Bleacher Report 2017 Mock Draft: Steelers Select WR John Ross In First Round

College Football: Washington John Ross (1) in action vs California at California Memorial Stadium. Berkeley, CA 11/5/2016 CREDIT: John W. McDonough (Photo by John W. McDonough /Sports Illustrated/Getty Images) (Set Number: SI608 TK1 )

A new day, a new name in the mock draft world for the Pittsburgh Steelers. Bleacher Report’s Brent Sobleski unveiled his final mock draft before the Combine. In it, he has the Steelers taking Washington WR John Ross with the 30th overall pick, one of the first times I think someone has mocked Ross to the team. 

An excerpt of his explanation.

“Martavis Bryant and Sammie Coates aren’t reliable options for entirely different reasons. Bryant is tremendously talented, but his suspension history is well-documented. Meanwhile, Coates isn’t a natural receiver. 

If the organization has an opportunity to add another dynamic playmaker to take pressure off Brown and quarterback Ben Roethlisberger, general manager Kevin Colbert needs to strongly consider it.” 

Wide receiver is a difficult position to judge for the Steelers right now, mostly clouded by Martavis Bryant’s uncertainty. If he isn’t reinstated, you’ll see a lot more people mock receiver high to the team and with good reason. Even if he is back, there is an obvious case to be made, as Sobleski does here, about the lack of trust there is in him.

Ross is one of the fastest players in the draft, expected to run in the mid 4.3’s this weekend at Indianapolis. Standing in at 5’11 190, he caught 81 passes for 1150 yards and 17 touchdowns last year with the Huskies. He also has a career 24.1 kick return average and an additional four scores.

The biggest concern with him are his slight frame and injuries. He is going to have surgery to fix a torn labrum following the Combine.

Choosing Ross would be an out-of-the-box selection but one that would be tough to be upset with. He’s a dynamic player who, even if Bryant returns, could peck away at Eli Rogers’ time in the slot. Rogers enjoyed a nice first season on the field but the biggest knock on him is a lack big plays and YAC ability, something Ross brings in spades.

About the Author

Alex Kozora

Full-time blogger from mom’s basement. Marrying tape and statistics. Chidi Iwuoma is my favorite Steeler of all-time.

  • RickM

    Let me get this straight. He wants to draft a receiver to replace the “unreliable” Bryant and Coates. And he’s recommending a guy with a slight frame, injury concerns and an upcoming operation. How do these guys get their jobs?

  • Sam Clonch

    Not the biggest need obviously, but if Colbert has him listed as the BPA when they pick, so be it. Would be easy to see him get on the field and have a chance to make an impact at least.

  • William Weaver

    If you can’t stop Brady, out score his a$$

  • Ace

    WR has gotta be the toughest one to figure out this year for the PS. I think D in general is way higher on the list than WR (or offense in general). If all the potential EDGE players fall, I’m leaning towards the top slot corner. Maybe Jones or Lewis but its tough throwing a first at a slot CB. Pretty big need though.

  • falconsaftey43

    I really like Ross, obviously worry about the injuries, need to know he’ll be ready for preseason to make it a worth while pick.

    Side note, 22.92% of Rogers catches went for explosive plays (+20 yards). 20.75% of ABs were explosive. We just saw the beginning of Rogers, he’s going to be even better this year.

  • renoir

    Never been a fan of 1st round wide receivers myself…

  • LucasY59

    I think this kid could make Mike Wallace look slow, I am expecting low 4.3s/high 4.2s (official combine times) he should get the shoes from adidas and break Chris Johnsons record (and then adidas will give him a ton of $ or I even heard a private island???)

    I dont expect him to be the pick (only WR I think the Steelers are interested at #30 is Davis) but think he would definitely help the offense so wont knock the mock too much (way better than picking a O-lineman)

  • LucasY59

    bleacher report is pretty much guys like us (but they actually get paid) I find some of the stuff there interesting, but dont give it much credibility

  • Matt Rippin

    “You can’t trust Bryant” is becoming my least favorite meme of the offseason. I mean, I get it, but:
    –If Bryan passes his pee tests, he will be reinstated.
    –If he is reinstated, he immediately becomes the Steelers’ second best receiver.
    –Playing out a rookie 4th round contract, he’s pretty cheap.
    –As long as he’s available, he’s more likely to contribute in 2017 than any rookie that will be there at pick 30.
    –His trade value is at its lowest ebb right now; they’d have to dump him for a conditional pick.
    –And the Steelers just tied up $72 million dollars in the WR position.
    So, from the organization’s perspective, what does it really mean to “trust” or not “trust” him? The fact is he’s on the payroll. It sucks that Bryant put the team in this pickle, but the Steelers really have no choice but to let him come back into the fold and be their #2.

  • RickM

    Good point. They’ve had significant WR drafting success in the 3rd, 4th and even 6th rounds. I doubt that they will feel the 1st round is a smart move either.

  • The Sun is Pro-Black

    That’s been the formula the past 4-5 years, hasn’t worked.

  • Kyle Chrise

    all mock drafts are bogus. if writers and analysts were judged on the accuracy of their mock drafts, there would be no draft coverage. biggest waste of content.

  • francesco

    Not only that but we have Eli Roger’s and Ayers doing the same thing already!!!

  • Pricopea

    I think Bryant and Coates are going to come back strong next season. The only extra weapon we need in this draft is TE and RB. Any other picks should strictly be defense

  • LucasY59

    Ross is nothing like Ayers and Rogers (other than size) he has elite speed

  • RickM

    It would be a major speed upgrade. But you’re certainly right that we got good yardage production already from Rogers, and in his first real year. If you’re looking to safeguard unreliable guys, slot is not the position. You’re looking outside.

  • Sdale

    Yeah, if he’s healthy, he’s Mike Wallace except with consistent hands and can run routes.

  • The Truth

    Hopefully you don’t mean a RB in he earlier rounds. That would be a waste. RB is not a position of need.

    Coates will be the same next year. He simply cannot catch. It has nothing to with his “finger” injury.

  • LucasY59

    interesting about the Labrum, I have heard the same about Takk McKinley, if either fall to the Steelers 2nd pick that would be pretty great (and worth the risk that they would miss most of the offseason)

  • PaeperCup

    Considering a WR in the first when it’s not an ABSOLUTE need doesn’t seem likely. I think Steelers are confident in their ability to develop WRs from later rounds that they don’t dare take one in the 1st. Especially if Bryant and Coates come back it makes for a crowded position.

  • William Weaver

    No offense to Cobi Hamilton but that isn’t the formula

  • Steelers072684

    Matt Miller is the worst of them.

  • The Sun is Pro-Black

    So Cobi Hamilton has been on the team the past 4-5 years?

  • Stout

    I think the organizations philosophy is to draft WRs later and develop them. Seems like every year we snatched one 3rd or later. I’m leaning they take D in the 1st, just too big of a hole to ignore. That being said, if he slips to our 2nd round pick I wouldn’t be surprised if he’ll be taken there.

  • T3xassteelers

    I think it’d be fun to have Ross, but definitely not needed. Would be cool to have AB, MB, Ross and then Coates as 4. Just an extreme luxury we can’t afford with huge holes at OLB and CB.

  • T3xassteelers

    We don’t need 1st round WRs to get good ones (AB 6th, MB 4th, Coates 3rd)

  • Pat Knotts

    word up amen

  • William Weaver

    Toussaint the year before. I just made the point to stay aggressive on offense, don’t just go all defense and hope to stop Brady. Most people say no WR first 3 rounds. What if Martavis fails another test? Even if Sammy plays well we are one injury away from Cobi starting again. Like his fight, but he is no game changer for sure.

  • The Sun is Pro-Black

    I’m not saying we shouldn’t draft a WR, I was just stating the obvious. But the fact remains, you’re not beating brady without good defense.

  • Michael James

    Bryant for sure if he stays clean. With Coates I’m a lot less optimistic. He’s just not a good football player, period. AB, Bryant, Rogers and even Ayers are higher in the pecking order.
    That doesn’t mean I would like a 1st round WR however.

  • William Weaver

    Pass rush is vital. That is all that seems to matter to him. If Martavis and Green are both available along with Bell I think we have a very good shot at winning even with the way our defense played. Ben can match Brady point for point with playmakers. Cobi couldn’t get it done. We basically agree in a roundabout way though

  • The Tony

    Reminds me of Desean Jackson but maybe the ability to run better routes

  • The Sun is Pro-Black

    We’re not beating anybody with the defense playing the way it did the last game.

  • Nolrog

    While I do see a WR being picked in the draft, I don’t see one taken before the 4th. As much as I complain about Colbert’s drafting ability, one thing he knows how to do is find WR talent later in the draft.

  • Nolrog

    The formula to beat the Patriots has been well documented and is quite clear. It starts and ends with getting pressure on Brady. If you don’t do that, he will chop you into nothing as he has done so many times before.

  • Nolrog

    Colbert does a great job finding receivers in the draft.

  • popsiclesticks

    I’m a big fan of this dude and I wouldn’t hate the pick, but there’d have to be a lot of other guys off the board for me to agree with it.

  • popsiclesticks

    As someone with a labrum injury that was surgically repaired and never fully healed, I wouldn’t worry about it at all for a wide receiver. OLB is slightly concerning but I could probably go out and play OLB with this shoulder (if I also got 10 years younger and 50 lbs heavier, of course). For WR I am completely unaffected.

    I can’t throw more than 10 yards, though. So Ross may not be a go for trick plays.

  • Applebite

    Hurry up, Goodell. Jump out of that pink, dirty onesie and start reviewing Bryant’s return.

    As for this John Ross pick, I have to disagree. Thing is, this draft is knee deep in WR talent. There’s going to be a backlog of WR talent in this draft to where you don’t have to rush to find a very good one. So why spend a much needed 1st rd pick on a position you’re not necessarily hurting at? They need a #2, there will be plenty of #2’s in this draft.

  • William Weaver

    I had already said that the only thing on defense that matters to Brady is pass rush. I get that. Don’t forget though Ben was on and could keep up with Brady but for 1 TD bouncing off Cobi’s chest, 1 off Sammy’s hands and then 1 where Cobi had stepped out.

  • Andrew

    Not that high on Ross, but if my boy from Western Michigan (Davis) falls to us, I would be beyond down to draft him

  • LucasY59

    I like his individual player profiles, but think he is terrible when trying to mock to specific teams, as far as overall rankings I think his big board is pretty decent, but he does play favorites a little and lets personal opinion affect things a too much (ignores some players and over hypes others, but that is kinda true with everyone)

  • LucasY59

    he has agility and the ability to make people miss to go along with blazing speed

  • WreckIess

    i haven’t really bothered to watch many Wide receivers because I’m pretty damn sure that we aren’t going to draft one that early and I’m not sure I can get on board with the idea of taking one that early if Martavis gets reinstated (and all signs are pointing towards the fact that he will). You’d be drafting someone in the first just for the worst case scenario where for some reason Martavis, who would’ve not had an incident in over a year, who take a few puffs AND where Coates’ fingers wouldn’t have healed right. The most realistic scenario is one where Martavis takes back over the No.2 spot and Coates becomes as serviceable as he was early last season. At that point, where are the snaps at for another receiver to justify taking him in the first?

  • IchabodTheGloryHasDeparted

    Defense, defense, defense with the 1st three picks please

  • Josh Gustad

    I swear these so called “analysts” don’t look at what teams need. There is no way you can tell me the Steelers are even thinking going WR when we have glaring needs at almost every defensive position. WR is dead last on the “needs” list for me.

  • Jon Crissinger

    This kid is Desean Jackson’s talent reincarnate. I would not be at all upset with this.

  • will

    Sounds like DRI Archer v2.0

  • will

    And he is 1 failed drug test from being banned………that is like building your house on sand.

  • Jason Vancil

    Since all of this is conjecture, I will predict that Bryant will return, stay clean and have a monster year opposite AB. And Coates will settle in as the 4th WR with healed hands and less pressure on him and will contribute some big plays. AND the Steelers will not draft a WR with any of their top 4 picks.

  • William Weaver

    With Martavis, Green, Coates, Eli, Bell and Brown all available and healthy, they couldn’t put up 40 or more if they had to?

  • A WR in the first round? That’s almost laughable.

  • The Sun is Pro-Black

    Again, how has that dream worked out the past 4-5 years? Not to be pessimistic but we haven’t been anything close that, so there’s no reason to assume we will now that we have one player back.

  • William Weaver

    Staying healthy and available has had impacts no doubt. From Woodley to Bryant to Brown to Bell.. Heyward, Pouncey.. none of that means you adjust your goals to 22 points a game instead of 30.

  • Brian Tollini

    I understand why this pick is in question, but I think he is the real deal and could be persuaded to jump on board with it depending who was available.

  • Boots

    I realize Goodell had zero consistency but if Josh Gordon and Aldon Smith are able to get reinstated again and again Martavis should be able to also

  • BallHandling Hooker

    Fair. I’d like to think there are 30 players better then Ross on the board though.

  • BallHandling Hooker

    Letting Bryant play isn’t building one’s house on sand. He’s cheap, why not keep him?

    If he’s suspended, there’s still Antonio Brown – I hear he’s good. Eli Rogers, Sammie Coates, Demarcus Ayers, and Cobi Hamilton are all essentially coming off their rookie seasons. All should be better, and Coates won’t have a mangled hand and will catch a few more passes.

    With Wheaton moving on, they may draft another WR at some stage, but it’s not the end of the world if they don’t and still allow Bryant on the roster.

  • Matt Rippin

    I don’t disagree. But the alternative is replacing an all-pro talent with the third or fourth best receiver in a class that’s just okay. (Or standing pat with Coates/DHB. Or signing a free agent, which isn’t likely.) We can worry about whether he’s reliable, and we should, but ultimately the Steelers are going to welcome him back and give him his old job.

  • Rotten Sircus

    No Way the Steelers go offense in the first 2 rounds. Somebody needs to put down the drugs. The kid is a good player but we have more pressing needs than WR !!!

  • LucasY59

    they could already kinda do this with DHB, but agree putting that much speed on the field at once would be fun (and hope it happens)

  • MC

    Sounds like a terrible pick. I don’t know this WR but to address that position in the first round just doesn’t make sense, if there is no value at a stronger need they should trade back or trade up if someone is falling.
    I would only be content with this pick if he was 6’2 or taller and ran a 4.3

  • Shane Mitchell

    Ross is the exact opposite of Rogers, and can play every position at WR, he is practically uncoverable on any short routes because his acceleration is ridiculous, which forces CBs to play scared. He doesnt have a slight build he is developed, just not 6’2″ he is AB size but even faster and maybe even quicker. He can play outside and take the top off of any defense and also play the slot as a major threat that would eliminate any defense doubling on AB. His routes in the redzone are very good and hard to stop.
    I think adding him is 8-10 TDs as a rookie, Ben would love this guy.

  • LucasY59

    he could run sub 4.3 and is the legit #3 WR in this draft (after him there is a drop off, so he is a top tier talent)

  • Shane Mitchell

    Have you ever seen this guy play? Watch some of his film and you will get why this would be an excellent pick, and imagine how his skillset fits in with Ben’s style of play at QB.

  • Shane Mitchell

    No, very few tall receivers have this type of short area acceleration and can stop on a dime, thats what makes this kid special to go along with being one of the fastest players in the draft.

  • T3xassteelers

    Yes! Love DHB too! Wish they got him involved more tbh.

  • Michael Conrad

    I think there are a couple good receivers available in the third round. I think they need to draft one but not in the first two rounds .
    I just don’t think Coats will ever be a good receiver and Bryant well I know a ton of people who try to break old habits and lets just say its not easy. The big thing is if the Steelers want to make that 72 million contract look like a smart move.
    Brown needs help a good number two receiver and a good slot receiver and I’m not sure we have it . They ran Bells groin off because the passing game was lacking.

  • Shane Mitchell

    You arent going to build a defense to shut down Tom Brady even if he plays 10 more years and you draft all defensive picks, its a pipe dream, seems fans want to fight against the Patriots strength instead of their weakness to beat them, excellent strategy, lets try to build a defense to stop one of the best QB to ever play,as the league makes rules every year making it harder and harder to stop the passing game. We have to have a better offense than the Patriots to out score them thats how we can beat them, not with defense.

  • Shane Mitchell

    Huh? We have to score TDs not FGs, you control the game with your best unit which wont be our defense any time soon.

  • Daniel

    Falcons pressured him good but than they had to change there scheme

  • Shane Mitchell

    Inside pressure not outside, their entire scheme is built to make the outside pass rush a non factor, he takes short drops and gets the ball out in 2 seconds. No one can bend that short of an edge and get consistent pressure on Brady outside, if it doesnt come inside first.

  • The Sun is Pro-Black

    When did I say the defense was the best unit? Where the heck did you get that idea?

  • The Sun is Pro-Black

    Giants, broncos….

  • Lebanese Mike Tomlin

    Can we make the argument for Christian Mccaffrey, slot wideout and returnman. This draft is full of edge rushers

  • Rene Gonzalez

    At least it ain’t an OL like that other mock.

  • Shane Mitchell

    Not going to happen any time soon, I could give you your pick of any 10 players in this draft, still wouldnt make a difference.

  • Shane Mitchell

    That would be a joke, I would retire early if I was Ben and they went into the season with those same 4 guys along with AB. Why bother even playing.

  • Shane Mitchell

    John Ross played on Snoop Dogg’s pop warner football team.

  • will

    Not opposed to letting him play……opposed to counting on him without figuring out a rational plan “B”.

  • LucasY59

    I dont know a lot about shoulder labrum surgery, but either way both guys will get extra attention during the medical part of this weekend, and as long as they clear I am fine with drafting them, I just think there is a good possibility they miss some practice time and since that is an important part of the rookie transition it might make teams wait longer before they pick them (unless the talent is too good to wait on, which could be the case with both)

  • SilverSteel

    We just spent all the WR money we could on AB. Bryant will understand that if he keeps his nose clean, he may have a shot at making big money too. So I think Bryant will come up big this year. No room for drafting any more WRs IMO. We better be drafting heavily on D cause we may not have the cap room after the AB deal to re-sign all of our stars to long term contracts like Shazier, Tuitt, Bell and others.

  • The Sun is Pro-Black

    You’re misunderstanding me. I’m not saying we need to lean on the defense, that’s absurd. I’m saying the defense needs to get better or we won’t have a chance.

  • Rocksolid20

    We couldn’t outscore NE and they were without Gronk ?!

  • Aeronius D. McCoy

    i’m sure this guy is a good-to-great WR, but I’ll be pretty disappointed if we take a WR Rd1, or anywhere in the first 3 rounds to be honest.

    Eli Rogers is fine as the slot guy. He has room to improve but he’s more than adequate. His arrow’s pointed up. I know all the ‘ifs’ regarding the WR corp are what’s creating this “maybe we should draft a WR early” discussion, but I just don’t see it calling for a high draft pick. Re-sign Wheaton if the FO is concerned about Bryant and Coates. You get a cheap #2 who knows Haley’s system. If Bryant and/or Coates are good to go next season, then Wheaton competes with Rogers for the #3. Cut whomever you want.

    To invest a #1 in a WR when you’re potentially flush in that area (and skill positions in general) is insane, especially when there are glaring holes on the roster (namely edge and slot CB).

    To boot, this guy doesn’t even have size. If we need anything out of a WR or TE it’s redzone production and sub-6′ guys are rarely considered dangerous in the RZ. If some Julio Jones clone dropped to #30 (which obviously wouldn’t happen), that’s the only way I could see drafting a Rd1 WR as a positive.

    I’d take an OL over a WR in the 1st and play powerball with 6 OL next season. If we acknowledge that Munchak is one of the best position coaches we have, make another one from his group a “starter” if the guy has the talent. And steamroll the rest of the league.

    I’m hoping for an edge rusher in the 1st (like everyone else) but I think I’d be happier with any position (even QB) over a WR.

  • Aeronius D. McCoy

    they won a SB with Cedrick Wilson as the #3. It’s not all about having a fantasy football WR corp.

  • Aeronius D. McCoy

    i disagree with this line of thinking, about WR being a better pick than OL.

    I don’t think Roethlisberger excels at quickly moving through his progressions. Think he’s pretty good pre-snap, but he still has the habit of playing backyard football, and now that he’s in his mid-30s he doesn’t shrug off tackles the way he did in his 20s.

    So you’d rather draft a WR early to potentially run a 4 WR scheme? With your QB who isn’t great at quickly reading defenses after the snap and likes to hold the ball a second too long.

    6 OL on the field is becoming more popular. If a great OL prospect dropped and there weren’t any edge rushers I liked, I’d take the OL over a sub-6′ WR any day of the week. Sure, it’s a passing league but I think there would be numerous advantages gained by being one of the first offenses to commit to a new version of smashmouth, play-action football. (I don’t know, maybe Dallas is already running something like this a good amount…)

    How are you going to setup a defense vs 6 OL and Nix in front of Bell, with Bryant and AB out wide? You’ll have to put at least 8 in the box, and likely creep up a 9th. I don’t think many teams have the defensive personnel to consistently stop this offensive system. Added bonus: you slowly and painfully demoralize teams and wear them down, kinda like the Cowher days when we rarely lost with a lead at the half.

  • William Weaver

    Right. We were without Martavis, Green and Bell. Plus Sammy hadn’t played much in months.

  • Jaybird

    I think it was more that the Pats made adjustments at halftime, not so much that the Falcons had to change their scheme. No one is better at halftime o right in game adjustments than the Pats. And the Falcons straight up choked .

  • Jaybird

    LOL. I tore my labrum also ( I believe it was the posterior labrum) . I never did go under the knife , lots of rest , then light weight lifting . Now it doesn’t hurt much at all and I’m back to heavy weights at the gym.
    But when I injured my right labrum , shortly after I also injured my left rotator cuff. I could barely wipe my own but! And I am unable to throw anymore also. I sort of shot put the ball now cause I can’t throw overhand !

  • LucasY59

    go look at the comments in the mock(ery) draft article about schragers pick of forrest lamp for the Steelers, you are very much opposite of how most fans feel about a 1st rd OL

    also last time I watched a Steelers game I saw a lack of WRs not OL (and really the bigger problem was Defense and that is why I think the MOST likely 1st rd pick is for that side of the ball)

    I dont want them to pick a WR #30 I just think it would help more than a OL, Im not totally opposed to your thoughts on the Offense, just dont think they need a 1st rd OL draft pick to make it work (putting Finney in between Pouncey and Foster with Villy as the Tackle eligible was something I wanted them to do last yr)

  • Shane Mitchell

    Go to youtube and watch the video “Fastest WR in College Football || Washington WR John Ross Highlights” and then come back and let me know if you think the same thing, and how he compares to Eli Rogers and if he is a good redzone WR or not. I respect your opinion but maybe you should watch the player before you are so damn disappointed first.

    Wheaton’s market value is around 6.5 million according to sportrac as a FA WR , he isnt cheap to resign, besides QB. WR is is by far the most important position in the NFL in deciding the outcome of any game, Thats why top Wrs are approaching franchise QB salaries.

    Will Gay was the second highest graded slot CB in the NFL this past season in coverage and Golson is going to be back, not going to just give up on a second round pick that hasnt got a chance yet so how is slot CB a big need?

  • Aeronius D. McCoy

    I know I’m in the minority, which is kinda why I posted. When I agree with everyone else, I usually read and go on with my day without posting.

    If you come from the perspective that an offense should play with only 5 OL, then the early draft pick of an OL does indeed look ridiculous. But I’d call that kind of thinking too limited/inside the box, when the way to win from a tactical standpoint is to stay ahead of the curve and trends, rather than follow the crowd. If you were calling to use a 6 OL set more last year, kudos to you. I’m now onboard. That is, if we have that 6th guy worthy of more playing time.

    Maybe Finney could be that guy to play as a 6th OL… It’s true that the WRs looked weak last season, but when you consider the situation for ’17, you basically only need 1 of Bryant, Coates, and Green healthy and playing next year to have the viable RZ threat we so desperately lacked last season. But you don’t even get that threat drafting another speedster with quicks-type of WR as insurance. Honestly, and this is without knowing how good this guy was in college (and is admittedly an audacious statement), a guy like Anquan Boldin (who still knows how to shield and use his body to his advantage in tight spaces) might be more valuable solely for next year than a rookie WR. That’s assuming this WR doomsday scenario so many Steelers fans seem to fear happens: Bryant blazes his career up in smoke, Green’s head isn’t right, and Coates’s hands remain permanently mangled.

    I might be the biggest idiot on the planet, but I have an unreasonable amount of faith Bryant will stay clean and play next season. Josh Gordon didn’t have the benefit of the Josh Gordon example that MB has seen. Gordon very well might have had delusions of grandeur. He’d just torn it up, arguably the best WR that season and might have been thinking to himself: “they won’t get rid of me when I’m now a star.” I’m sure Bryant is aware he’s throwing away millions of dollars, being as he’s something akin to Randy Moss lite, if he decides to take a bong rip or light a blunt this offseason. And he’s seen it happen to Josh Gordon.

  • Aeronius D. McCoy

    Can you name me one or two sub-6′ NFL WRs considered dangerous in the RZ?

    Re: Wheaton: $6.5 mil on something like a 3-year deal or $6.5 per season? If the latter, I’m skeptical. We’ll see.

    I don’t buy that WR is far and away the second most important position in the league either. 2nd most glamorous maybe. Carolina was in the SB 2 years ago running the wheels off Ted Ginn Jr. Did you know who Chris Hogan was going into the season? I didn’t. Excluding Edelman, do you think any of the other NE WRs would even make the Steelers gameday roster? Dominant edge rushers, for one, are just as important if not more so than dominant WRs. It’s arguable. What isn’t really arguable is Pittsburgh’s recent success drafting WRs late. Who was the last 1st round WR drafted by Pittsburgh? Burress? Troy Edwards?

    If you’re worried about WR with all the unknowns on the roster (ie Bryant and Coates), then you can’t really talk up Golson. Dude hasn’t made it through a preseason yet. He is the definition of unknown. I like Willie Gay. When I don’t like Willie Gay is when he’s matched up with someone like Edelman. And Gay’s only getting older. He’s not getting any quicker. And if it’s acknowledged we’re a team that isn’t equipped to run press-man schemes, I’d like to see us get the personnel to do so asap. Cuz, ya know, I’m damn sick of losing to New England.

    I’ll make sure to check out the highlight video, but I think you’re off to consider that actually “watching the player.” Most players look like studs on their highlight reels.

  • Russ Stauver

    Denver shut him down……

  • Matt Manzo

    tis the season!

  • Matt Manzo

    That’s what grabbed my attention! I’m not interested in a first round slot receiver. Is that where Ross is destined to be, or can he play outside, too?

  • Matt Manzo

    I shoulda scrolled down before asking if he could play outside!
    How concerning are his injuries?

  • Matt Manzo

    If it’s one of the fast, TD scoring WRs, I’m kinda ok with a 1st rounder.
    But I really want a pass rusher!

  • Aeronius D. McCoy

    Okay, I watched the highlight reel. He’s impressive. a quick, fast, shifty WR. I saw that he caught some TDs inside the redzone, but nothing he did in them makes me think he’s a RZ threat. That’s fine, though. He looks like he could be a great WR and KR. I wish there was some “across the middle” footage, because he would likely play in the slot if Pittsburgh drafted him. At least early in his career. It’d be nice to see how well he takes a hit from a LB or S.

    I don’t watch college with any regularity but I caught the Bama vs Washington semifinal, which was conspicuously missing from Ross’s highlight reel. Maybe Bama schemed for him. It’s likely. Bama’s also the closest thing Ross has ever seen to what he’ll see (but better) weekly in the NFL. His statline vs Bama: 5 rec on 9 tgts for 28 yds and 1 lost fumble. It wouldn’t be fair to judge him solely on one game. And he’ll have a better QB throwing to him in the pros, but it was a big game and he didn’t show up.

    Incidentally I looked at the defensive statline for Washington and Budda Baker had 6 tackles, 3 solo, 1 sack, and a pd. I don’t proclaim to be a scout, but this is a guy I’m hoping we get. And I think (with my gm cap on) I’d even take him at #30 over Ross.

  • Darth Blount 47

    Did you not watch the first 6 weeks???

  • Shane Mitchell

    If you are sick of losing to New England as I am then Ross is the player we need not an edge rusher, no edge rusher is touching Brady nest season as a rookie and probably not 2nd year either, fans are mostly ignorant of how few sacks pass rushers especially rookies generate, there hasnt been a double digit rookie pass rusher at OLB in years in the entire NFL. New England WRs get open because they run a ton of pick and rub plays on short routes, more than any team in the NFL its a completely different scheme, we run the exact opposite looking to throw the ball twice as far down the field which requires WR that can get open without help. To beat New England we will have to out score them and control the game with our offense, we arent holding them under 30 points, we have to score about 40 to win.

    We dont have 4 talent proven WRs on the roster, where do you get that idea from, if we did, AB wouldnt get bracket coverage every damn game, did you miss that pretty much all season long?

    Lastly I dont just watch highlights on players I watch entire games, I would tell you to watch an entire game but if you didnt even look the kid up to watch a few hilights before declaring your disappointment I dont think I could persuade you to watch entire game . WR is one of the few positions you can watch highlights on though, and get a decent view of a players game because you are looking for playmakers, and Hilights are basically what you want to see from a WR, they arent directly involved in every play like a lineman or linebacker.

  • Shane Mitchell

    Bama did scheme for him and his QB was playing with a bad shoulder injury .

    I like Budda Baker too, but I have trouble seeing a safety as their 1st round pick but I would probably consider one over most of the OLB prospects that are likely going to be available at pick 30. Our OLB play was a heck of a lot better than our safety play on defense last season. 50 combined missed tackles and 2 ints at our starting safety positions, not good enough to hold New england to under 30, I dont care who we put at OLB, passes are going to be completed and tackles have to be made in the secondary. Budda Baker one of the best tacklers in the draft, will we draft him, I wish.

    I want an impact player, going OLB at 30 is a high risk light impact pick, would rather go with BPA round one and an OLB need pick round 2.

  • Aeronius D. McCoy

    I’d be disappointed with any possible WR pick (other than a Julio Jones clone) in the 1st round, looking at the Steelers projected roster for ’17. It would be misguided.

    AB
    Bryant
    Rogers
    Coates
    DHB

    That’s already a full room. All the guys above have shown that when they step in an NFL stadium, the lights aren’t too bright for them. Take one of those guys away and I am fine with the roster. That means there’s some depth.

    The only reason the Steelers would consider drafting a WR in the 1st is if they knew or had strong reason to suspect that Bryant’s done. But drafting a guy like Ross doesn’t even help with the loss of Bryant’s most valuable abilities. Ross isn’t the same kind of threat when the field tightens up. Having a healthy Green could help some in the redzone, if Bryant’s done, but he’s the other big question mark. Ross is the kind of luxury pick I doubt the Steelers FO will make.

  • jsteeler

    OLB, CB, DE/DT, OLB, ILB, TE, S.
    Pressure on the QB by the DL and LB’s is a must. James Harrison and Law Dog;s replacement should come early in this draft. No need for RB because Toussaint & Karlos Williams will adequately back up LeVeon. Tuitt & Heyward have never played in a playoff game together. The Steelers DE/DT needs a healthy rotation during games and in the playoffs. Mike Mitchell is always a day late and dollar short playing the FS position in the burgh. Shamarko is probably gone and special teams depth is needed. David johnson is going to be 30. Green, Grimble & James can use a new guy in the TE room. What do you guys think?

  • The Truth

    Yes. Your point?

  • Shane Mitchell

    First two are great, but we have to consider that one WR for the rest of Bryant’s career as a Steeler, next three are all #5 NFL WRs, Rogers scares no one, with all the bracket coverage on AB teams want us to throw the ball to a small 4.7 forty WR all game long. Coates runs three routes thats all he ran in college and thats all he runs in the pro’s way too predictable and hands have always been suspect even when they werent broke. DHB great special team player, will never be more than a #5 NFL wr.

    So all I see on your list is AB, seeing anything more than that is a huge mistake.

  • Darth Blount 47

    For the first 5 weeks, not 6, since he missed week 6, Coates had 19 catches for 421 yards and a couple of scores and AVERAGED 26 yards per catch. Also, I believe he led the entire NFL in 40+ yard catches.
    I don’t think those kinds of numbers are insignificant – was my point. Extrapolate that over a season and you’re talking 60+ catches for 1300 yards and 7 scores. And a ridiculous Yards per catch.

    All for someone who simply cannot catch.

  • Steve

    Exactly what NE did in the 2nd half of the SB.

  • Steve

    Forget Green, one more smack to the head and he’s done.

  • Steve

    FG’s won 2 games for the Steelers in 2016.

  • Steve

    When Atlanta was bringing pressure up the gut in the 1st half. it rattled Brady. In the 2nd half Atlanta had no pressure, up the gut and stopped running the ball.

  • Steve

    May have something to do with Coach Mann. Now If we could get a decent OLB coach.

  • The Truth

    I thought you were referring to my comment on a RB in the early rounds.

    As for Coates, do you remember Wallace? I heard the same argument then. Coates can’t catch. Ever read his drop % in college? Even when he catches the ball it’s done rather poorly. Remember his TD reception vs the Jets? It would have clanged off his hands if he didn’t push it toward his chest. He doesn’t have soft hands. He is too reliant on his chest/torso to make catches. It’s like he doesn’t realize he has fingers. It’s like he has spatulas for hands.

    If he could learn how to catch properly he could be a very good WR. Same goes for Bryant. Bryant has better technique, but his hands aren’t that great either.

  • Steve

    Why would RB be a waste? If we had a Good backup RB, we would not have been one dimensional against the Pats. Williams was hurt and Bell was done. Williams had a few good games early in 2016. We need somebody to take some heat off Bell, which williams did not do in the playoffs last year.

  • Steve

    BPA is the only way to go and not need.

  • Josh Gustad

    Actually it’s not. New England for example appears to be a team to draft what it needs. I see them passing on players for roster guys that they NEED! Draftikg the best player available whether it’s on Kipers board or the Steelers board does nothing for you if you have no need for that position. Sure Martavis is a question mark as of right now, but you know what isn’t a question mark, our pass rush. It flat out sucks.

  • Conserv_58

    This is one mock draft that I completely disagree with for a couple of reasons.

    One, despite the obvious and justified concerns about Martavis’ trust worthiness to remain clean I fully expect that Martavis will be reinstated. He has fulfilled all of the requisite hurdles for the league to reinstate him. He has said in an interview that this year long suspension made him finally realize that he took for granted what being in the NFL meant. He knows that this is it for him. He fully realizes that this is his last chance to make good on the opportunity he has been given. I am convinced that once he is reinstated he will be a man on a mission to prove to the Steelers and his team mates that he has evolved from the immature and wreckless individual he was to the man he is now.

    Secondly, the AFCCG proved, beyond the shadow of doubt, that the Steelers have far more pressing needs on defense, especially a blue chip pass rusher, than to justify wasting their first round pick on a WR. Furthermore, the Steelers have a great track record for finding uber talented WR’s in the later rounds, thus further nullifying the need to go after one in round one. Right now the defense is a couple of stud players from being elite. Adding a blue chip pass rusher and CB can be that difference maker.

  • Conserv_58

    We can not overlook the idea that drafting a stud pass catching TE can change the dynamic of the receiving options Ben would have available to him, especially in the red zone where they have struggled, mightily, to score. I emphasize that because I have no faith in, Ladarius Green ever fulfilling that need.

  • Conserv_58

    Then again, a relatively unknown, short, sixth round pick and devoid of elite speed destroyed the myth that teams need tall fast WR’s to win.

  • Conserv_58

    Do you honestly think that, Coates, Hey-Bey, Rogers and Ayers keep opposing DC’s up at night worrying about how to defend them? There’s a reason why Coates fell in the draft and he proves it every time is steps on the field in a Steelers’ uniform. He is frustratingly inconsistent and unreliable. There’s also a reason why, Hey-Bey, a former first round pick, is not a starter. Eli Rogers stepped up and made significant progress in 2016, but he’s still far from being a polished route runner and his hands are suspect. Ayers is an enigma, in that, he hasn’t been afforded enough opportunities to provide a deep enough body of work to gauge what he is as a receiver. What he has shown so far is he’s fearless and tough minded. He doesn’t seem to get overwhelmed by pressure either. In fact, he seems to welcome and thrive in pressure situations. That’s an attribute that can carry him into receiving more opportunities. I plan on keeping an eye on him because I like what I see of his on-field demeaner.

    I agree that taking a WR on day one in this draft is not a priority, especially knowing that this draft is especially loaded in pass rushers and DB’s, the two areas of the most need on this defense.

  • Conserv_58

    I am on record for saying that I am convinced that M.B. is a changed man. I also believe that once he’s reinstated he will be lazer focused to prove to the Rooneys, Colbert, Tomlin, his teammates and Goodell that he’s going to take the league by storm. I’m actually excited to see him cause eyes to pop, jaws to drop and DC’s soil themselves when he torches their DB’s. Having him back will force opposing defenses to have to account for him, thus preventing defenses from putting a lion’s share of their focus on stopping, AB.

  • Aj Gentile

    Unless it was the 2014 draft, there were some really good first round wide receivers

  • Aj Gentile

    You realize we have two tackles on IR who could be that 6th OL.

  • Aj Gentile

    Wow this guy has Hooker going number 2 overall

  • The Truth

    A RB that early would be a waste because there are other areas of immediate need.

    You can’t take the heat off Bell if the coaches rarely use another RB.

    A RB wouldn’t have helped against the Patriots. Tomlin just can’t hang with Belicheck.

    OLB, DT, TE, WR, CB, DE and S are for more important. ILB too if Timmons is not re-signed.

  • LucasY59

    you can definitely have a different opinion especially if you can explain why and not just be critical

    I agree Bryant/Green/Coates returning and contributing in ways that they are capable of, would really help the O (and that WR isnt much of a need) but since it is a somewhat small window to win before Ben retires I would be open to bringing in a good Veteran WR, Boldin would be ok, but I would really want Brandon Marshall if he becomes available (I think he and AB would complement each other well on the field and there would be enough targets for each, the trio of Bryant/Coates/DHB would be the ones that see their targets decrease, but when they do get the ball it will probably be a big play, adding a really good #2 would also take some pressure/overuse off Bell, he can be more of a checkdown 3rd/4th option instead of the #2 reciever

    I also have faith in Bryant (more than a lot of commentors here) but still have worries and that is why I want Marshall (but the Jets have to cut him first) also think Green and Coates can rebound from their injuries and have solid seasons as well

    as far as the extra OL, the team has been using Hubbard (and I’m not really excited about that) but like you said if they can use it in certain situations to pound the Defense and control the clock it would be very useful, I really like doing multiple things and trying to find ways to get a matchup to exploit or at least make things hard to predict, so as much as I want a OL heavy lineup, I would also really like to see a speed heavy lineup (especially to build a lead where they could then switch to ground and pound) I think Finney played really well as a replacement for Foster last yr (and since he is more of C/G keeping him on the interior is best …he would really struggle as tackle eligible IMO) Foster had some experience as a OT in college so moving him out a little should be ok and he would still have someone on the outside, so he wouldnt be on the edge by himself, AV has a history as a TE/WR so if any OL is eligible to touch the ball it should be him (I wouldnt force a play to him, but if the D is ignoring that he is eligible getting a little tricky could be a good idea) Hawkins could also become a better option to replace Hubbard as the extra OT they are already using (so IMO opinion they have the OL they need and a 1st rd pick would be a poor use of a valuable pick)

  • Aeronius D. McCoy

    and I’d be much happier drafting OJ Howard if he fell (which is unlikely) over a guy like John Ross. If I’m drafting any kind of pass catcher early in the draft, it’s a must that he’s a monster in the redzone. Anything else, like the Desean Jackson clone above, is a waste.

  • Aeronius D. McCoy

    But you make this guy out to be the nasty that’s been missing from the Steelers offense. You mean against his biggest test of the season, vs a team of future pros, for the right to play in the national championship, he totally crapped out. Not only crapped out, he performed poorly with a losing individual effort, ie he was part of Washington’s problem.

  • Aeronius D. McCoy

    We have something right on par with Dallas’s skill position players in the 90s, during their dynasty. (Actually, Pittsburgh’s group might be slightly better than Dallas’s 90s group on paper, because I’d take Bryant over Alvin Harper any day of the week).

    Because Bryant and Green (the bigger targets on the team) were absent for the whole and majority of the ’16 season, respectively, we struggled in the redzone when the field tightened up. Drafting DJax 2.0 (Ross) helps very little if Bryant and Green don’t play this year.

  • Aeronius D. McCoy

    Those two guys returning from IR aren’t first round talents. It’s always a crapshoot with the draft, AB and Brady as examples, but I stand by a blue chip OL being a potentially greater contributor to Pittsburgh’s efforts next season (keeping in mind the closing window with Roethlisberger) than a blue chip WR, especially a small, fast one.

  • Aeronius D. McCoy

    Yeah, even ignoring the fact that Marshall probably isn’t the greatest locker room presence to add to the mix, I don’t think Pittsburgh has the money to invest in a higher profile WR FA. He’d be nice insurance for Bryant, sure, but at what cost?

  • Aeronius D. McCoy

    The other nice incentive to switching to a more ground-and-pound setup on offense is the fact defense’s are drafting personnel on the smaller, faster side. The talk has been going on for years that the traditional run-stuffing NT is a thing of the past. So why not setup an offense to take advantage of the leaguewide trend towards smaller, more athletic defenders? But I guess I’m preaching to the choir here, since you like the idea too. Just that was something worth noting.

  • LucasY59

    I think the locker room stuff would be minimal he usually keeps his head down and plays well the 1st yr with a team (following yrs are the problem, and with the Steelers there may only be one yr) and it will also be a winning atmosphere (along with a team that is well known as a organization players are happy to play for)

    IF he is cut then the Jets didnt think he was worth 7.5 million (which should mean that no other team thinks he is worth that much either, NYJ are one of the more WR needy teams in the league) so I say his market value is 7 mil max. (could even be a bit lower) I think the Steelers would be willing to give him 6 mil (they should have about that much left after getting Bell, Tuitt, and Villanueva new contracts and re-signing Landry (or bringing in a cheaper vet QB) and still have some extra room if they cut Moats and Harris

    best scenario he signs for about 5 mil, he would be going to a team that should get him to the playoffs for the first time in his career and also gives him a opportunity to play in a SB not just the post season, him signing for a discount would show his motivation to win, which should also alleviate concerns about less targets and playing #2 to AB, aka no locker room issue, I think he would be successful as a #2 as the favorable matchups and less attention (due to AB playing across from him) would result in good #s (despite a few less touches) and the same would be true for Brown, cant double/triple him with a legit #2 WR, and like I said before guys like Bryant and Rogers would be more effective as well (would even help James or Green at TE)

  • Aeronius D. McCoy

    This is a great plan for a season or two IF Bryant doesn’t play again. If Bryant’s reinstated and healthy, where does that leave Marshall? At this point in their respective careers Bryant is the better WR. I guess AB could be moved to the slot… but I’m not big on the idea.

    In this scenario, with Bryant and Marshall playing, Marshall is probably looking at a 2017 season of 40 receptions, give or take 10. Is that enough for him? I have my doubts if they turned him into a redzone weapon that such a limited role would keep him happy. But I don’t know.

  • LucasY59

    I think Bryant has to work his way back in, and so Marshall would be #2, but that is also why Brandon is only on the team for one yr, Martavis would take the #2 spot from him, its a good problem to have 3 WRs that are so good they could be #1 on some teams, and like I said all 3 make is so each one has a favorable matchup and all the touches they will get should be quality

  • Steve

    A RB in last years game against the Pats would have taken heat off Ben and the passing game. Once we lost Bell, we played into the Pats hands and they knew we were going to Throw the ball. DE and DT are not needs, we have 3 fine DL in Tuitt, Heyward and Hargrave. over 60% of the time, Steelers used 2 DL, so the NT position is a waste. ILB is a waste with Tyler M and Vince waiting a chance. We have 2 safeties, so that is a waist also. That leaves CB and OLB.

  • Very few receivers in this league keep DBs up the night before a game. A.B. and Martavis Bryant are two of them. With those two out there on the field, they make it easier for the third and fourth WRs we have to get open. It’s all in the scheme of things. Coates is a good receiver. Remember, he was injured, and if you’ve been following, it wasn’t just broken fingers that were keeping him off the field. He played very well early in the year when he was 100%. Heyward-Bey is another guy who contributes greatly with his speed and deep-ball-catching abilities, but like Coates, he needs to stay relatively healthy all season. Eli Rogers has proven to be a very valuable asset to the team, and Ayers is coming into his own. Maybe he’ll get more playing time next season.

    Picking a WR in the first round would be straight-up craziness. LOL

  • Shane Mitchell

    4.22 forty !!!!! Fastest in combine history Do I really need to say any more?

  • mtrico

    Ran a 4.22 at the combine.

  • Aeronius D. McCoy

    Haha, bruh, I can tell you’re all about this dude. It’s football, not track and field.

  • will

    If you “Don’t disagree” does that mean you agree or disagree???