With the 2015 NFL Draft upon us, it is time for my final mock draft. This is just some educated guesses at what I think happens and what I think the Pittsburgh Steelers will/may do.
This year is a special year as cornerbacks and outside linebacker are both obvious needs and they are consequently deep at both positions in this draft. It will be interesting to see how this pans out.
My best and final guess:
Round 1 Pick 22 – Marcus Peters – CB – Washington – 5115, 197lbs
With Bud Dupree, Trae Waynes and Kevin Johnson off the board. I am not comfortable with Eli Harold at 22. The Steelers obviously are interested in Peters as they spent time at his pro day, in which the Steelers held a large presence. He was also brought in for a pre-draft visit. I think his off-field issues are taken into consideration, but I feel that they are cleared up. Kevin Colbert likes to go best player available and I think Peters will be atop of their board when pick 22 arrives. Peters is arguably the best cornerback in this draft. His physicality and nastiness he brings is second to none. Could be a day 1 starter.
Other players considered still on the board: Jalen Collins, Byron Jones, Randy Gregory, Shane Ray
Mock draft notes: Collins has his foot issues along with his failing drug tests at LSU. Along with 10 career starts, you’re drafting on his future potential and it is a mystery of what he will become. Not enough to sway me. Gregory and Ray are not a fit in my opinion and their off-field issues hurt. Ray’s toe an issue, too. Jones would be the safer pick, but I think that Peters’ talent cannot be passed.
Round 2 Pick 24 – Nate Orchard – OLB – Utah – 6032, 250lbs
Orchard won the silver medal in the sack category last year with 18.5. He is very consistent in his play and he has no glaring weaknesses. He was very productive his senior year and boosted his draft stock at the Senior Bowl. He wasn’t asked to drop into coverage that often and had only one year of true production. James Harrison can’t play forever, and Jarvis Jones is a huge question mark. Even if Jones plays well, Arthur Moats is not a long term answer. Orchard will provide outside linebacker depth and will contribute on special teams. He may not see much of the field his first year, but that may benefit him in the long run. Orchard was brought in for a pre-draft visit and Steelers staff was present at his pro day, so the interest is surely there.
Other players considered still on the board:, Quinten Rollins, Clive Walford, Alex Carter
Mock draft notes: I chose to pass n Walford because his value would be in the third and the Steelers don’t reach. I didn’t choose Rollins because of my first selection and the need at edge rusher. Even though Rollins could transition to safety, Orchard was too valuable to pass up. Alex Carter is interesting here, too, but my first selection swayed me otherwise. I don’t think the Steelers go cornerback in each of the first two rounds.
Round 3 Pick 23 – Steven Nelson – CB – Oregon State – 5101, 197lbs
Our very own Dave Bryan got me to buy a ticket for the Steven Nelson train. I’ve been interested in him but recently I’ve been extremely interested in him. The Steelers brought him in for a visit, so they’re interested. Doing my breakdown of Jaelen Strong, I noticed how well Nelson handled him and you can see the physicality and toughness that Nelson brings. Excellent in the run game and is a smart player. Round 3 is appropriate in my opinion for someone who can be your guy outside or in the slot. He can play anywhere and do it well. He will also be a force on special teams. One of my favorite prospects.
Other players considered still on the board: Anthony Harris, Doran Grant, Tyler Lockett
Mock draft notes: I am totally happy with this pick. Grant and Lockett were hard to pass up, but Nelson is the physical presence that the Steelers need and provides valuable depth. I think Grant could be moved to safety if need be, and his versatility is intriguing. Steelers love their buckeyes, but Nelson shows more readiness, better run support and is a better athlete.
Round 4 Pick 22 – Jamil Douglas – G – Arizona State – 6040, 304lbs
Kind of a surprise pick here. Douglas is a name not familiar to most. A big kid who played guard his sophomore and junior years then played tackle last season. Steelers love guys who can wear multiple hats. He was a participant of the Senior Bowl and took full advantage. He showed a lot of athleticism and strength that would be an excellent fit to the zone blocking scheme. Douglas had a solid combine. Could be Ramon Foster’s successor and an excellent backup until then. Are you comfortable with Chris Hubbard or Cody Wallace should something happen to Foster? Me either. Could step in and play great at any time. Perfect fit. Has tons of experience and was a leader on the Arizona State’s offense. His bio is a good read.
Scouting Report: N/A
Other players considered still on the board: Adrian Amos, Tyler Kroft, Markus Golden
Mock draft notes: I had Amos slotted here and then I took a breather to think. I see that many teams have interest in Amos and I think he is a minor reach at in the 4th, so I passed. I may regret that, but I would hope he slides to the fifth with so many safeties in this class. I think the early selection of Orchard forced me to shy away from another edge rusher right now. It was hard to pass on Kroft because I think he has huge upside and a tall ceiling, but Douglas will help with depth at guard and is a perfect fit.
Round 5 Pick 24 – Jesse James – TE – Penn State –
I heard from David Todd on The Terrible Podcast that the Steelers love Jesse James, with a capital L. This is a great pick and a great fit. James is tall at 6’7” and is a move tight end that could stand to improve on his blocking. Remember, Heath Miller was not the best blocker in his earlier years. James has room to grow and could be a red zone threat with his size and long arms. James was scheduled to meet with the Steelers and the Steelers attended his pro day.
Other players considered still on the board: Lynden Trail, Jeremy Langford, Kenny Bell
Mock draft notes: *Would have taken Amos if he was here* Some will say Langford should have been the pick, but I feel like DeAngelo Williams will hold down the two spot on the depth chart for the next two years. Trail has the size but comes with character concerns and has no true position. Kenny Bell is intriguing but felt James held greater value here.
Round 6 Pick 23 – Kyle Emanuel – OLB – North Dakota State – 6032, 255lbs
Some insurance for Orchard and some much needed depth. Emanuel will be a special teams demon until he gets some live snaps. He will be battling Shawn Lemon and Howard Jones for a roster spot. He has great size and an endless motor. His production was through the roof and he is a high-character kid with a high football IQ. No doubt Emanuel will give Lemon and Jones a run for their money. The Steelers brought Emanuel in for a pre-draft visit.
Other players considered still on the board: Corey Crawford, Kenny Bell, DeAndre Smelter
Mock draft notes: I wanted to go wide receiver here, but I could not pass up Emanuel. Depth at outside linebacker is needed and Emanuel has the tools to fill the void. Crawford was hard to pass up because of the depth needed at defensive end, but Emanuel is a stellar pick.
Round 6 Pick 36 – Matt Jones – RB – Florida – 6023, 231lbs
I think Jones will be here with such a deep running back class. Jones knows how to convert speed to power while running the football. Needs to show the ability to break a few more tackles but he is a big back who can offer some change of pace in the future. His knee injury Is a concern, but in the 6th it is worth the risk in my opinion. With Le’Veon Bell and DeAngelo Williams as a mentor, I can see Jones succeeding down the road. He would battle Josh Harris for the number three running back role. Would like some special teams value at this juncture, but never know with Jones and what he has to offer.
Scouting Report: http://www.steelersdepot.com/2015/04/2015-nfl-draft-player-profiles-florida-rb-matt-jones/
Other players considered still on the board: DeAndre Smelter, Mario Alford, John Crockett
Smelter’s size is intriguing, but his injuries are a huge concern. He also may not be available for camp. Alford is a running back turned wide receiver and this affected his route running, which is shaky. I think Crockett has value but Jones playing in the SEC opposed to Division 1 football swayed me.
Round 7 Pick 22 – Titus Davis – WR – Central Michigan – 6006, 196lbs
The Steelers brought a few wide receivers in for pre-draft visits, so I was influenced to slot one somewhere and it happens to be here. Davis is an outstanding route runner who has excellent body control and can high point the football well. Playing all four years, he was extremely productive at Central Michigan. Davis caught 204 balls for 3700 yards (18.1 avg) and 37 touchdowns. Davis also returned punts as a junior. He doesn’t have long arms and his level of competition was weak. It is feared that he will not be able to separate from NFL-caliber cornerbacks. Would battle Heyward-Bey for the 4th wide receiver role and will probably end up on the practice squad if he cannot add any value on special teams.
Scouting Report: N/A
Other players considered still on the board: Terry Williams, Tory Slater, Kyshoen Jarrett
Mock draft notes: I really wanted to draft a defensive end, but really could not find value. Weak class. If Slater goes undrafted, I definitely give him a look. Terry Williams would be one of the top nose tackles if it wasn’t for his off-field issues, could end up being a stud in NFL. Jarrett would be a great pick here, could go either way.
Final mock notes: Would to have loved to get a safety or a five-tech defensive end but couldn’t find value. Hopefully Slater or Jarrett are undrafted free agents. I didn’t go defensive end because of the weak class and because I still hope the Steelers sign Alex Carrington after June 1st. Didn’t get Amos in the fifth, either.
Leave your thoughts in the comments below. Let the mocking of my mock begin!
Happy Draft Day!