With free agency dwindling down, it’s appropriate to conduct another mock now that the roster is a little bit clearer. One more mock will be conducted, coming shortly before the draft.
As I’ve done throughout this series, I used the simulator on fanspeak.com. I did, however, change the board I used from Fanspeak’s to Matt Miller’s board. Comparing the different boards, I found his to be a little more accurate.
This is based off of what I think the team should do if I ran the war room. Tell me what you agree and disagree with in the comments below. Continue to round out my player knowledge and feel more comfortable in my mock.
Round 1 Pick 22 – Marcus Peters – CB – Washington – 5’11/5 197
If you listened to the most recent The Terrible Podcast, you found out Dave-Te Thomas’ love for Peters. I’m not quite at that level but consider me a big fan. Most talented on-field corner in this draft, above Trae Waynes and the rest.
It’s impossible to say what Peters will be like off the field but Peters has been accountable and remorseful in comments about his transgressions that led to his dismissal.
The Steelers’ off man scheme may not seem to mesh with Peters’ physical, press nature on paper but it’d be foolish not to play him to his strengths. Ike Taylor played plenty near the line of scrimmage, too.
Though rare for the team to select the position so highly, the team hasn’t been in this need of a cornerback for a long time. Takes some of the pressure off the front office hoping Cortez Allen pans out.
Without a strong pass rusher on the board or any top guards falling, I went with the best talent.
Other Players Considered on the Board: DeVante Parker, Todd Gurley, Jake Fisher
Mock Draft Notes: Names are a bit unconventional and would’ve stirred up a lot of controversy. From a strict talent standpoint, these are some of my best players on the board. Parker would upset many but you can’t deny the talent.
Round 2 Pick 24 – Maxx Williams – TE – Minnesota – 6’3/7 249
Back to my boy from up north. A 20 year old, ten year future starter in the league? Where do I sign up? There are a lot of mid to late round tight ends I’d be fine with taking if I couldn’t grab someone like Williams early. But I’m not passing up the value.
He can step into Heath Miller’s role next season and the team won’t have to worry about its starter for another decade. A refined blocker for his age with natural hands, he’s got NFL in his family tree and will make a great fit in Pittsburgh.
Other Players Considered on the Board: D.J. Humphries, Henry Anderson, Markus Golden
Mock Draft Notes: A lack of strong competition for the selection made choosing Williams a little easier. Humphries would be the most talented guy on my board. I really like Anderson but the second round seems a little high. Ditto for Golden.
Round 3 Pick 23 – Tyler Lockett – WR – Kansas State – 5’9/7 182
I am in the interest in filling needs. But I’m also in the interest of gathering up as much talent as I can. It’s the best way to ensure success. Said I would take Lockett and there’s no way he falls out of the third. He may be small but has the defined role a player like Dri Archer didn’t.
Arguably the best route runner and separator in this year’s class with terrific body control and stellar return value. Multi-facet player who is going to help you win several ways. Steelers run a ton of 11 personnel and are one injury away from seeing a whole lot of Darrius Heyward-Bey. Nobody wants that.
Other Players Considered on the Board: Markus Golden, Davis Tull, Donovan Smith
Mock Draft Notes: Golden would’ve been my pick had Lockett been off the board but there’s no question the receiver is the superior prospect. Tull is an interesting project. Smith moves quite well for a big guy.
Round 4 Pick 22 – Eric Rowe – FS – Utah – 6’0/6 205
Rowe is another Dave-Te Thomas favorite and probably the guy who made me “wake up” to him. Rowe will probably go much higher than the 4th come the real deal – this simulator is still lagging in adjusting Rowe’s stock.
Profiled him a while ago and while I wasn’t convinced he can stick at corner – who was a safety moved to corner out of need, after all – he shows excellent ball skills. Finds and high points the ball as well as any defensive back in this class, frankly.
Has versatility. Can play the slot the way Shamarko Thomas was asked to his rookie year or perhaps Thomas goes back to that role in subpackage football while Rowe patrols center field. Rowe gives you options and will become a playmaker in the secondary. Something they sorely missed last year. Don’t need to remind you that the Steelers were the only team in the NFL not to get an interception from their safeties in 2014.
Other Players Considered on the Board: Davis Tull, Adrian Amos, John Miller
Mock Draft Notes: Tull narrowly misses the cut. Amos was close too and is cut from a similar cloth to Rowe. Don’t be surprised if the former Penn State safety shows up in my final mock – I’m a fan. Raved about Miller from day one.
Round 5 Pick 24 – Davis Tull – OLB – Tennessee-Chattanooga – 6’2 246
I get it. I don’t like waiting on an outside linebacker, either. Beyond round two, the depth becomes surprisingly thin. After my second round selection, and even then I was only looking at guys like Trey Flowers and Lorenzo Mauldin, the following outside linebackers I would have had an opportunity to select were: Za’Darius Smith, Zach Hodges, Kyle Emanuel, and Hau’oli Kikaha. Small pool to select from and not many inspiring selections.
If there is any other defense for waiting, the track record for success over the last two years at the position isn’t kind. Tough transition to make. Since 2013, no rookie edge rusher had more than five sacks.
Tull is a player I, truthfully, need to do homework on. But he sent everyone scrambling to the tape after touching 42.5 inches in the vertical and 11 feet even in the broad. Despite a dinged hamstring, he still managed to run a 4.57 at his Pro Day.
Surgery to fix a torn labrum is going to knock him down some boards but I like the value. Developmental guy who can hopefully be able to contribute in 2016. By then, we’ll know where the team is going to stand with Jarvis Jones. Make it or break it year for him.
Other Players on the Board: Josh Robinson, Jeremy Langford, Derrick Lott
Not a lot else that was appealing to me so I threw up two of the top runners. Like Tull’s teammate but it’s too early for Lott.
Round 6 Pick 23 – Josh Robinson – RB – Mississippi State – 5’7/7 217
Robinson was a player that appeared in my last mock. This time around, I get him a full round later. He’s short, not small, and packs a wallop of a punch. Bowling ball who is extremely difficult to bring down. Fearless dude that gives him a boost in pass protection.
Love the value and really puts the Steelers in a good place at the position. All-star in Le’Veon Bell, a veteran in DeAngelo Williams, a rookie in Robinson, and a wildcard in Archer.
Other Players on the Board: Corey Crawford, DeAndre Smelter, Robert Myers, Joey Mbu
Mock Draft Notes: Lots of good competition for this pick. If I hadn’t snagged Lockett early, you can bet I would have been targeting Smelter in the last two rounds. Always been a fan of Mbu’s body type. Just haven’t been able to throw on the tape yet.
Round 6 Pick 36 – Corey Crawford – DE – Clemson – 6’5 283
First mock draft with a compensatory pick. This one is getting hung up on the fridge. Watched the tape on Crawford and will have a scouting report going up on him later in the week. Has the frame to add weight with the height and length (34 1/2 inch arms) the team desires from a five tech. Good athlete who played a lot out of a two point stance though is more natural with his hand in the dirt.
Another developmental prospect who must improve his upper body strength, but with the team seemingly intent on keeping Cam Thomas, there won’t be a need to give Crawford many snaps in year one, anyway.
Other Players on the Board: DeAndre Smelter, Robert Myers, Joey Mbu
None of the previous players went off the board. Chose Crawford over Mbu because I’m more comfortable talking about his game.
Round 7 Pick 22 – Robert Myers – OG – Tennessee State – 6’4/6 326
Another small-school player I need to dig up some tape on. Watched him at the Combine and came away impressed with his athleticism. Times reflect that, turning in a rock solid ten split. The team has to still be seeking interior line help after selecting Wesley Johnson last year and making no additional improvements to the group after losing him to the New York Jets. Myers will add that competition. Could easily see him beating out Chris Hubbard.
The Steelers typically shy away from small school kids but if there’s a time they seek them out, it’s with their final selection. Since 2009, Mike Tomlin has taken three players from small Division One or FCS level schools. David Johnson from Arkansas State in 2009, Nick Williams from Samford in 2013, and Rob Blanchflower from UMass in 2014.
Other Players Considered on the Board: Clayton Geathers, Ryan Russell, Mario Alford
Mock Draft Notes: Geathers shouldn’t be dropping this far and is a product of a quirky sim. Would’ve scooped him up two rounds ago if I hadn’t already taken Rowe. Russell, an edge rusher from Purdue, is a player I’ve been meaning to check out. Anytime a player with sub 4.3 speed, like Alford, is sitting on the board in the seventh, you have to at least consider him.
A final look at my third mock.
Hope you enjoyed it. For comparison, below are the links to my two previous mocks.