Favorable Scenarios For Steelers In Round One

As may have been made obvious as a result of my offseason coverage this year, I’m not typically one for creating mock drafts of my own. While I enjoy the what-ifs of perusing the mock drafts of others and the information garnered from reading them, I’m generally filled with a sense of ‘better you than me’ when I’m done.

So you won’t be seeing a mock draft from me, but with draft day finally here, and the opening round set to unfold tonight, I figured I could offer my thoughts on my preferences for how the first round might unfold for the Pittsburgh Steelers.

With the 15th overall pick in what is considered a historically deep draft class, there are many ways the Steelers could go that would not only secure a high-quality player, but also simultaneously fill a need. That tends to be easier to do when you have a smorgasbord of needs throughout the roster. If one of these realistic options should happen to be the 15th overall pick, in no particular order, I’ll consider myself satisfied:

Darqueze Dennard, CB: A player that not only matches the team’s biggest need, but also their modus operandi at that position. Darqueze Dennard is among the most physical players at his position in this draft—certainly at the top of the position.

While he’s more known for his press coverage, the reality is that the Steelers have typically used one corner in press coverage, and that corner, Ike Taylor, is in all likelihood in his last season. Dennard could take over that role in 2015.

Kyle Fuller, CB: Perhaps even more well-rounded than Dennard and with more ideal size, Kyle Fuller screams ‘safe pick’. While it would be preferable to be able to trade down, even to 18 with the Jets, it could be risky if the Steelers want to specifically target Fuller.

A run on cornerbacks wouldn’t surprise me at all, and given the convergence of talent and need at cornerback, I find it hard to conceive of a suggestion that coming out with a premium corner in the first round is not the best case scenario for the Steelers this year. Dennard and Fuller are the two best options, and if one of them is there, I worry about risking losing both.

Odell Beckham, Jr., WR: Sammy Watkins and Mike Evans are expected to be gone by the middle of the first round. Odell Beckham is probably the third-best receiver in this draft, and also fits well with what the Steelers do.

While there’s a higher level of talent at receiver in round two than there is at cornerback, if the draft dictates that receiver is a better option in round one than is cornerback (e.g. if Dennard and Fuller are off the board), it would behoove the team to take advantage of the immense depth at the position and grab one of the top talents.

Ryan Shazier, ILB: Though some argue that Ryan Shazier’s strengths and weaknesses are too similar to that of Lawrence Timmons (i.e. both are best suited for the mack), it could be that the Steelers are headed in that general direction anyway, as evidenced when they selected Sean Spence two years ago. Shazier’s speed and playmaking ability are difficult to overlook, and should compensate for the occasions that he fails to shed a blocker.

C.J. Mosley, ILB: C.J. Mosley and Shazier possess many of the same strengths and weaknesses as well. Mosley might be somewhat more polished and ready to step into a 3-4 defense, but he also has some lingering questions about durability. Still, inside linebacker is not a position to ignore in a 3-4, and there’s no way that the Steelers are married to Spence or Vince Williams.

Trade Back: This draft is difficult to predict. With the amount of talent available in the first round, it presents teams with an abundance of options when it comes their time to pick, so the ripple effect from pick to pick is, I believe, greater than normal.

So it’s hard to say who would be where by the time the Steelers pick, and who would be available in a trade back spot. Would Beckham, Fuller, or Shazier, for example, be available at 22? It’s hard to say. But given the number of quality options, it could be worth taking the risk anyway.

About the Author

Matthew Marczi

Passionate Steelers fan with a bit of writing ability. Connoisseur of loud music. Follow me on Twitter @mmarczi.

  • srdan

    Happy draft day fellas, enjoy it!

  • Steelers12328882

    Aww, c’mon take a shot and make a last minute mock. It’s fun to put your money where your mouth is. Look at how much feedback(and criticism lol) Dave and Alex got yesterday. Well, at least you’re not alone, because there’s only like 30-40 entries in the mock draft contest so far.

  • Jacque Strappe

    It’s finally here. Thank God!

  • steeltown

    No more mock… just reality

  • T R

    Draft day… I’m scared

  • Steeler Fanatic

    Watch the Steelers trade out of the first round and what seemed like a decade of waiting for them to pick a player will have to wait another night. And Goodell wants to push the draft back even further. What’s next a team in London? Oh wait.


    Couldn’t we put this off a few more weeks?

  • steeltown

    I’d be taken aback… but, when I came to my senses I’d be joyful

  • srdan

    For the team it makes sense in a draft abundant with mid round talent. For my draft party tonight it makes no sense. There will be a bunch of people hungover and pissed tomorrow at work. But a more exciting Friday would be a good consolation prize.

  • Nolrog

    I hope 14 QBs go before we pick.

  • It’s possible that Beckham is the key card for the Steelers tonight. He’s been rising up draft boards, or so the “experts” say, and a lot of teams picking behind us, like the Jets and Eagles, seem to like him a lot. If he’s still around at 15, and I do think he will be, that could be a huge bargaining chip for us.

  • Some teams are just that stupid. Unfortunately, not 14 of them.

  • mlc43

    woohoo..some actual football stuff is happening today.

  • Bob Francis

    I agree completely, Dave. A couple wild cards that might add wrinkles in my mind are Aaron Donald and Eric Ebron. If the preferred CBs and WRs are gone but either of those are there and the Steelers cannot trade out, I wonder about the temptation: Donald b/c he’s so good (even if he’s not a scheme fit) and Ebron b/c he would add an offensive weapon and “big target” (even if he can’t block). Ebron might also free up the team from taking a second WR until much later in the draft. Maybe they go Ebron, then defensive all the way until a late RB and/or WR.

  • Eric MacLaurin

    I agree. My mock has us trading out of he first entirely by trading with the niners for 2 – 2nd and 2 – 3rd round picks this year. We wouldn’t be able to target one top guy but I don’t see any one player at 15 I would want over 4 picks on day 2.

    I think your friends would be too busy mocking 6 day 2 picks to be angry. 🙂

  • Eric MacLaurin

    How about a draft day mock draft post for those of us that didn’t want to take the mock challenge? Talk about too much work! I just did 4 rounds for the steelers using a top 300 prospect list and using the pick numbers but it would be a fun exercise on draft day to see everyone post a steelers mock using the same prospect list or mock draft to determine player availability.

  • cencalsteeler

    Hit the nail on the head, nice article!!

  • blackandgoldBullion

    If SF gives us that much, I would think I’ve died and gone to heaven!

  • Jollyrob68

    Trade back I’d like is with Cleveland ask for their 2nd or Both 3rds

  • Jollyrob68

    If they drop back to Cleveland and get their 2nd or two 3rds, Then Trade with Houston for their 2nd & 3rd. I’d take it.

  • Jollyrob68

    Also, people are forgetting about Ha HA Clinton-Dix going before 15

  • treeher

    An early AND mid second rounder? I’d buy that and put a bow on it.

  • blackandgoldBullion

    Steelers 1.15 for SF 1.29 and 2.24. SF picks Beckham or Gilbert or LB. Pitt takes Benjamin followed by OLB Lawrence or Van Noy and CB Stanley Jean Baptiste in the 2nd round Later they take DE Urban in 3, CB Colvin in 4, OT Laurent Tardiff Duvernay in 5, RB Jerrick McKinnon in 5 also, TE Blanchflower in 6, NT Tenni Palopoi in 7. Add a couple more and we are all set. If you wish you can change the first two picks with Shazier and Jordan Matthews. I would be hysterical if it turned out similar to this. Great potential all the down the line.

  • Eric MacLaurin

    Trading the 15th for 56, 61, 77 & 94 would actually be a discount according to the trade chart

  • blackandgoldBullion

    Yes however last year San Francisco was able to trade way up and get only give up an extra third round choice. And this year the draft is even deeper.

  • blackandgoldBullion

    Just so that everyone knows Duverney is an OT from McGill University in Canada. He is studying medicine therefore only practiced once a week during the season. Since Christmas he has trained hard and his measurable’s compare favorably with the top tackles in this years draft. However since he is a Canadian no one knows about him. He may go in the fifth or sixth round and you could end up being the absolute steal of this draft.

  • Eric MacLaurin

    The trade last year was “won” by the 49ers by 80 points giving up 820 and getting 900.

    My trade would also be a niner win but by 89 points 1050 to 961.

    Looks about the same to me.

  • Louis

    The teams that need a QB (Cle, Jax, Min, Ten & Hou) may be great trade partners. If they forego QB with their #1, they could pay the Steelers great value for its #15, both in the form of multiple picks this year and a #1 next year. And let’s face it, most of them
    should have high 1st rounders next year, too. I wouldn’t mind seeing the Steelers trade out of the 1st in such a deep draft in exchange for a 2nd and 3rd this year and a 1st rounder in 2015.

  • Steelers@2010


  • Steelers@2010

    I’m going to say Kyle Fuller will be the pick if he’s there.

  • Steelers@2010

    Knowing the Owners and Goodell, they just may push the 2015 Draft back to 2016, lol.

  • blackandgoldBullion

    Wow! Thank you Eric. I’ll be praying that they can make something like this happen. I know it’s not bloody likely, but I’ll still be keeping my fingers and toes crossed.

  • eric popejoy

    Re-reading this after 1st rd. Other than Dennard, you pretty much nailed it Matt. Impressive.