Cortez Allen – Kyle Fuller – Ross Cockrell (for years to come) (not bad)

    I personally see Nix as a good solid average NT in the NFL. I don’t see anything near Casey Hampton or Dontari Poe level of talent when I watch Nix’s tape. Will he be an upgrade to McClendon? Probably. But not by much IMO.

    If Bryant falls to 3.comp it will be a miracle IMO. He provides enough upside to make me consider him an eventual starter.

    Fuller – Cockrell – Nix – Bryant. I don’t see any pro bowlers there but I didn’t see any in Hines Ward, Antonio Brown, Mike Wallace either. So we’ll see…

  • Big White

    Gonna be a fun draft. Oh and by the way, good call by the league to move the 1st round into primetime middle of the week.

  • cp72

    I think Freeman compares favorably to Zac Stacy. Both are a little undersized but run with a lot of attitude. He would be a quality add in the 5th round.

  • ApexSteel

    That’s true, but we spend most of our time in sub packages and at 330+ he won’t be very effective in a nickle package.

  • Virdin Barzey

    Love this one. I agree with just about all of them. Best mock I’ve seen. Would be real happy it played out this way.

  • Steelers58

    You still have to play downs one and two. Take care of the first two downs and worry about third later.
    This kid

  • DB84

    Agreed. This would also solve our DE problem since McClendon could switch over to DE. I would love Nix in the 2nd!

  • steelster

    If the steelers trade down with the eagles then I hope they consider Latimer at 22. If they trade down with the 49ers they better pick Latimer at 30.

  • http://www.nyob.com/ Dr. Doom

    Don’t hate it either lol

  • j m

    No offense, but taking the third best CB (or third best at any position) at the 15th overall pick is just not smart and is the very definition of a reach.

  • steelersfan

    I would be very happy if this happens

  • Donny Simmons

    Give Nix 1 year with coach Mitch and he can be close to Big Snack. He played hurt most of last year. He has the quickness and power just needs work on leverage like most collage NT’s

  • steelster

    Mike Mayock has fuller rated number one. Fuller fits the steelers well.

  • WilliamSekinger

    Congrats for the most complete write-up of a mock draft I’ve seen in a while. I really like that you list 9 other players you considered for that round. No one is ever going to agree on everything, but you provided details and insight about your thought process throughout this mock. Very well done.

  • WilliamSekinger

    You don’t seem to understand that Fuller may very well be the very best CB in the draft for their defensive scheme. Sounds like you may be buying into other peoples player rankings a little too much.

  • ApexSteel

    It’s not a just third down defense. We spend MOST of our time in sub packages. Nix would only play in our base and maybe in big nickle. And trust me everyone remember Casey Hampton, but the NFL has changed a lot even since then (The running game is becoming an afterthought) and Tomlin even acknowledged that position flexibility is important up front. Nix has none.

  • Weiss Chad

    I like it a lot.Would love if Tuitt fell bit doubtful in second.Here is best I got
    1.kyle fuller
    2steven Tuitt or lemarcus Joyner/
    3.moncrief or Jarvis Landry
    4.jeffcoat
    5.taylor hart
    5.deanthony Thomas
    6.blanch flower
    6.sentrell Henderson
    7.andrew jackson(one of my favs)

  • AzheDraven

    Idk why I have never liked Nix III.
    I’d like a Fuller, Benjamin, and my draft knowledge goes no beyond that point but id like DeAnthony Thomas at the 5th. Maybe Shayne Skov at third or fourth round.
    But I really liked this mock.

  • SteveM2

    I’d like to see the Black & Gold draft Towson State’s RB, Terrance West, late in this draft. West was the main reason, after Towson’s starting QB was injured, why Towson came back and won their NCAA division’s championship game, and is a tough runner.

  • Weiss Chad

    The third best of the three?I disagree.Im hoping he’s there at 15

  • SteelersDepot

    third best according to who? you?

  • Dave Bradley

    Isee many mock draft “experts” have the Steelers selecting a WR at 15. If the Steelers do not take Defense with the 15th pick, whom ever is in charge of the selection process should be fired.

  • WIINGY

    Yeah Steve only had around 330 snaps last year if I recall. I suppose the question should be….. Can Nix play in a sub package? Can he get pressure up the middle? If yes, then I’d take him.

  • Reg Sayhitodabadguy Hunt

    Um no it’s not considering the fact that we pick right in the middle of the draft i’ll be doing back flips if we selected top three of each pick

  • Reg Sayhitodabadguy Hunt

    I would love this draft

  • ApexSteel

    No none whatsoever from what I’ve seen. It seems like his only claim to fame is being really fat.

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

    This would be incredible!!!