2015 Steelers Mock Draft Version 4.0: Final Edition

The 2015 NFL Draft will get underway Thursday night in Chicago, so I might as well beat the rush and go ahead and release my final mock draft on this Monday.

If you missed my previous three mock drafts, or educated guesses as I like to call them, you can find them at the links below.

As I say every year, mock drafts are never satisfying to me as I know the chance of getting all of the picks correct really doesn’t exist. It’s a losing proposition and several of the picks are sure to not please the masses. The pre-draft process, however, is satisfying to me, as I get a chance to watch a lot of tape and read a ton of material on several of the draft hopeful players.

One again, you will notice at the bottom of every selection there are nine additional players listed that I considered in each and every round. In round six, however, I duplicated the nine as both picks existed in the same round. In total, I should have 71 players listed that I considered for this mock draft and my ultimate goal is to have all of the Steelers eight draft picks come from that group of 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 thanks to the hard work that Alex Kozora, Chris Nicolaou and Luke Shabro put in over the course of the last several months.

As usual, included below is my yearly red disclaimer.

************** If you are going to comment in this post please add value to the discussion. The rounds here are not important and you are not helping the discussion exercise by saying “Player X” will not last that long or is being drafted too soon. Please add what you like and dislike about a certain player and feel free to add your own mock as well. Remember, the discussion should be centered around the players, not the rounds they are drafted. Mock drafts are never perfect, but the value of them is in the discussion about the players. If I feel you are not adding value with your comments I will simply delete them. Go elsewhere if you want to be a nuisance or a troll. **************

Previous mocks:

2015 Steelers Mock Draft Version 3.0: Post Free Agency

2015 Steelers Mock Draft Version 2.0: Post Scouting Combine

2015 Steelers Mock Draft Version 1.0: Post Senior Bowl

Round 1 – Pick 22 – Kevin Johnson – CB – Wake Forest

Surprise!!!!!! After swearing all offseason that I wouldn’t be mocking a cornerback in the first round, I have changed my mind. So why did I change my mind and why was Johnson the one that changed it? For starters, it’s no secret that the Steelers are interested in him as general manager Kevin Colbert, head coach Mike Tomlin, defensive backs coach Carnell Lake, player personnel director Dan Rooney Jr. and pro personnel coordinator Brandon Hunt all attended his Pro Day. That wasn’t enough, however, to change my mind. In addition to the Pro Day representation and subsequent dinner with the player, of all of the cornerbacks who seem poised to be drafted in the first round, Johnson best fits the Steelers defensive scheme, in my opinion. If you remember, I spent quite a bit of time going back over several of Johnson’s since 2012, so I was able to take a long look at him.

The Steelers still didn’t bring Johnson in for a pre-draft visit, but in the end, I don’t think that matters. What really got me going in the other direction was the fact that Tomlin has a history with Johnson’s college position coach, Derrick Jackson, who was a coaching intern with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers when Tomlin was on the staff there coaching the defensive backs. Jackson said recently that the Steelers scouted Johnson throughout last season, so they likely knew enough about him both on and off the field that they didn’t deem it necessary to bring him to Pittsburgh for a visit.

As a pointed out several weeks ago, selecting Johnson in the first round goes against several trends associated with the Steelers dating back to Colbert’s first year with the team, but I truly believe they are willing to buck those for Johnson, who has a good shot at still being on the board come time for the 22nd overall selection.

On top of everything above, the Steelers really didn’t bring in many players for visits at positions of immediate need that are first-round worthy. Sure, they brought in Marcus Peters, Randy Gregory, Eli Harold and Eric Rowe, but in my opinion, only the first two are first-round worthy and both had character red flags that needed investigating. Yes, an argument can be made for wide receivers Breshad Perriman and Jaelen Strong, but in the end, I just can’t see them going in that direction.

Johnson’s shortcomings are well known and they start with his tackling ability and concerns about his size. His weight is going in the right direction, however, and being as he played special teams at Wake Forest, he’ll have some time during his rookie season to work on his tackling as a special teams member with the Steelers.

So, for a second-consecutive year, I have the Steelers drafting a cornerback in the first round after swearing that I wouldn’t. I think the evidence leading up to the draft supports my decision in addition to the fact that the Steelers really need a cornerback early this year. They have to come away with a long-time starter early.

Nine other players in order that I considered that might still be on the board: OLB Alvin Dupree, CB Marcus Peters, CB Byron Jones, OLB Shane Ray, OLB Randy Gregory, WR Jaelen Strong, S Landon Collins, DT Malcom Brown, T Andrus Peat.

Bio: http://www.wakeforestsports.com/sports/m-footbl/mtt/kevin_johnson_584930.html

Round 2 – Pick 24 – Preston Smith – Mississippi State

I was really glad to see Smith come in for a pre-draft visit on the final day as I would’ve been surprised had he not come to town. The Steelers need a strong-side outside linebacker that can not only play the run, but also get after the quarterback. And while Smith is a little larger than the normal tweener at 6-4, 271-pounds, he moves extremely well for a player of his size. That movement you can see on tape in addition to his 4.74 second 40-yard dash, 4.28 second 20-yard shuttle and 7.07 second three-cone drill. He also did 24 reps on the bench. He started 24 games in the SEC and registered 11.5 sacks and 21.5 tackles for loss over the course of the last two seasons. He was reportedly a team captain and possesses a great character. He’s very likable when you watch his interviews and comes off as an intelligent player. While he doesn’t have elite bend, he can turn the corner. He can also two-gap and that means he would potentially make a great elephant defender in the Steelers defense.

While you will see below that I considered several other players at this spot, it really came down to Smith, Nate Orchard and Eli Harold. If both Smith and Harold are already off the board come time for this selection, I really have no qualms with Orchard being the pick. In short, I think round-two we’ll see an outside linebacker chosen if the position is bypassed in the first.

Nine other players in order that I considered that might still be on the board: OLB Eli Harold, OLB Nate Orchard, OLB Owamagbe Odighizuwa, OLB Hau’oli Kikaha, OLB Danielle Hunter, T T.J. Clemmings, NT Eddie Goldman, DE Xavier Cooper, WR Sammie Coates.

Bio: http://www.hailstate.com/ViewArticle.dbml?ATCLID=205181802

Round 3 – Pick 23 – Tre’ Jackson – G – Florida State

Should the Steelers wind up taking a cornerback and an outside linebacker in the first two rounds, it will leave a lot of possibilities in round-three when it comes to best player available versus need. According to my final rankings, Jackson, who mostly played right guard at Florida State, very well could fit both of those categories. Colbert, Tomlin and offensive coordinator Todd Haley were all present at the Florida State Pro Day this year and it makes sense that Jackson was one of several players they were there to observe.

With Ramon Foster entering the final year of his contract, the team might want to address the future at his position in the upcoming draft. In addition to that, they really need to solidify their guard depth this year as either Cody Wallace or Chris Hubbard would most likely be asked to step in should something happen to Foster.

As previously mentioned, Jackson mostly played right guard in college, so unless he is groomed to play on the left side, David DeCastro might be a candidate to switch sides down the road should this be the selection. Jackson was a starter during the final three years of his college career and served some as a team captain. He reportedly only gave up four total sacks and five total pressures during his final two seasons at Florida State.

Nine other players in order that I considered that might still be on the board: G Ali Marpet, DE Henry Anderson, CB/FS Alex Carter, RB Jeremy Langford, OLB Lorenzo Mauldin, RB David Johnson, WR Tyler Lockett, S Anthony Harris, CB P.J. Williams

Bio: http://www.seminoles.com/ViewArticle.dbml?ATCLID=209573002

Round 4 – Pick 22 – Steven Nelson – CB – Oregon State

Round-four should present the Steelers with an opportunity to add another cornerback as they certainly need to double-dip this year. Gauging the stock of Nelson is tough as I have seen him mocked as early as the middle of the third-round over the course of the offseason. As I’ve stated several times over the course of the last few months, Nelson is my favorite mid-round cornerback and I was happy to see him brought in for a pre-draft visit. He is very physical against the run and according to stats compiled by Pro Football Focus, didn’t miss a tackle all of last season.

While a bit under-sized at 5-10, Nelson can still play outside at the NFL level, in my opinion. His best spot, however, might be in the slot as he registered a 4.49 second 40-yard dash and 4.07 second 20-yard shuttle time. Gil Brandt of NFL Media has Nelson down as being burned 36 times on 76 targets (47.4 percent) and giving up three touchdowns last season. He also had two interceptions, eight pass break-ups and made 60 tackles. In my opinion, he’s a mixture of Steelers cornerbacks William Gay and Antwon Blake and he fits what the team does defensively.

If Nelson is off the board, hopefully Ohio State’s Doran Grant isn’t as he would be my next selection for this spot. Penn State safety Adrian Amos also wouldn’t be a bad consolation prize in the fourth-round.

Nine other players in order that I considered that might still be on the board: CB Doran Grant, FS Adrian Amos, CB Senquez Golson, TE Jesse James, TE Blake Bell, TE Jeff Heuerman, G Mark Glowinski, OLB Markus Golden, DE Corey Crawford.

Bio: http://www.osubeavers.com/ViewArticle.dbml?ATCLID=208704072

Round 5 – Pick 24 – Kurtis Drummond – FS – Michigan State

I really wanted to put the aforementioned Amos in this spot but feel like it might be a round too late. Drummond wouldn’t be a bad consolation prize in a poor safety class. Drummond was named the Tatum-Woodson Big Ten Conference Defensive Back of the Year in 2014. The 6-0, 208-pound safety recorded 72 total tackles (54 solos) last season with five stops for losses. He also defended 15 passes, while intercepting four of them. He was the co-recipient of MSU’s Coaches Club Award (outstanding senior on defense) and was elected a co-captain by his teammates.

If drafted by the Steelers, Drummond could help out immediately on special teams with the hopes that he will be become the heir-apparent to current starter Mike Mitchell in a few years. Tomlin, Colbert and Lake all attended the Michigan State Pro Day back in March, so they should know quite a bit about him.

Nine other players in order that I considered that might still be on the board: FS Durrell Eskridge, OLB Davis Tull, OLB Kyle Emanuel, DE Derrick Lott, CB Charles Gaines, CB Bryce Callahan TE Tyler Kroft, WR Kenny Bell, WR Titus Davis

Bio: http://www.msuspartans.com/sports/m-footbl/mtt/kurtis_drummond_716546.html

Round 6 – Pick 23 – Max Valles – OLB – Virginia

In a addition to double-dipping at the cornerback position, it won’t be surprising to see the Steelers do the same at the outside linebacker position this coming weekend. Being as the 6-5, 251-pound Valles is expected to be drafted on day three and has made a pre-draft visit to Pittsburgh, it’s easy to throw him in this mock draft.

At 20, Valles is reportedly the youngest player in this year’s draft and he would’ve been wise to stay in school another year. In 22 career games at Virginia, he recorded 78 tackles with 18 of them resulting in a loss. He also had 13 sacks, 12 passes defended, four forced fumbles, two fumble recoveries and one interception.

Projections as to where Valles will ultimately be drafted have been all over the place this offseason, so it’s very hard to gauge what round he’ll ultimately be drafted in. Some 4-3 teams might even consider him as a defensive end, so that might help him come off the board earlier than the sixth round. Whoever drafts Valles will have quite a project on their hands and the Steelers could certainly use one with the upside that he has.

Nine other players in order that I considered that might still be on the board: TE Wes Saxton, CB Darryl Roberts, RB Karlos Williams, FS Chris Hackett, WR Darren Waller, CB Justin Coleman, TE Nick Boyle, G Sean Hickey, G Jeremiah Poutasi

Bio: http://www.virginiasports.com/sports/m-footbl/mtt/max_valles_853664.html

Round 6 – Pick 36 – Matt Jones – RB – Florida

While the Steelers didn’t bring any running backs in for pre-draft visits that I know of, the later rounds will serve as the perfect opportunity for them to look for a big back that can eventual spell starter Le’Veon Bell. The team met with Jones at the Florida Pro Day, so that makes it easy to throw back in my final mock mock draft.

As mentioned in my last mock, Jones is a one-cut runner that needs to refine his running style and ability to break tackles. In reality, he more than likely would start the season on the Steelers practice squad if drafted.

Nine other players in order that I considered that might still be on the board: TE Wes Saxton, CB Darryl Roberts, RB Karlos Williams, FS Chris Hackett, WR Darren Waller, CB Justin Coleman, TE Nick Boyle, G Sean Hickey, G Jeremiah Poutasi

Bio: http://www.gatorzone.com/football/bios.php?year=2014&player_id=340

Round 7 – Pick 22 – C.J. Uzomah – TE – Auburn

The Steelers brought in quite a few tight ends for pre-draft visits over the course of the last month and that leads you to believe that they might select one this coming weekend.

Uzomah is a developmental tight end that looks the part on paper when it comes to his measurables and he can viewed as a potential future replacement for Matt Spaeth. As I mentioned the last go-around, he wasn’t used extensively in Auburn’s offense over the course of the last two seasons and that will likely hurt his draft stock. His blocking and route running need a lot of improvement but he has shown that he catch the football and get open against SEC competition. Like most seventh-round draft picks, Uzomah will likely struggle to make an NFL roster out of training camp.

Nine other players in order that I considered that might still be on the board: T/TE Cameron Clear, G Quinton Spain, CB Dexter McDonald, WR Devin Gardner, CB Craig Mager, CB Bobby McCain, NT Deon Simon, C Max Garcia, TE Kennard Backman

Bio: http://www.auburntigers.com/sports/m-footbl/mtt/cj_uzomah_742494.html

  • SteelersDepot

    Have some fun and look back at my final mock from 2014 as well: http://www.steelersdepot.com/2014/05/2014-steelers-mock-draft-version-4-0-final-edition/

  • ATL96STEELER

    Hard to predict who will be on the board, and I can’t say I’ve seen all these guys play…but top to bottom…you’ve knocked this draft out of the park.

    You doubled dipped where I think they need to dbl dip…you’ve hit every position that needs depth, and or a future starter. Love the G pick and the TE on the back end.

  • steeltown

    Kevin Johnson and Preston Smith, yes please…. and love the two 6th Rd selections

  • PittsburghSports

    I like this mock a lot. While a lot of Steeler fans would probably want a press CB like Waynes, Jones or Peters, KJ is the best fit for what the Steelers do. There isn’t a better CB in the draft that can line up 7 yards off the ball and make plays with his quickness and instincts. I’m so on board with Preston Smith too. He’s exactly what the Steelers need to contain the edge on the left side. My only concern is that he’ll be drafted early 2nd rd. Tre Jackson and Kurtis Drummond are interesting picks, because you didn’t hear much from either pro days, but the Steelers were sure well represented there. Definitely on point with Nelson, Valles, Jones and Uzomah.

  • SteelersDepot

    Also, should have details and entry form up for our annual Steelers draft contest later today. So be on the lookout for that.

  • Ike Evans

    I don’t think preston is going to be much of a pass rusher at the pro level but he’s a worker bee and really strong against the run

  • NinjaMountie

    I’ll take it. I really like every pick other than Tre’ Jackson. I think we can do more with that pick. I agree that we need to keep looking to upgrade the OL but I just am not sure about this guy. Still, he wouldn’t hurt my feelings if this draft came to fruition.

  • Ben Saluri

    I like it, only concern would be Steve Nelson lasting till the 4th.

  • SteelersDepot

    Feel any better if rounds three and four were reversed? You could argue that.

  • jsmitt

    I like this draft for the most part but I would never take Johnson over Peters or Jones. I would also take Grant over Nelson. But all in all I like it.

  • NinjaMountie

    IDK…it’s not the position that he plays, I’m just not sure on Tre’ Jackson. Like you mentioned, in order for him to work you may have to move Decastro…that’s not something I’d like to do. Though, like I said, it wouldn’t make me throw anything at the TV if this was the pick.

    Edit: Looking at the players you had listed as possibilities. I’d take Marpet in sticking with the same position. Alex Carter would be another choice but that would probably change up the rest of the draft…which I like….so, I’ll go Marpet.

  • SnoopDogg123

    Overall, I like your mock, but it’s still hard for me to get on board with Kevin Johnson at pick #22. Despite the fact he gained some weight, he still appears frail & I’m concerned how he’ll hold up against bigger WRs. Also, your previously analysis on Johnson displayed he’s a willing tackler, but highlighted too many missed tackles which could be problematic a league where so many offenses utilize screen passes & quick slat routes.

    In my opinion, I think this is the year that Pittsburgh trades back a few spots or into the 2nd round.

  • SteelersDepot

    Fair enough, but keep this in the back of your mind that Alan Faneca started all 36 career games at right guard while at LSU. I think DeCastro can make that move as well. Think about him running the power to the right. also Tre is a solid run game RG

  • NinjaMountie

    Trading back…..the mythical move that Pittsburgh never does. Would be interesting.

  • Louis Goetz

    You can’t help but like him the more you watch him. There’s a good video of Phil Savage breaking down Smith’s game that’s available on You Tube. Also, there’s a good analysis of him on DraftBreakdown. The only question I have is whether he’ll be more of a defensive end, or will he be a more athletic LaMarr Woodley?

  • NinjaMountie

    I’d definitely like to see the OL upgraded more. We have L Bell and Dallas showed us what can still be done with a dominant OL and an elite RB.

  • falconsaftey43

    Great mock. I have to wonder if they’d really double dip at OLB if they get one in the firt 2 rounds. The early pick is a lock. As are J.Jones, Moats, Harrison. Probably 4 ILB locks. Not a lot of room for a 5th OLB to make the roster.

  • NinjaMountie

    If he’s a more athletic (and Healthy) Woodley the league better watch out, lol.
    I don’t see him blowing up the sack category but I think he can turn into a very capable rusher that can really lock it down in the running game.

  • Spencer Krick

    If the Steelers go this route, I’d be pretty happy.

  • steeltown

    That’s a valid point. I think with Terrence Garvin we actually might have 5 ILB locks, he could very well be voted special teams captain this year.

  • SteelersDepot

    They have carried as many as 10 total LBs before so 9 certainly isn’t out of the question. They need 4 OLB at a minimum and keep in mind that they’d probably like to get Moats off of special teams if at all possible.

  • srdan

    I think this post will have over 64 comments. It’s a testament to the great job you guys are doing of growing this site. We appreciate it.

  • srdan

    I really like this draft. If peters and Johnson were on teh board as you suggest I woudl go the other way. But this is personal preference due to the reports that he brings swagger to teh field, which I think our D lacks right now.

    I love the second pick as well.

    I also like the third round guard selection. I would love to have another solid guard up front. Preferably a road grader type.

  • Justin Barlow

    Swap out Peters or Byron Jones for Johnson and get me a TE in the third instead of a G, and this is one might fine haul… I just cant get excited about Kevin Johnson for some reason

  • steelburg

    Im a huge fan of the first 2 rounds. But I agree it’s really hard not to like this draft. I also agree with you about Tre Jackson in the 3rd I would much rather see a TE with that pick. We cant keep taking 7th round TE and hoping they can one day replace Heath. But if Jackson is the pick I would be ok with it.

  • Rick M

    “Stacking everything together” three weeks ago, without any reference to Jackson, shows him as likely not the pick. And now he is. Nifty reverse, I guess.

  • Jason

    I’ll take the over on the 64 lol

  • cencalsteeler

    Rick M. made some very valid and interesting points in a previous thread regarding Kevin Johnson. I agree with he and Dave that there seems to be strong ties between the Steelers and KJ. It wouldn’t surprise me one bit if the Steelers took Kevin Johnson with their first pick.

  • cencalsteeler

    Seems like it was just yesterday.

  • Bill Sechrengost

    Thanks Dave. I’m also looking at Kevin Johnson for the first pick. it just makes too much sense for them. He’s an experienced guy who’s played a lot of games at the position. My mock would be as follows:
    1 Kevin Johnson CB Wake Forest
    2 Nate Orchard OLB Utah
    3 Doran Grant CB Ohio State
    4 Jeff Heuerman TE Ohio State
    5 Max Garcia OL Florida
    6 Kyle Emmanuel OLB North Dakota St
    6 Chris Hackett S TCU
    7 Corey Crawford DL Clemson
    I’ll even throw in a few prior UDFA’s along with it: James Rouse DL Marshall; Ryan Mueller OLB Kansas State, Austin Hill WR Arizona; Devin Mahina TE BYU, and Deshazor Everett CB Texas A & M. I know you can’t predict the UDFA very well and some guys could fall and not get taken, but I gave it a shot anyway. Thursday can’t get here soon enough.

  • Jason White

    Yeah I think our defense could use some of the fire that Marcus Peters would bring. I like Kevin Johnson and if they are gonna continue running LeBeau’s system then he would be a great fit minus his tackling that he needs to work on. But I really feel like Keith Butler needs to make his mark and add some aggressiveness that the defense has lacked over the years. I’m tired of seeing the corners play 12 yards away from the receiver on a 3rd and 5 and watching them catch a quick slant for a first or break off a long run after the catch. I’d like to see the defense on 3rd down especially be more of a in your face, punch you in the mouth kind of defense. Especially considering that Timmons said that Butler is gonna blitz more. And knowing that the Steelers are gonna face guys like Tom Brady who is notorious for tearing that zone blitz defense apart. When they beat him at Heinz Field in 2011 they were a very physical defense and didn’t give the receivers time to get open immediately. It is true with any quarterback but especially true with Brady and Manning that when you throw off the timing and pressure them they just aren’t the same. I want to see them show that aggressiveness on a more consistent basis.
    Stop the run and harass quarterbacks and receivers (at the LOS) on 3rd downs. Don’t sit back and watch them catch pass after pass. It worked fine when the league was a run first league because all they had to do was stuff the run which they were the best at and then play off the receivers and keep everything in front and go get the quarterback.

  • kev4heels

    great draft IMO.

  • steeltown

    So who do you think Bryan hit on…usually good for atleast one correct prediction…. I’m going with Steven Nelson, although it may not be in the 4th Rd

  • Eric Herrmann

    Huge fan of this mock. Glad to see a guard going in the third; I definitely see that as a possible scenario. I’d take Kenny Bell or Justin Hardy in the 5th though if either are available. The Steeler’s have a need for a #4 wr.

    One question: do you think Xavier Cooper could fall to us in the 3rd? I think he’d be a perfect swing d-lineman and situational pass rusher for us.

  • Gerald Brown

    Are you going to have the mock draft contest this year?

  • Rick M

    Thanks cencal. I read about the Tomlin/Jackson ‘intern’ connection in a different article. No originality on my part. I was surprised when I checked Jackson’s bio though to see that he coached Shawn Lemon as well at a different college. That may have nothing to do with the Steelers’ signing of Lemon this off-season, or Jackson may have called to suggest they take a look at him. Either way, everything is guesswork from all of us and it will be interesting to see how it turns out.

    As I mentioned in another comment, comparing Kiper, Mayock, Dave and Alex in their final mocks last year, shows how tough it is to nail player-to-team predictions. Mel and Dave led the way with 6 correct player-team 1st Round matches, Alex had 5 and Mayock 4. These guys do an incredible amount of work to familiarize themselves with all the prospects over all the rounds, but they can never know how the board will fall, what trades will be made, etc. Mock drafts are fun, but tough, and trying to do them over 7 rounds, wow. Cheers.

  • Brian Miller

    Good draft Dave. My only hope would be the FO getting a WR in the 6th or 7th instead of a developmental TE, sine that is what we already have in Blanchflower among others.

  • falconsaftey43

    good point Dave. I was just trying to look at the current roster locks. CB definitely needs multiple bodies. OLB doesn’t need it as badly, but could still use it. I don’t want to draft anyone that’s an automatic PS because of the numbers game. Pretty much only ILB has that problem.

  • John21

    Like the OLD Dave, I havent accepted KJ as my #1. Very solid draft though with value in Smith, Jackson, Nelson, Drummond & Jones. Dont see us taking 3 DBs–wouldnt object though. Did you strongly consider any DL prospects to upgrade our rotation?
    Like this format with other considerations and Pro comparables.
    Only 2 MAN LOVE picks with Nelson & Valles- I bet the OVER 2!

  • cp72

    I like the 2nd corner in the 4th. Grant, Golson, Gaines, Nelson….I’m good with any of those guys in the 4th.

  • John21

    Solid draft as well. High on experience and work ethic-lt is the ‘ Lunch bucket’ draft- bunch of guys who would bring it every day!

  • cp72

    Yeah I feel like it wasn’t long ago I was beating the drum for Kelvin Benjamin. Even though it looks like I was right… Martavis makes it sting a little less.

  • grw1960

    Great mock,Love all the picks but one. 5th round Drummond.

    Would rather have see a WR/KR there.

  • A cornerback?!?!? I about fell out of my chair. I love the draft except for one selection, Tre’ Jackson. Look at the measurable for the kid, he is big and has big hands. Otherwise he is super slow, no explosion, less vertical then me(my usual measuring stick), and is generally sub par everything not weight or hand related. I feel that he was able to bully college D-Line with his size but will miss a lot of blocks on the pro level. Personally I would skip him and go TE in there and pick up one of the WVU kids for G or Max Garcia. I love the value you have in OLB picks, it is the hardest thing I have had to contend without in doing mocks. Will they invest 3 picks for the secondary? Great job.

  • jdell

    I’d be happy as hell with that draft!

  • No surprise that Dave’s mock is a good one, and I’d generally be happy with it. Though as I’ve said in numerous comments I’d prefer Peters to KJ. The question is what they’ll do if the top CBs and Dupree are all off the board by #22, but hopefully the Steelers have a few good options when it’s their time to pick.

    Other than that, Smith (or Orchard or Harold) would be a great OLB pick in the second, though I do wonder if they’ll go for an offensive weapon there and fall back on an OLB in the third. If not, it really does open up the rest of the draft for them, though I might double-dip with another CB, Carter, in the third, then going elsewhere in the fourth.

    But it’s hard to find fault with Nelson and then Drummond. Valles seems a bit raw, but he certainly has tons of upside. Maybe Emanuel there instead if he’s still around.

  • Smith, Nelson, Valles, and Jones seem the most likely… and I guess KJ too if you think they’re going there, though I hope not.

    Of those, I can’t say Smith because of other OLB options in the second. Yeah, you might be right: Nelson.

  • LucasY59

    I think Marpet would be the guy to pick if they really want to switch to more of a zone scheme, Jackson is a slight upgrade to Foster, but not someone who will be much different than him

  • steelster

    And with the 22nd pick in the 2015 draft the Pittsburgh Steelers select Malcolm Brown.

  • srdan

    I was in the camp of him being a fast tight end. Phew i was wrong.

  • David OBIE!

    I Love This Draft and would be happy if we get Johnson (1)and Smith (2).

    My current mock:
    1 Kevin Johnson (CB)
    2 Eli Howard (OLB) Preston Smith – Nate orchard

    3 Alex Carter or Doran Grant (they both can play CB and Safety)
    4 Jeff Heuerman Jesse James (TE)
    5 Mark Glowinski or Jeremiah Poutasi (both can play more than 1 line position)(OL)
    6 Kyle Emanuel or Max Valles (future replacement for Harrison) (OLB)

    6 (wide receiver from this list) Kenny Bell – Donatella Luckett – Darren Waller –

    Addison Richards – Devante Davis -Tony Lippett
    7 Andrew Donnell (OT/OG)

    i did not draft a running back – any draft choice would end up 3rd RB or 4th RB

    you can find a 3rd or 4th in free agency any time
    we need linemen that can play several positions as a backup

  • blackandgoldBullion

    Keep in mind that the extra LBs and DBs make up most of the special teams so that’s why they usually keep a few extra.

  • SteelersDepot

    Yes indeed

  • TroymanianDevil

    Like the mock overall. Really like the direction of it. If I’m the FO, its a 1 yr exception to the BPA approach. I’d stray slightly from it and fill need more than BPA (again, only slightly). If I’m nitpicking: Turn Matt Jones into Malcolm Brown (the RB). I like Smith but don’t know if Smith is my first choice in the 2nd, obviously depends on who’s there. I’ll just trust the Steelers FO to pick the best guy but taking a OLB is where I’d go given CB in the 1st. Personally like Orchard the best of all those guys. Other ideas/preferences. If there’s a good TE available in the 3rd, I’d prefer that over Tre Jackson. But I’m so high on Tre, I think he might be the better pick in the long run. Just trying to get a TE before the 7th. Also would like to work Amos in there. Maybe take Amos in the 4th and the second CB in the 5th ( third time’s the charm?).

  • LucasY59

    I like the versatility and options DD gives them by being able to pull left (they had a lot of success with it last season also) so I would like them to keep him at RG (he also seems to work well with Gilbert and big part of a solid O-line is how comfortable and how well the guys are with the others beside them (knowing what each other is doing)

    I agree with Ninja if they can get Marpet they could continue to focus more on the Zone blocking and keep DeCastro on the right

  • LucasY59

    If Collins, or somehow Scherff (both could have a similar impact that Martin had last year) are available for the 1st pick (and the OLBs and CBs they would want are gone) they would be able to add a Dominant player on the line,

    Guys like Jackson or Marpet could Develop into really good players, but realistically are just a slight improvement over Foster and will take some time to Develop

  • Matt Manzo

    That’s a great draft Dave!!! And I think it’s pretty accurate!
    Your list of 71 is great, too! I bet all the picks come from that list.
    I really like Garcia and would gamble on getting him later. That would open up the 3rd for a TE, and I’d swap Jones for KWilliams, those are the only changes I’d make!
    KJ
    PSmith
    Nelson
    Drummond
    Valles
    are all great picks!

  • Matt Manzo

    Yes!!!

  • LucasY59

    I think its a solid draft and fills holes, no reaches but also not a lot of “flashy” picks (which i’m fine with)

    I would switch Deon Simon for Uzomah in the 7th (which isn’t much of an argument since its such a late pick) I think getting another 7th rd TE wont do much of anything to help the position, Blanchflower can hold the 3rd spot (and Uzomah or Clear could be UDFA’s. I would possibly take a TE earlier but that depends on who/when they are available)

    I think Valles could be a really good 6th rd pick (if he can develop successfully)

    I would probably switch the 3rd pick (which would change the 4th also) I really think Carter totally fits what the Steelers like a CB to do, so I would take him over Jackson, get Jesse James in the 4th and wait till next year to get a LG early (1st or 2nd rd) re-sign Foster next offseason to a one yr deal as insurance for a rookie starting at LG (Glowinski could also be the 4th if James is not available and they really want a O-lineman)

  • Richard Cetrone

    Love this draft. We need so much it would be hard to screw up a Steeler draft this year. But great job!

  • Steel Your Face

    I wish Trae Waynes would somehow fall to us in the 1st and would LOVE to get Nate Orchard in the 2nd, probably because of his story alone. I like Alex Carter in the 3rd and Steven Nelson makes perfect sense in the 4th. Thank you, Dave – you make the work weeks a little bit better.

  • tcirish53@gmail.com

    I could live with this draft no problem. Although I think they will take an OLman (likely a G) this draft, personally I wouldn’t want to see it happen in the 3rd rd.
    Would prefer to see us go TE in that slot, then back to D in the 4th, but….
    I guess the CB/OLB thing is 50-50, but unless ALL of the edge rushers are gone at 22, I have to believe we will go there first given the vast depth of the CB offering.
    I am not on board yet with drafting a S, either free or strong. This is a poor class for safeties and I don’t think our need is that pressing.

  • Shannon Stephenson

    Not a big fan of this one Dave however I do understand that it could go this way. My personal thought is that CB is deep enough where we can go another route in the 1st. I just have bad feeling it will be a desperate move to get a OLB because of how thin it is. Thanks for the hard work you put in I really do enjoy reading your thoughts on this.

  • Rick M

    They did it and still got Casey in 2001 after dropping back from 16 to 19. That was a nifty deal. Accumulating two extra draft picks and still getting a future Pro Bowl NT. But that was a long time ago. Their creativity in the first round seems a distant memory as the last time was Holmes in ’06.

  • Matthew Anderson

    Outstanding. Only issue is Jackson in Rd. 3. I’m an FSU fan but I think he is a depth pick. There are a lot of places to make depth pick but Locket or PJ have a shot at becoming special. I say go for the difference maker. Nice job. I love Smith in Rd 2

  • Garret Cody

    I like Drummond’s value in the fifth round along with Smith in the second. Here is my mock draft:
    1. Marcus Peters CB Washington
    2. Nate Orchard OLB Utah
    3. Ronald Darby CB Florida State
    4. Anthony Harris S Virginia
    5. Wes Saxton TE Southern Alabama
    6. Corey Crawford DE Clemson
    6. Charles Gaines CB Louisville
    7. Malcolm Brown RB Texas

  • Reno

    I agree with many of your points. The off coverage was getting old and tired although you need the talent to play bump and run coverage. So the question is do you choose players that fit your scheme or do you develop your scheme around your players talents. Cortez Allen may be a better bump and run player than zone scheme player. Ideally the player can do both well which is why I would also choose Peters first if he was still on the board.

  • The Notorious TOM

    Baby Snaaaaacccccckkkkk!

  • The Notorious TOM

    I love the second half of this mock. I like Kevin enough, I’d be fine… but picks 2 and 3 are very meh to me. Pick 4 on is fantastic though.

  • Nolrog

    I like doubling up on the corner, but I will be surprised if they ignore OLB until late in the draft.

  • J-DUB

    Solid draft, can’t complain. My looks like this…
    1. Kevin Johnson,CB,Wake Forest
    2. Eric Rowe,CB,Utah (Clive Walford,TE,Miami-if Rowe is gone)
    3. James Sample,S,Louisville
    4. Jeremy Langford,RB,Michigan State
    5. Austin Shepherd,OT,Alabama
    6a. E.J. Bibbs,TE,Iowa State
    6b. Tony Washington,OLB,Oregon
    7. Martin Ifedi,DE,Memphis

  • John Hinton

    If it plays out like this, it would a good use of the 8 picks addressing key areas of need. Once again, you and the crew helped us make it through till Draft Week – thanks!

  • Dave Clifton

    Ifedi is a decent pick at 7 in your mock – I think he is overlooked like most of the 7’s are – Nice Mock

  • Jeff Anoble

    Your mock is kind of like that soft drink line, “I’m Lovin It” Fine by me. I think it’s your best mock as you get that defense re-tooled. Most importantly it’s great to see some alternative names as other possibilities showing that this draft has some options for the team in all rounds.

    I like that OLB Kihaha guy a lot. Something about him. If he would have visited I would think they might take him, but….I also like S James Sample.

    And doesn’t CB Byron Jones kind of stand out with that same kind of freak athleticism that so intrigued the Steelers last year to take Shazier? Jones seems to have it all in terms of character, size, speed, even large 10″ hands, and he just blew up the combine with jaw dropping numbers being the best in 5 categories. When I saw him without a shirt I instantly thought Shazier. Now neither has proven they can be a success in the NFL however.

    I’m thinking they play it safe and sound and that doesn’t involve the name Marcus Peters. Byron Jones, Landon Collins, or your guy Kevin Johnson seems to be the pick.

  • Conserv_58

    There is one statement that Kevin Colbert made in yesterday’s press conference that is the key to figuring out whom they will draft. Kevin said and I’m paraphrasing here, “If you look at the players that we have selected nearly all of those picks were players that we’ve brought in for visits.” The list of those players is long this year, but it does allow fans to narrow their focus on that list of candidates.

  • Conserv_58

    Given what Kevin said about the T.E. position not being as deep and talented as in past years, that being being due to the proliferation of spread offenses, I’m not inclined to think he would select one as high as the third round.

  • Jim McCarley

    I’m just anxious to get this dog and pony show started…can’t wait! I like these selections, but I would not hesitate to wager that less than half, if any, are correct…Not a slap at the authors, but more a testament to how the draft is so unpredictable every year…More than a few teams will surprise us all with their picks, so players we hoped were there will not be , just like players we did not think would be there are there. Good luck to the Steelers and i hope they get the guys they want the most. I do contend that this team is not as bad on defense as some people believe and that at least 9 or even 10 starting positions will be filled by present day Steelers…The offense is pretty much set and ready to roll….barring injury, of course..Go Steelers!

  • Brendon Glad

    I really like the position choices of your mock draft. In particular, that the Steelers do not draft a WR in your mock draft. After watching the combine, it is my opinion that the WR position is overflowing in this draft. They looked tremendous. I also believe it is a lie when NFL execs always proclaim they take the “best player available”. No, they don’t. Thus, i expect 8-12 Undrafted WR’s to be steals who will produce at a solid NFL level. The pick can be better served elsewhere, especially considering who the Steelers top 3 WR’s are at this point. One name I think should be considered if he lasts until the 3rd round is Quentin Rollins. I fell in love with the tape u showed of him on this site. He had a horrible 40 time at the combine…but that actually made me happy. Because I think that puts the Steelers in a better situation. It lowers his stock to the late 2nd-late 3rd. And here is my thinking. If he was raw at CB, then he’s only one less year raw at FS. So if the Steelers draft him in a horrible year for safeties, they have 2 chances to teach him from scratch at the position they decide. Both big needs. If he’s too slow to play CB, his ball skills looked tremendous to project at FS. I wonder what u think of that. Especially with the third round pick if he’s still there.

  • Lizard72

    The tweener that everyone says is a little bigger than most. Preston Smith is an interesting pick. I think going back and looking at when this defense was posting leading numbers, you’ll find the OLB spot with a super pass rusher on one side and a “little larger than normal” on the other side. Look at Kirkland in his prime and Woodley when he was tearing it up with Harrison.

  • moderatelysane

    Hi Dave,
    I think this is the best mock I’ve seen, both from a perspective of what I want the Steelers to do and what makes logical sense. I would be ecstatic if it turned out this way. Fantastic job this predraft season.