Bryan: 2016 Steelers Mock Draft 4.0: Final Version

With the 2016 NFL Draft set to get underway Thursday evening, it’s now time for me to release my final mock draft version for the Pittsburgh Steelers.

As always, please know that this is the part of the draft process that I hate the most when it comes to producing content as I will be lucky to hit one correct pick.

With that disclaimer out of the way, my goal, as usual, is to hit at least three picks. Additionally, of the 28 total players that I listed in this mock, my goal is for at least five to wind up being selected.

Without further ado, here is my final Steelers mock draft for 2016.

Round 1: (25th overall) – S Karl Joseph – West Virginia

509520532 1/89 3/477 1/422

So why didn’t I go with Baylor defensive tackle Andrew Billings here? While I still haven’t completely ruled him out being the pick, after conducting a few mocks of the first round on my own, I wonder if he’ll indeed still be on the board come time for the Steelers selection. There are three teams that I think could potentially draft Billings in the first round and they are the Washington Redskins, Minnesota Vikings and Cincinnati Bengals.

While I also considered Houston cornerback William Jackson III in this spot, like Billings, I think he’ll be off the board as well. Personally, I have Jackson as my No. 3 overall cornerback in this draft behind Jalen Ramsey and Vernon Hargreaves III.

Due to my above assumptions, that leaves Joseph as the remaining logical selection for the Steelers. Like most of you, I am concerned about his knee injury but with that said, all signs point to him being able to contribute in some form or fashion during his rookie season. When healthy, he is by far the best safety in this year’s draft class, in my opinion. He is a very smart player who not only plays the run well, is very instinctive when it comes to pass coverage. With that said, Joseph needs to work on improving the angles that he takes at the NFL level. He can not only play inside the box, but deep as well in all types of coverages.

Character wise, the former west Virginia team captain checks all of the boxes outside of an underage DUI he received a few years. I’m sure the Steelers have asked him about that during the multiple times they have talked to him. Not only did they attend his Joseph’s pro day, they also brought him in for a pre-draft visit.

While Joseph isn’t likely to see much playing time in the Steelers defense until potentially later on in his rookie season, he should still be able to contribute heavily on special teams in the meantime with the focus on him being a starter in 2017.

Also considered: Baylor DT Andrew Billings, Houston CB William Jackson III, Eastern Kentucky OLB Noah Spence

Round 2: (58th overall) – DT Javon Hargrave – South Carolina State

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Let me start the explanation of this pick off by telling you that I really came close to putting Oklahoma wide receiver Sterling Shepard here. The only thing that stopped me is the fact that I think there’s a good chance he might be drafted in the top half of the second round.

With that disclaimer out of the way, I think you all know how I feel about the Steelers drafting a defensive tackle this year who can not only play over the nose in the base 3-4, but also play sparingly as a pass-rusher in the team’s sub package defenses.

Now, while Javon Hargrave is certainly a logical choice for the Steelers, it should be noted that the organization usually likes to shy away from FCS products. Hargrave, however, destroyed his competition while at South Carolina State and that should be expected if he expects a team like the Steelers to spends a second-round draft pick on him. Over the course of the last two seasons he recorded 104 total tackles, 46 tackles for loss and 29.5 sacks.

Now, Hargrave will still have an adjustment period at the NFL level and especially when it comes to handling double-teams as he is more of a one-gap player who thrives on penetrating. Is round two one round too early for him? I certainly could understand that argument, however, if he were to slide to the third round, I doubt he would stay on the board very long.

Should Hargrave ultimately wind up being picked by the Steelers, his selection will certainly be widely debated. Just the same, I can see him potentially winning the starting nose tackle job midway through his rookie season as he only has to overtake Daniel McCullers to do so. By season’s end, I can visualize him seeing some limited playing time as a pass rusher in the team’s sub package defenses.

Also considered: Oklahoma WR Sterling Shepard, Michigan State OLB Shilique Calhoun, Boise State OLB Kamalei Correa

Round 3: (89th overall) – WR Braxton Miller – Ohio State

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While the Steelers do need a lot of help on defense this year, I will be surprised if all three of their first three selections wind up being dedicated to that side of the football. Additionally, like it or not, the team could stand to use another wide receiver with Martavis Bryant being suspended for the entire 2016 season and Markus Wheaton entering the final year of his rookie contract.

Now, while Braxton Miller is obviously a work in progress having only played one year at the wide receiver position in college after previously playing quarterback, I do like his upside and potential as an NFL slot receiver. He is an athletic playmaker in the open field and reportedly a very hard worker.

While he didn’t do it college, I think Miller might also be a candidate to return both punts and kickoffs at the NFL level. It’s definitely worth exploring because of his ability to make plays in the open field.’

If this pick smells like it’s being framed to sound just like the Steelers selection of Antwaan Randle El in the second round of the 2002 NFL Draft, it’s supposed to. Some might say that taking Miller in round three is one round too early and that’s certainly understandable.

Look, the Steelers drafted running back Dri Archer in the third round a few years ago and I think most of you will agree that Miller has more potential than he had. Besides, you can’t have a Steelers draft without taking an Ohio State player, right?

Should they ultimately draft Miller, wide receivers coach Richard Mann will have one full year to develop him with the hopes that he could ultimately be a contributor on offense in 2017. During his rookie season, Miller could potentially help out on special teams in addition to seeing a few snaps on offense in plays designed to get the ball two him in the open field. Also, as former quarterback, a trick play or two certainly wouldn’t be out of the question in 2016.

Should miller wind up being drafted by another team, you can bet I will be monitoring his career very closely. While it’s a lazy narrative, Miller is a “football player” and as the old saying goes, you can never have too many of those. Make sure you read the rest of the mock before throwing your tomatoes at me as you might need more.

Also considered: Alabama CB Cyrus Jones, Georgia OLB Jordan Jenkins, Ohio State TE Nick Vannett

Round 4: (123rd overall) – CB Tavon Young – Temple

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By now, most of you are probably very angry at me because I have failed to address the cornerback position. I know I’m in the minority with this, but I have a feeling the Steelers feel comfortable with their current depth chart at the position. After all, not only did they draft two cornerbacks in the first four rounds last year, they also view one of those two picks, Senquez Golson, as a draft pick this year due to him missing his rookie season with a shoulder injury. With that said, they did lose two of their cornerbacks to free agency this offseason and as a result need to add more depth via the draft.

So why did I choose Tavon Young? Well, during his Monday press conference general manager Kevin Colbert talked about past draft misses and how that was likely somewhat related to those players not having heart and smarts. The undersized Young as both, in my opinion, and of all of the mid to late-round cornerbacks that were brought in for pre-draft visits, the Temple product appears to be the most fearless tackler of the bunch.

Young, who also reportedly had a good showing at this year’s Senior Bowl, put himself on the map this past season for his play against Notre Dame as he was asked to cover top-rated wide receiver Will Fuller.

Due to him being vertically challenged, Young is probably best-suited to play inside at the nickel corner position at the NFL level. While he might never become anything more than a reserve player or spot starter, he figures to be a special teams asset due to his speed and willingness to stick his face in the fan.

Young considers himself a student of the game and avid tape watcher. He was a team captain at Temple and that will also endear him to the Steelers.

Also considered: Auburn CB Jonathan Jones, Northwestern DE Dean Lowry, Maryland OLB Yannick Ngakoue

Round 6: (220th overall) (compensatory) – ILB Jatavis Brown – Akron

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While the Steelers didn’t bring in many linebacker prospects for pre-draft visits this year, they did bring in Jatavis Brown, who recorded 345 total tackles, 41.5 tackles for loss and 18 sacks during his college career.

Make no mistake that while fearless, Brown is a bit undersized. He is a speed player who functions well in space and from sideline to sideline.

Brown would obviously be an inside linebacker candidate with the Steelers and he’ll need to work on getting off blocks and wading through trash at the NFL level.

While some have Brown pegged as a possible fifth-round selection, I see him more as a late sixth-round prospect as he is very unpolished. With that said, he could potentially make an NFL roster as a special teams core player while he attempts to get stronger and learn how to properly play inside as a run and chase 3-4 linebacker.

Even though the Steelers signed veteran free agent inside linebacker Steven Johnson during the offseason, they still could use more bodies at the position. They could do worse than Brown.

Also considered: Maryland DE Quinton Jefferson, Georgia Tech CB D.J. White, Texas A&M CB Brandon Williams

Round 7: (229th overall) – (via New York Giants) – T Brandon Shell – South Carolina

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I suspect the Steelers might take a late stab at an offensive lineman this year and particularly one with potential position flexibility. Being as Steelers offensive line coach Mike Munchak attended the South Carolina pro day, it’s obvious that he wanted to see Brandon Shell up-close.

Shell played on both sides at South Carolina with 26 of his 34 starts coming at right tackle. While he’ll likely never be a starter at the NFL level, with some work, he might be able to serve as a reserve tackle. Additionally, Shell might have enough thickness to kick inside to guard. I could potentially see Shell, who is indeed related to Pro Football Hall of Famer Art Shell, possibly being the Steelers sixth-round selection.

Also considered: LSU T Jerald Hawkins, Indiana QB Nate Sudfeld, Mississippi S Trae Elston

Round 7: (246th overall) – DE Joel Heath – Michigan State

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While several draft analysts have Joel Heath going undrafted, his measurables say he’s at least worth a seventh-round draft pick. In fact, Heath’s 115.4 pSPARQ score is right there with the 115.5 score that Mississippi State defensive lineman Chris Jones registered.

Now, make no mistake, Heath certainly is still a work in progress and he needs a lot of solid coaching to reach his full potential. He was moved around quite a bit on the defensive line at Michigan State but should settle in as a 5-tech in a 3-4 defense. With that said, Heath should also be able to function as nickel defensive tackle.

If Heath can be taught how to use those long arms and big hands of his better, it will certainly help his cause both against the run and as a pass rusher. He is a high-effort player who runs after the football consistently and that should endear him to defensive line coach John Mitchell.

Heath reportedly has a great character and I will be shocked if he winds up going undrafted. For that matter, he might even wind up being drafted prior to the seventh round. If your judging him by his stats from last season, do keep in mind that Heath only played 46% of the total defensive snaps in 2015 and a lot of playing time was missed due to an ankle injury. He also only played 47 third down snaps in 2015.

Also considered: Virginia Tech OLB Dadi Nicolas, Houston ILB Elandon Roberts, California S Stefan McClure

Summary: I feel like I have addressed all of the needs well in this mock as a whole and have chosen players who not only fit those needs, but ones the Steelers are likely to have some level of interest in.

I fully expect to catch the most hell for the selection of Miller and I’ll certainly understand why. It’s a peculiar pick, but I feel as though I explained my reasoning for it. Additionally, I know several with take issue with me waiting until the fourth round to address the cornerback position. Not only that, I chose one of the shorter cornerbacks in this year’s draft class.

I really wanted to address the outside linebacker position in this mock and while I didn’t, there’s a part of me that hopes the Steelers do in the first four rounds.

As a whole, I see the Steelers drafting at least two offensive players and won’t be surprised if the final total winds up being three. I hope all of you respect the time and effort that went into this draft exercise that really is a losing proposition when you think about it.

I hope to have the annual draft contest forms up for you to fill out later on this afternoon so please make sure you be on the lookout for them.

  • CodeNameJerk

    Braxton Miller in the 3rd?!?!? How dare you.

  • crakilla

    Love this mock, really like 1-2,4 & 6.

  • JM_3

    I actually really like the Miller pick.

  • Aaron T

    Joseph, Tavon and Jatavis Brown would be a dream come true

  • Brian Tollini

    Yep. The Joseph/Hargrave picks just make too much sense. Or Billings/D. Thompson. Shepard in the 2nd would be great too, but I also think he will be gone by the time we pick.

  • Donald Tillman

    Great draft Dave but I would take Ridgeway or TJ Green @ 89. Hargrave is probably my second defensive favorite player in this draft behind Jackson III. I love Jatavis Brown at 220. I sure hope he last that long.

  • falconsaftey43

    Love it. I think this draft will pan out really well.

  • Great Mock Dave!

    I really like this Mock draft (even your consideration picks). I too would really consider S. Shepard if he was there in the 2nd rd bc he is one of my favorite wrs in the draft, but I think he will go early in rd 2 just like you. I had Hargrave in the 3rd rd mock I did yesterday but I really don’t think he will be there in the 3rd and to be completely honest I truly believe he deserves to be a 2nd rd pick and I think if this interior D-linemen class wasn’t so deep he would probably even be gone before our 2nd rd pick. If we don’t get Shepard in the 2nd, i think Miller would be a great pick…I really never thought he would be there for our 3rd rd selection but I do admit there is a chance he could be bc of his rawness at the position. I love T. Young and can easily see him being the pick in rd 4. and I actually had Shell in my mock with the same exact pick as you have him. In fact, I had Joseph, Hargrave, Young, and Shell in my mock as well.

    2 things:

    1.) I mentioned how I can see Miller being gone before we pick in rd 3. If he is I can see P. Cooper being the pick (I think between them one of them might be there and I would be happy with either).

    2.) I really don’t think there is a chance J. Brown is there for our 6th rd pick….I know there is always a chance but I truly think that chance is probably less than 2%. I see he is gaining steam and even saw him in Mayock’s top 100 list this morning which would put him in the 3rd rd…now I personally see him as a 4th or even 5th rounder but our 6th rd pick is at the end of the 6th so I just personally think we would have to use our 4th rd if we want him.

  • SteelersDepot

    I just think J Brown is getting WAY too much hype and even from Mayock.

  • Frank Cordaro

    I like your final mock…rounds 1,2,3,4,6…Braxton Miller I was wondering if anyone would put his name in a mock draft for the Steelers, don’t beat me up to much for what Im about to write he reminds me of a taller version of Randle El/Hines Ward(big shoes) also I like Shepard or Peake to.

  • Well, I would really like him a lot in the 6th so I hope teams shy away from him. Again, nice job on the mock!

  • Big White

    I’m not sure drafting an injured player at #25 is exactly a smart idea in the year of perhaps a 7th Super Bowl. Not to mention someone needs to tell Robert Golden just to surrender the position he has worked so hard to earn. I’m always up for BPA in the first round but if we are going to address our secondary, we need to address corner before safety. If Vernon Butler is still on the board I would run to the podium without hesitation.

  • WreckIess

    Joseph over Spence? I couldn’t pass up a chance to solidify the front 7 like that. I’m not sure I like the Jatavis Brown pick either. I like him as a player, but I just don’t know if Butler has the creativity needed to get the most out of a guy like that.

  • SteelersDepot

    One would think that Spence would have been brought in for a visit due to some red flags. Don’t get me wrong, I like the player, I’m just not so sure the Steelers have a lot of interest in him. This mock is what i think the steelers will do.

  • I understand your concerns, but Every time I heard Tomlin or Colbert mention how the tape doesn’t lie I thought of K. Joseph. The bottom line is if the like tape than they have fallen in love with Joseph…he is a great football player! And he should be ready for camp.

  • Nicholas Allen Cotner

    I would be more than okay with Braxton Miller in the third round

  • Agreed, especially when they brought in a player like Robert Nkemdiche.

  • Ju

    How about that ? ^^
    Personally I’d loooooove it ! (Fanspeak draft board)

    25: R1P25

    58: R2P27

    89: R3P26

    123: R4P25

    220: R6P45

    229: R7P8

    246: R7P25

  • NonnaYourbiz

    if Braxton Miller is there at pick 89 , I will quit posting here.

  • PittsburghSports

    Actually, every pick is one of my favorite players. I can even get behind the Braxton Miller pick, and I heard a rumor that Colbert and Tomlin were talking to him at his pro day. Still, I wouldn’t personally go WR until the later rounds. I’m down with Joseph and Hargrave in rds 1-2, but the more I hear it, the more I start to think it won’t happen. Young, Shell and Brown are 3 players really high in my mocks.

  • Ward Holder

    I get that everyone loves Karl Joseph. But the Steelers really aren’t going to get better at corner until they invest. A 2nd or 3rd rounder, who might actually play something other than inside since they have to believe that position is taken by last year’s #2, Senquez Golson. Waiting until the 4th round, and then getting a smaller Golson? I could totally see them doing it, I just don’t think it will help them either in the short or long term.

  • Big White

    I wouldn’t mind the pick at 40 but the strength in this draft is the top 20-25 and then there a yuuuugggee dropoff. If the Steelers are to hold up the Lombardi Trophy in February they need a guy who make a difference NOW. Billings, Butler, WJIII, Doctson, heck even McKenzie Alexander in the dime package fit that mold. Heck if the Steelers aren’t sold on Golden then go sign Antonio Cromartie and move him to free safety. Joseph will not be a playmaker in 2016 and the Steelers literally might have a 2-3 year window for another title due to Ben’s age.

  • RickM

    I, like you, would love to see him in a Steelers’ uniform. But if he’s available my guess is the Steelers will pass on him as too risky and not filling a need they consider primary (although we do). If he gets to 29, Keim and Arians will have the card up immediately for Spence as red flags don’t turn them off. Chandler Jones and Noah Spence – pass rush issues solved.

  • Nicholas Allen Cotner

    Golson will get more than his fair share of looks outside this summer

  • John

    1. M. Alexander CB Clemson
    2. D. Thompson S BSU
    3. N. Lowry DE Northwestern
    4. Tavon Young CB Temple
    6. J. Brown LB Akron
    7. Vernon Adams QB Oregon (or Cody Kessler QB USC)
    7. Whatever developmental OL guy you think makes sense

    Other than the QB picks, this is not what I would do. It is more what I think they may do.

  • I think we just disagree about how good Joseph is….I think Joseph is a top 15 player in this draft who might be there for us at #25 bc of his injury and not being able to test in the 40 yd dash, 3 cone, shuttle, etc.

    And I do think he can be a play maker for us this year….maybe week 1 and maybe not, but it’s a long season.

  • NonnaYourbiz

    you think they would start McCullers @ NT in 2016 with no depth behind him?

  • Big White

    If he’s healthy i’m right there with you. If Miles Jack fell to #25 I would pass on him as well.

  • steeltown

    Safety, DL, CB and a WR in the first 4Rds… sign me up!

  • NonnaYourbiz

    He would be worth seeing if Harrison can teach him how to use his lack of height but strong upper body to get under a tackle unconventionally.

    I have no idea if his ankle flexion is good enough for it.

  • I was just going to say that I am not so sure that Golson can’t be a good CB outside. Who’s to say that Golson and Young can’t play outside. Young completely shut down Will Fuller last year in that ND game and it wasn’t in the slot. In fact, the argument can be made that they may be better off outside bc they may not hold up against the run inside.

    I’m just not one to put these guys in that “box” of only playing the slot…just remains to be seen but either way we play plenty of sub packages.

  • Matt Manzo

    I love the Miller pick! Though I can understand hoping for one of the 3rd round CBs.
    But if the WR can return punts and kicks, they’re worth an early round pick.
    Only one that is hard to swallow is Tavon. I thought we needed a CB who can play outside? We have Gay and Golson for the slot.

  • steelburg

    I have felt the same exact way about Carson Wentz and now he is projected to go number 2 overall. Mayock is taking money on the side lol.

  • Nicholas Allen Cotner

    You don’t draft a guy like Golson, who was one of the better zone corner prospects coming out in recent years and would have been a top 15 pick if he was a little over an inch taller, and have the mindset that he is only going to play the slot. That is his floor. Not his ceiling.

  • Richard

    I said miller in 3rd the day martavis got suspended here. just sayin. if it comes true ill go try out for miss cleos hotline

  • well, I don’t know enough about Jack’s knee to say so you kind of just have to trust your doctors with that bc of the talks around it….but Joseph is recovering from an ACL which sucks but unless there are concerns about his recovery (and there hasn’t been any) than there shouldn’t be an issue pulling the trigger.

  • TrappenWeisseGuy ;

    I like Hargrave but with his short height and arms, with small hands,I struggle to figure out where he’d play. Nose at 310?, I dunno. That seems light to be going up against doubles or even good centres.

  • Brian Miller

    Great job Dave, we know you hate doing these, but the hard work all off season usually pays off. I’m sure there will be differences in the actual draft, but I agree that a WR will go somewhere in the 1st – 4th rounds, and if makes sense. If they address the DL and S needs in the first two rounds, the available third round CB’S tend to be reaches on most mocks unless someone great falls.

  • Nicholas Allen Cotner

    Golson can play outside

  • He is only 6ft tall so 309lbs fits the bill….billings is the same height and only 2lbs more….butler is 6’4 at 323 lbs. If anything, there should be more concern about butler bc for an extra 3-4 inches 14lbs is not that much more weight. Either way, after watching their film it’s evident that all 3 of these guys can hold down the nose position for the 30% of the time we run it but at the same time really help out in sub packages unlike your old school NTs in the past.

  • Shannon Stephenson

    My Critique: Actually are thought processing is similar as I too am looking for a way to get Sterling Shephard but I actually think he will go in the 1st in this weak front end draft class for WR’s. It is hard to ignore the FCS snubs year in and year out for Hargrave to be taken in the 2nd. Miller is a interesting prospect but I am not a fan of his just because of how raw he is and then taking him in the 3rd. I like DJ White better then Young but can live with that pick. My problem with Jatavis is when I watch the tape he does fly around but he labors in tackling people in the MAC. How will he do in the big time? For a Hybrid LB I just cannot get over that.

  • Jacob

    William Gay is on the wrong side of 30. The Steelers need to address the outside CB position pronto.

  • Nolrog

    Won’t be long now until we find out for real.

  • Antonio G

    It wouldn’t shock me if Steelers go WR. Just me though, change Braxton Miller with Yannick Ngakoue and this would be an ideal draft. I think we have enough in the corps of WR to last one more season. Next year when we have holes to fill, it might be smoother transition for a WR to join the offense than an OLB to join the defense. Many say he won’t last 4 rounds, and so I’ll gamble and let Yannick Ngakoue sit and learn for a year, rotate in snaps, and take my chances with a high WR pick next season when Wheaton is gone and Bryant just might be back.

  • SteelersDepot

    have you seen him? he can easily put on both good and bad pounds.

  • Shannon Stephenson

    Steelers almost always bring in the red flag players with a 1st round grade on them. So I also feel they may not have interest in him.

  • WreckIess

    From what Ledyard has said, The Steelers showed “A ton” of interest in Spence and they’ve been in contact with one another. I normally don’t buy into the whole smoke screen thing, but this would be a guy who they would pretend to be disinterested in.

  • Shannon Stephenson

    shoot me in the head please

  • Shannon Stephenson

    You would pass on Jack?!

  • Jeff Papiernik

    Using the other prospects you considered each round, I would’ve swapped Jordan Jenkins for Braxton Miller, and Jonathan Jones for Tavon Young. Otherwise, not bad.

  • Big White

    1. Vernon Butler La Tech DT
    2. Kendall Fuller Va Tech CB
    3. Landon Turner UNC OG
    4. Jayron Kearse Clemson S
    6. Darryl Worley WVU CB
    7. Cody Kessler USC QB
    7. Aaron Green TCU RB

  • Big White

    I’ve heard as many as 10 teams have already made him a scratch. Serious knee issue.

  • Shannon Stephenson

    I haven’t heard anything on 10 teams scratched him but was it a 1st round scratch or a off the board scratch? I could see him going out the top ten but unless it is a Jaylon Smith type injury He will go in the 1st and if he is available when we draft I wouldn’t hesitate to pull the trigger.

  • Renegade15

    Solid mock! Curious if you think the steelers will take young over white from Georgia tech if he is still there.

  • c t s

    I’m really glad fans aren’t part of the process.

  • Shannon Stephenson

    we are a mess aren’t we…lol

  • Shannon Stephenson

    I really like White

  • Big White

    His short term is good, but many concerns about long term durability. I’m all about both guys as players, but with the schedule as cake as it is, Brady Suspension, etc……. I want to win a 7th so bad I can taste it. Get a player with immediate impact whether that be returning kicks, getting meaningful snaps in relief or whatever, but #25 cannot be on the sidelines until 2017.

  • Sdale

    You could also pick up Billings and then Simmons in the 3rd. I like that route as well. Maybe there’s a decent corner in the 2nd with that scenario.


    Wow I hope this isn’t how draft day goes down
    There are several outstanding DLmen available in the first that I would prefer to Joseph
    Really DON’T like using a #1 on an injured player- if we’re gonna do that lets take Smith from ND!!!

  • Bob Francis

    Any thought about WR in the 1st, depending on how the board breaks? Also, I wonder about a scenario of waiting on safety and CB, esp. if Joseph is gone. Maybe V. Butler (1), Calhoun (2), and then a safety like Bayrd or Simmons and a CB. Daniel Jeremiah says he’s hearing a lot of buzz around CB Young, such tat he may be a Day 2 pick.


    Yeah but will Joseph come back as he was ? I know all the experts are saying he will. But then there’s
    How does he help us to get to the 7TH THIS year or next latest (BB clock)?
    Not critiquing the authors work – but I can’t past him being injured and turning into a smaller version of Woodley.

  • draframe1

    Need OLB somewhere!

  • Sdale

    I agree, but it’s a terrible draft for edge rushers. Might be one or two guys at the top and the rest are average at best.

  • Clutterbox

    I like it overall especially 1 and 4. I’m not sold on Hargrave yet. I understand the pick though. In terms of positions, this draft makes a lot of sense.

  • Ward Holder

    I hear you. But after waiting for a long time for Jarvis Jones to reach his ceiling, I’m more concerned than I used to be with players’ floors. And as for Young shutting down Fuller, I’m old enough to remember Troy Edwards who the Steelers drafted first round in 1999. He went off against Nebraska, like 13 catches for 200 yards. Still didn’t make him a good NFL receiver, only with Pittsburgh for 3 years – I’m leery of players who we turn to their significant game, rather than a number of games where they played well.

  • Jefferson_St_Joe

    Would you give any consideration to doing a draft of what you think they should do? I’d be interested to know, given the time you and the crew put in to scouting.

  • johnhoien

    I think your right about billings… Joseph, even hurt makes sense. Golden will show him the ropes 1/2 season.. & they can let this bull loose. This mock does make sense with what could happen… The second pick really could be a WR , I hope AB is not doing double duty this year returning punts… Would be nice to take Shepard here as I believe he returns punts.. Great Draft Dave.. Would be happy if it went this way

  • Colin

    Pretty solid mock Dave, I love the Joseph pick, safety is much more valuable than corner in this defense. Although the Id be happy with either Joseph, Billings or Jackson III. Hargrave is growing more on me the more I read about him. You are right again with it wouldn’t be a steelers draft without an OSU player selected. Miller would be a surprising pick but certainly has potential and is a playmaker. As for the CB position in the 4th I wouldn’t mind either Young or DJ white from GT. Outside of the top 3-4 corners I don’t see much drop off in the mid round CB’s. Steelers do a solid job of finding late round capable reserve guys so I like the 6th and 7th rd picks. Appreciate all the time and effort you guys at Steelers Depot put in. I read the site daily like the morning paper, you guys do an awesome job keep it up!

  • SteelersDepot

    You know the severity of those injuries are night and day, right? You say “There are several outstanding DLmen available in the first”, yet you fail to name names for all of us. Why is that?

  • Colin

    Smith’s injury and Joseph’s injury are way different. Smith is 100% sitting out the entire 2016 season and some don’t even think Smith will ever be the same where as Joseph could contribute in his first year

  • johnhoien

    This may be a surprise to some, but Reggie Regland fell to 25 on several of my mock drafts.. He is ranked in the top 15.. If he is there, I believe we would take him

  • SkoolHouseRoxx

    Love this mock draft, Dave! Don’t know about Jatavis Brown in the 6th, but I’ll take it!

  • SteelersDepot

    Dropping because most see him as a two-down linebacker

  • H.K. northern cali

    Like ur 3rd pick the best!

  • Addison

    So Karl would miss training camp and a quarter or the season right? Is he a top 10-15 talent?

  • NW86

    Dave, until recently weren’t you saying that the Steelers’ interest in Joseph was probably only hoping that he might fall to them in the 2nd? What has changed recently?
    Not saying Joseph isn’t good or trying to overstate the injury, it’s just that with all the talk about how there isn’t much first round talent this year among DB’s, but there is a lot of 2nd-3rd round talent, it seems like they could wait until the 2nd and see who the best available DB is. Joseph, Bell, Kendall Fuller – 1 of those 3 will probably still be on the board.

  • John

    The issue is not just the injury to Joseph. He also seems to be slightly undersized and a different body type to what they like at Strong Safety. Neal and Thompson are more of the body type as far as I can see. They tend to see guys like Joseph or Justin Simmons more as fill-ins for Mitchell and his role. Everyone has also noted that safety this year has depth and is more of a second round position, except maybe for Neal. We will see of course but there is a lot of dialogue against Joseph in round one.

  • Tomatoes at the ready.
    I think that Jailon Marshall in the fourth would be a better long term #3/#4 for them and he has experience in special teams. I also like Tajae Sharpe from Mass as well.

  • I agree he is smaller but you have to think about coverage those bigger body stiff hipped safeties just do not cut it any more.

  • blackandgoldBullion

    That is still a possibility. In which case they take Billings or Butler in the 1st. Or Willie Jackson. A CB in the first? No. There’s a better chance they trade down (Please, please!), and get an extra 3rd rounder.

    How many guys do we love if we had an extra 3rd rounder? That would bring OLB Jenkins into play, any number of WRs, or CBs, DT Hargrove even if they’re lucky.

  • NW86

    I don’t know that he would miss anything (other than minicamp). His injury came last October. Several NFL players have come back ~9 months after their injuries in recent years. Granted, he may not have access to NFL caliber doctors and trainers yet, but he will once he is drafted, and I don’t think it’s out of the question that he could be ready for training camp in July.

    That said, I haven’t seen anything that says he is a top 10-15 talent.

  • He had 21 catches for 405 yds against Nebraska….I referred to Young’s game against fuller bc they were one-on-one and fuller may very well go in the 1st rd on Thursday night….however, Young had a good season overall not just against Fuller.

  • SteelersDepot

    Downloaded and watched every game from 2014 and feel better about status of knee.

  • NW86

    Thanks. I admittedly haven’t watched much on him. It will be interesting to see what happens – it just seems like a lot of the guys being mocked to the Steelers could be a slight reach. I’d actually love a scenario where Denver trades up to 25 to get a QB and the Steelers still get Joseph (or Billings, or whoever the next best CB is after WJIII and Apple) at 31.

  • WOW, Dave! I love them ALL! Braxton in the 3rd would be Xcellent! People would grumble…until he’s good to go next year re replacing Bryant. I’d bet he’ll be very good in the slot in 2017 [and eventually outside, if needed] while Coates will split wide. Right off the bat, he’s our punt returner as team scouts at the senior bowl raved over his natural hands in fielding punts. Solid value for every pick and the team would be definitely stronger!

  • grw1960

    I am no expert. But I see some talking heads having DT Billings ranked ranked in the top 30 and others as low as the 45th best player.
    I never put much faith in the talking heads , But every year they seem to get worse as evaluaters
    There doesn’t seem to be much consensus on players this year once you get past the top 20 or so.

  • LucasY59

    I totally agree on (almost taking) Shepard and the Miller pick, This Draft is going to be very heavy on defensive picks so getting at least one useful player on O is not only realistic (they wont ignore the Offense for the entire draft) but also a bit necessary.

    Shepard might end up being the best WR in this draft (realistically with how poor the talent at the WR position is for this draft) He could be a AB type receiver, and if he is BPA (and the Steelers know how to accurately scout/find WR talent) then he is worth a 2nd pick (I also agree that he could be gone already, mainly because of lack of talent at the position)

    Miller is a good athlete at the position and like Dave pointed out the Steelers have been able to use former QBs turned WRs pretty well (I think Miller could be somewhere between Ward and Randle El) I think the 3rd is good value for Miller and if he is gone a pick like Vannett would make me pretty happy as well

    WR seems like the position of least need, but It has quite a few ?s, Bryant might never make it back, Wheaton could be gone (almost certain if they draft another early WR) and AB could be a bit of an issue with his contract after this season as well, so a draft pick is a good insurance policy (it also helps solidify a strength so that even if there is an injury they should be able to continue to have a high quality passing attack)

  • LucasY59

    I am also pretty happy with the top 2 picks, IF Billings is there I would take him, but Joseph is a good consolation (also agree that WJIII is the 3rd option for the pick and one of the 3 should be available)

    Hargrave is a good 2nd pick if they cant get Billings, Brandon Williams (ratbirds) is a good example of a FCS player that Totally Dominated his level of competition and was able to transition that to the NFL. Williams is a bit more of a big body, but shows what a guy that plays the nose, but can get pressure on the QB and push the pocket is a valuable part of the D, him getting pressure up the middle helps his edge rushers as well, since a QB cant step up and avoid the outside guys.

    he also stops the run (which even though isnt as big of a part of the O anymore is still important. The Opposition will exploit whatever it can and if a D focus’ on rushing the pass, and doesnt have guys that are good against the run they will run on them)

  • This is great work, Dave, even if it’s content that you know is going to be mostly wrong (not that that’s a bad thing, though, because mocks should be more about education and prediction). You and Alex are now pretty close on your top picks — not sure if that’s worrying or not. Personally, I’d go Billings in the first, but, like you, I think he’ll be off the board. I think any of the CBs would be a disappointment. So unless an edge rusher falls, Joseph does appear to be the logical pick. I’ve said this now a few times, but it does concern me that we likely won’t be an impact player in 2016, though. Sure, maybe this would be a pick for 2017 and later, but I’d like a guy who could come in and contribute in a meaningful way to a contending team — hence my love for Billings. But Hargrave would be a fine fall-back option at DL. Like you, and unlike Alex, I also see the Steelers going WR early in the draft — Day 2 (or maybe even Day 1 if a guy like Doctson falls). CB is a need, but I think that’s a Round 4 pick at the earliest.

    Anyway, thanks for all your work on this. I know I speak for a lot of us when I say I really, really, really, really, really appreciate it.

  • LucasY59

    Young seems to be a good pick in the 4th (hopefully he will be better than most of the other CB draft picks)

    Brown is a good Athlete that could be useful in sub packages and also a very good ST guy so I like the pick

    Shell is fine for a 7th rd pick (curious to see if Mihalik can have anywhere close to the success that AV did, not likely…) but the signing of Harris makes the Swing OT position already filled. Adams is also back, but I think he almost has a better shot of sticking around if he could possibly play LG (I know its very unlikely, but him finally figuring out how to play outside is just as unlikely, there is a chance he doesnt make it though the pre season)

    Heath is another good 7th pick, I want to see if Walton or Lyons could turn out, but taking Heath is insurance (or another chance to find the late rd DE that can back up the two Star players at the position) if Hargrave (or Billings) can rotate with them for sub package snaps the depth at DE isnt as bad, I dont think Mathews signing makes him that likely to make the roster (to me he has just as low of a chance as a guy like Heath, and less than a guy like Walton)

  • Kenneth Wilt

    I actually think Miller is going to be a very good WR. I just believe he is that good of an athlete. Maybe it is my love for Hines, but I do think this guys can do it.

  • Nick Sabatella

    Not a fan of braxton, although I can see the appeal there. Really like first couple of picks and the Akron kid in the 6th though.

    Can’t wait to see how this plays out!

  • Juan Nogueira

    I love this draft. Great freaking job Dave!

  • LucasY59

    I think Joseph is a very similar player to Ryan Clark, he isnt really that big, but he is a very violent hitter, I agree with kgtr that he is better in coverage than some of the bigger safeties (which is important)

    also with how the Steelers use their Safeties, if they need a Box safety Mitchell can move up and Joseph could move back to cove deep, the ability for both Safeties to be able to perform both run support and pass coverage is heavily valued (part of what has made Shamarko not be able to play)

    Having Shazier (and drafting Brown) gives them 2 LBs that are as fast as Safeties that could also play in the box in certain situations as well, so I would not worry about Joseph (if it werent for Injury there is no way Joseph is not a lock 1st rd pick and the debate would be IF he would last till the Steelers pick)

  • Dennis Nevinsky

    Braxton Miller would be a steal in the 3rd. I have him going in the late 2nd or early 3rd. I would like the pick, but I think Pharoh Cooper, WR, is more likely in the 3rd.

  • AndyR34

    Have to agree w/steellife007 here on the CB’s. Neither of the two you mentioned are going to make a difference in 2016. Only Billings (likely to be gone) or Butler will. And I believe that Joseph/Hargrove is better than Butler/whomever is left.

  • Milliken Steeler

    No way. We need a prospect at OLB and if that dude fell to us with that talent, we’d be insane to pass on him. He’d be ready to go next year and we’re “okay” at OLB for this year as long as Debo didn’t retire now, instead of later. We’re still gonna add a DL and a db or two probably.

  • Big White

    I don’t believe he is projected as a stand up end OLB. More of a true 4-3 OLB and I believe I heard the other day that the Chargers were interested in him playing free safety. His skill set is definitely not to fight off 330 lb offensive tackles.

  • Matt Manzo

    That would be great! I guess I thought since we got Boykin for the slot, after Golson got hurt, that that’s where he would play.

  • Darth Blount 47

    You nailed it!

    No, not your mock, silly, the fact that mocking is a losing proposition. Almost impossible to get more than just a couple guys right. Heck, I would consider 3 correct to be almost a miracle. One year, I somehow got 4 correct. I’m not sure I have ever gotten more than 2 right since. And I likely never will. So tough.

    That being said, the Joseph/Hargrave combo is becoming a trend. And since we rarely do anything predictable, I think it is unlikely. We all likely know about KaJo. But Hargrave warrants some studying. And when you do, man you are right, he obliterated his competition on his level.

    If we go WR pre-6th rd, I too hope for Shepard. Or Boyd. Braxton has that ability to check multiple boxes as far as his versatility, but is he Jack of All and Master of None? If so, that scares me quite a bit. But I get your thinking.

    Lastly, I too can be counted among those that thinks that the 4th may be too late to wait to grab a CB. And yes, I expect an OLB to go to us before an ILB. And like I told Alex K, I think rounds 6 and 7 for us this year are just basically those hidden gem guys that you make like personally. I get that. But if you think Dadi Nicolas is still an option in the 7th, along with Trae Elston still on the board in the 7th too, it would be very hard to pass up those two guys there I think.

    But a very good effort, boys. I think the yeoman’s work you guys do here for us is amazing. I, for one, applaud you all.

  • Milliken Steeler

    Sua Cravens,may not even play Safety, Jack is gonna play linebacker, somewhere I believe.

  • Darth Blount 47

    Like yesterday.

  • Darth Blount 47

    I disagree with that. Golson on the outside is an experiment waiting to burn the lab down. Now, Doran Grant on the outside is a possibility.

  • Darth Blount 47

    I’ve done multiple fanspeak mocks and they just aren’t very accurate. I did one and got literally every player I wanted. It was like Christmas morning every round…

  • Big White

    I saw him play twice last year. He can do a lot of stuff. I mean it’s ironic that he’s a Southern Cal guy because he very similar to you know who. Love to have him.

  • Darth Blount 47

    Will Steelers Depot have anyone in Chicago this year? Just curious, because I’ll be there in town during the madness. CHI-TOWN! Just have to remember to pretend I’m in Wilkinsburg when visiting the South Side of Chicago. Though, I’ve never had a bad time in Chicago, so there’s that. And I hear the Draft Town they set up on site is pretty fun. Hope it all goes smoooooth!

  • Nicholas Allen Cotner

    How? And it better not be his height

  • Phil Brenneman II

    I am just going to keep saying it. H*ll no to a receiver that early. If we take a receiver as early as the 2nd I might stop being a fan due to the sheer stupidity I would be witnessing from the organization. I am exaggerating, but that is how strongly I feel that it would be an absolutely terrible pick. Same goes for round 3 but being that it is a little later than the 2nd it isn’t as bad, but still awful.

    ILB, OLB, S, DL and CB are all current and future needs. WR is a POTENTIAL, FUTURE (I am not yelling by the way lol, just don’t know how to italicize on here for emphasis) need. I have not seen a single argument that is a good one for taking a WR early.

    I respect what you do Dave and your knowledge of Steelers football but this whole receiver argument seems more of an anti national media type of conversation then it does anything else. We do not need a WR in this draft.

  • SteelersDepot

    You better prepare yourself for one to be drafted in the first three or four rounds. Wheaton will be gone in 2017. Martavis might never return and Sammie is still VERY unproven. DHB is a spot player.

  • Phil Brenneman II

    I am prepared only for anger lol. To touch on some points though:

    1. I wouldn’t mind Wheaton being gone (I don’t think he is anything more than an average player) but I don’t think it is so certain. He has done very little in his career to this point to warrant a big contract so there is no reason for the Steelers not to keep him. So unless they just don’t think he is that good and want to move on regardless, I think there is a very real possibility he gets a new contract. Especially if they know for sure when the time comes that Bryant isn’t coming back.

    2. Might. Timmons and Shazier might get injured and we have Williams and a nobody. Golden or Mitchell might get injured and we have Shemarko Thomas. Tuitt or Heyward might get injured and we have a rookie (assuming your round 2 comes through) or some nobodies. Point is, there is a very real need at all defensive positions and we don’t even have to play the might game. At WR there are a lot of ifs and mights. Currently though, the WR position is just fine.

    3. Sammie proved himself against the Broncos. It is a small sample size but are there any good reasons to believe he doesn’t continue on an uphill trend?

    4. DHB is better than a spot player. In fact, I would argue he is more valuable to our efforts than Wheaton is. DHB gives you the Bryant type of threat that Ben loves.

    5. 1-4 and we haven’t even talked about what Bell offers out of the backfield or the addition of Green as a pass catching TE.

    Ben is swimming in weapons and a WR is a luxury and a waste before round 6.

  • steelmann58

    The Steelers if they are happy with their secondary must have not listen to Art Rooney. Imo the last thing we need is another CB who only made for the slot

  • George Kroger

    Very good write-up and choices are logical.

    A few issues/comments:

    1. I would rather see Billings and/or Spence in the first. If they are not available, I’m fine with the best safety in the draft. Safety is a MUCH bigger need than CB (IMO) – agree with your take on the current CB situation.
    2. Although I like your argument for Miller, I think a TE would be better served there. That’s the one position you did not address at all and it is one of need (with Heath retiring). I would take the best available TE in the 3rd.
    3. If Spence is not picked in round one, an OLB needs to be taken somewhere (either 4th or 6th). JJ is never gonna be who we wanted him to be and Harrison’s obviously not the long-term solution (we’re good with Bud).

    That’s it. Like I said, good job with this…very well written (although I did find one typo – 2nd sentence in 4th to last paragraph – think you wanted will instead of with).

  • George Kroger

    “But a very good effort, boys. I think the yeoman’s work you guys do here for us is amazing. I, for one, applaud you all.”

    Up voted for this comment…although I agree with rest of your comment (except the CB argument).


    I guess. Just doesn’t wow me to pick a guy whose injured. I say D line in rd1 and S in rd 2 or 3


    I understand and prob not a good comparison for me to mention.
    Just feels like we should get one of the many good DLmen in rd 1.
    I mean aren’t there good and UNinjured players available?


    And we all know who thecrd1 DLmen are – we have read about them on this site.

  • Donald Tillman

    It depends on whose board you use.

  • Darth Blount 47

    Okay then… umm… umm… he has short arms?

  • Darth Blount 47

    I’ve used a few different boards just to get different flavors. I just see some of the mocks on here off of that site and the ones I do, always seem to be too good to be true. People fall like 2 or 3 rounds past where they are likely to go. I got Karl Joseph in RD 3 before and Billings too. Now, I don’t doubt that COULD happen but c’mon. Also, the last 2 mocks I did from there Zeke Elliot wasn’t picked until early 2nd rd. Again, really?

  • John

    I tend to agree. However I am not sure the Steelers see it that way.

  • Melly

    I would be really pleased w/ those guys. I doubt B.Miller will be there in the third, but I understand the need to draft a WR.

  • Nicholas Allen Cotner

    Exactly. The guy was pegged as a tremendous zone cb propect, has ball skills for days, and had the production numbers while playing in the SEC. If he was an inch taller he’s a top 15-20 pick. He’ll be fine outside.

  • Matt Manzo

    I don’t think anyone is mocking a TE to us. I think we’re all in agreement that Green and James are more than serviceable. If anything we might take a flyer on a 7th or a UDFA to compete with Spaeth, but not a 3rd.
    Not saying it’s impossible but it’s the first time I’ve heard that request.

  • Matt Manzo

    What if he could excel at kick and punt returns?

  • George Kroger

    Yeah – when I first wrote that I forgot about Green. I do think they should draft a TE, but you might be right about later in the draft.

  • Darth Blount 47

    I absolutely agree with you. The man has huge hands for his size and they are super soft too. I like Quez. I really do. I honestly hope he is our slot corner for the next decade. But also in agreeing with you I point out your point… HE IS NOT AN INCH TALLER no matter how much you are I would want him to be. Case in point/challenge… Name me 3 CB’s, under 5’10, who have primarily played on the outside, who have ever been dominant. Heck, who have ever been very good. Say, in the last 40 years. Now don’t worry, I’ll wait…

    And if you do name them, I’ll never bring up Golson’s height ever again. EVER.

  • Phil Brenneman II

    If it is 6th or 7th round I am all for taking shots on anything. In the first 4 I want need and talent. We don’t need a WR now and we can’t even be sure it will be a need in 2017.

  • shaler79

    LOVE the Braxton Miller pick. Stiller fan from Michigan saw alot of Big 10 football and Ohio State. Miller is a football player, a winner, and very competitive and tough. I see alot of Hines Ward in him. Who I believe was a quarterback in college.

  • Nicholas Allen Cotner

    Darrell Green, Antoine Winfield, and Ronde Barber just off the top of my head.

  • Jason Kelley

    An ACL tear isn’t really a chronic thing, though. Woodley was always muscle injuries.

  • Jason Kelley

    Anyone else not follow college football AT ALL, then every year fall in love with whichever players Dave and Alex like?

    Just me?

  • SteelersDepot

    don’t do that as most will likely wind up as Ravens.

  • Jason Kelley

    It’s uncanny how good you are at calling their picks. Still remember how pumped you had me for John Simon a few years back.

    I think you and Ozzie Newsome were separated at birth.

  • Darth Blount 47

    Close. And for the effort, I’ll peep down. Especially if the Steelers make the choice to actually try him outside. But I’m expecting at least 1 CB to be drafted and I personally hope it is one over 5’9. I said “close” because Ronde was 5’10 so he doesn’t cut the mustard. And I thought of Green immediately as I wrote the question. That guy was amazing. Top 10 CB’s of all-time no question. A rare bird. And Winfield played outside some, you are correct. But he also covered slot WR’s quite a bit and some say that is where he made his mark from in Minny. But yeah man, I feel ya. Maybe if there is one guy to do it righteous it is Golson. I just don’t know if he ever gets the chance.

  • Darth Blount 47

    Oh, and for posterity, you could have said Pat Fischer… but since he retired in ’77 or 78′ I didn’t think you’d know him. And I guess he’d technically sneak under the 40 year mark, lol. And literally the only other guy I could think of was Mark “Mighty Mouse” McMillian. But he didn’t have a long career and was only just pretty good. Not dominant, not very good, but pretty good. Would have liked to see what he could have done if he’d played 5 more years or so.

  • popsiclesticks

    I would be thrilled if the draft played out like this. I think getting Hargrave after the 2nd is a pipedream and I love speed players at ILB. I would love a top corner but I don’t want to reach for one….Gay + Cockrell with a year under his belt + Golson + NOT BLAKE isn’t good but it’s not as desperate as people tend to make it out, IMO. I think OLB is much more desperate going forward but this isn’t a great year for outside rushers.

    I did a first round mock today, though…and I didn’t have Karl Joseph lasting to 1.25. I don’t think he will but I hope I’m wrong. I put him…..16th to Tennessee. It just seems to make sense…Old Man LeBeau stumping for the next Polamalu. Pick 16. I hope those planets don’t align.

  • Hard Row

    I’d love that draft. I agree that the steelers probably don’t see as big of a need at DB as fans do. I also think they have CB and S grouped together, meaning they think they just need 1 impact DB whether it is CB or S and the secondary will be fixed.

    Because Safety is pretty thin, i can see them going S first. I guess it depends on how much they really like the top CBs, namely William Jackson.

    I see OLB as a big need because in my mind Jarvis is a backup. I would like to get Spence in RD 1 but looking at the steelers visit list it seems they are not concerned with OLB so i don’t see Spence.

    I will not be surprised to see a WR drafted high either. With the mocks i have done, in many versions, i run into a hole in RD 3 where i don’t see value at DL, LB, CB, or S. That makes WR the best pick. It is a need too because Martavis may never be back and Wheaton is just average. Coates is still unknown.

    I agree that Braxton Miller will be a good return man. This guy is just a natural football player. He needs to learn route running but he tracks and catches naturally. Once he makes the catch, he’s a RB with the ball.

    Joel Heath will be a steal. The only reason he is rated so low is because DL draft grades are usually based on pass rush. Heath would be a perfect tandem with a possible project like Hargrave.

  • Hard Row

    The biggest strength of this steeler team is the passing game. That is now their identity. Their preferred formation is 3 WRs. They have AB, Wheaton, and Coates. That is only 1 legit threat. If AB got hurt, the offense would have to change.

    The only way WR is not a need is if you can guarantee that Coates steps up to fill Martavis’s shoes and AB does not get injured.

    I can make a case for WR being the #1 pick if a guy like Doctson falls and Billings, Jackson, Joseph, and Spence are off the board. That scenario could easily happen at WR could be the best choice if a trade down is not possible.


    Meant Woodley’s lack of availability, not his specific injury.