Kozora 2017 Steelers Mock Draft: Pre-Combine

We’re back with our first official mock draft of the season. It’s obviously tough to get a feel for who the Pittsburgh Steelers like and without Combine information, the data is still incomplete. But my first crack at it. Like last year, I’ve decided against using a Fanspeak draft simulator for these. I’ve added in a hypothetical compensatory pick too since the Steelers should get at least one.

Let us know your thoughts on this mock and tell us your own in the comments below.

Round One (30th Overall): Carl Lawson/OLB Auburn – 6’2 253 

Analysis: The position is predictable. It’s still the biggest need on the roster, even assuming James Harrison will return for another go. And Lawson is excellent from a value standpoint; most have him pegged in the late first round range.

It was disappointing he couldn’t go to the Senior Bowl but the tape is all you need to see. Lawson is a plus athlete with a wicked first step and, most importantly, the ability to bend the edge. He shows heavy hands, giving him a hearty punch, and shows overall good technique against the run. He’s a smart pass rusher who already can win in multiple ways and shows the recognition to counter.

He’s from SEC land, where the Steelers hunt for gold more than anywhere else, with solid production in 2016. 13.5 TFL and 9 sacks. The biggest problem is his injury history, playing in only seven games from 2014 to 2015.

Lawson checks all the boxes and can rotate at a 50/50 split with Harrison at ROLB. The one issue there is the Steelers’ right side drops more than the left and Lawson doesn’t have much experience in coverage.

Check out our scouting report on Lawson, which went up today on Depot.

Scouting Report 

Others Considered: TE David Njoku, OLB Haason Reddick, WR John Ross 

Round Two (62nd Overall): Cam Sutton/CB Tennessee – 5’11 182 

Analysis: Carry over from the Senior Bowl mock draft. I wrote in my scouting report, one you’ll see at the end of this breakdown, that I would prefer to keep him at corner than safety. He’s got great ball skills and ability to play the football at catch points with above average athletic ability in speed and excellent quickness/fluidity.

The need for cornerback only heightens with the release of Justin Gilbert, creating major needs at both cornerback spots, inside and out. Sutton also has a lot of return value but who am I kidding, we know he won’t be used there.

Scouting Report 

Others Considered: CB Jourdan Lewis, WR Zay Jones, OLB Tarell Basham

Round Three (94th Overall): Dawuane Smoot/OLB Illinois – 6’2/7 255 

Analysis: Yup, we’re double-dipping at outside linebacker. And as they should be. It’s the biggest position of need. When you stock up for a big moment (hurricane, power outage, Steelers vs Ravens), you don’t dabble. You go all in.

Smoot is someone the Steelers appear to like and put on an impressive string of practices in Mobile. I didn’t see a guy with great ability to bend the edge in the couple games I saw but he repeatedly showed it at the Senior Bowl, so much so that his shoulder pad looked war-torn by the end of each practice.

He’s not the athlete Lawson is and might not have the ceiling but he’s a steady, consistent player. Over the last two years, Smoot record 29.5 TFL and 12 sacks.

Lawson, Smoot, and Dupree could make the team stable at this position for years and years. Also, killer law firm name.

Others Considered: CB Chidobe Awuzie, TE Jake Butt, RB Kareem Hunt

Round Four (124th Overall): Jordan Leggett/TE Clemson – 6’5 260

Analysis: I decided to change my thought process on addressing tight end. It does need addressed but I wanted to go with a lower investment selection. If Ladarius Green is cleared, a tight end wouldn’t have much of a role. Sitting a 4th round pick is an easier pill to swallow than a 2nd, like I had in my last mock.

The strong tight end class ensures the talent is still plentiful. Leggett has the size that the Steelers are attracted to while being a mighty weapon as a receiver, averaging exactly 16 yards per catch in 2016. He has 18 career touchdowns, 15 over the past two seasons.

Only problem with this pick is that it’d be on the lower end of his draft projection spectrum but still within range. NFL Draft Scout has him as a 3rd to 4th round pick.

Others Considered: TE Gerald Everett, WR Josh Reynolds, RB Jamaal Williams

Round Five (156th Overall): James Conner/RB Pittsburgh – 6’2 235 

Analysis: The geography makes it a logical connection for the average fan to connect but Conner fits the mold of the big, power back the Steelers are normally attracted to (Bell, Mendenhall, Dwyer). Of course, Conner has a great story, beating cancer and having a fantastic final year at Pitt, averaging over 5 yards a pop and scoring 16 touchdowns.

He also became an asset as a receiver, something not every 235 pound back does, catching 20 passes for another four touchdowns.

Conner will slide in as Bell’s immediate backup and give the Steelers an excellent backup plan.

Others Considered: RB Corey Clement, CB Corn Elder, ILB Alex Anzalone

Round Five (Compensatory Pick): Davis Webb/QB California – 6’4/5 229 

Analysis: Decided to project in a compensation pick since it’s reasonable to expect the Steelers get one. The league seems to have done away with 7th round comps, helping take out some of the guesswork. It’s coming in the 5th or 6th.

Based off of Art Rooney II’s comments, the Steelers seem set on selecting a quarterback this season. I’m personally against it and honestly, against taking Webb. He’s got a great arm in terms of strength but he’s far too erratic and too limited in what he does well.

But Webb does mesh with the vertical-minded offense the Steelers run so I could see the stars aligning. He’s essentially the same size as Landry Jones and had a high level of production, throwing for 37 touchdowns this past year for the Golden Bears.

Others Considered: ILB Ben Boulware, S Damarius Travis, QB Josh Dobbs 

Round Six (187th Overall): Jamari Staples/WR Louisville – 6’3 190 

Analysis: Could’ve gone with Chad Williams, the Grambling St kid I picked in my last mock, but wanted to throw out a new name. Staples had his Senior Bowl week cut short because of a concussion but I still like the potential.

Potential is the key word because a guy like Staples isn’t going to be expected to do much in Year One. He may end up going to the practice squad and that’s totally ok. Keep investing in the position you know best, and for the Steelers, that’s wide receiver.

Staples has the height and speed the Steelers like. He told me at Mobile he wants to touch the 4.2’s, which would be absurd and probably take him out of late round consideration. His resume isn’t heavy, never more than 37 catches in a season, but averaged a tick under 17 yards in his career and is fearless over the middle.

Others Considered: WR Chad Williams, WR Jalen Robinette, DE Ryan Glasgow

Round Seven (219th Overall): Isaac Rochell/DE Notre Dame – 6’4/3 282 

Analysis: Sticking with the same selection as our Senior Bowl mock because this one just makes too much sense. Size, length (33 1/4 arms), and the big school pedigree the Steelers will drool over. Defensive line isn’t a heavy need but it’s the seventh round so need isn’t warranted. Rochell’s motor should make himself competitive and at worst, make him an asset on the practice squad. Steelers found out quickly how important depth there, reaching down for Johnny Maxey at the end of 2016.

Others Considered: ILB Hardy Nickerson, CB Sojourn Shelton, S Leon McQuay III

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.
  • The Chin

    I would love this draft. Of course it would be even better if the one FA acquisition they make is at ILB.

  • Steeler4l1f3

    Overall, I like what you did here. Very realistic and and falls in line with needs and value.

    Lawson’s injuries scare the hell out of me but he should be there at 30 if his health checks out. Crossing my fingers that we double dip at OLB in the first 4 rounds.

  • mokhkw

    Me like, it looks very similar to mine atm. I had a hard time choosing between Harris & Lawson tbh. Atm I’m assuming DWill, Timmons, Debo, Bell & Matthews are back, the rest of the UFA aren’t.

    1. Charles Harris OLB

    2 Eddie Jackson FS/CB

    3 Jordan Willis OLB

    4 Adam Shaheen TE

    5. Jerod Evans QB

    5b. Jarron Jones DT

    6. Jeremy Clark CB/S

    7. Elijah McGuire RB

  • steelburg

    I like the draft. But I would change picks 2 and 3. I would take Smoot in the 2nd round and take Chidobe Awuzie in the 3rd round, I think you get better value that way. I don’t know much about the 7th round guy but this is a really good draft for the most part IMO. By the way I’m a huge fan of Alex Anzalone the guy is a beast and he plays the position like he hates whoever isn’t wearing the same color jersey as him if he could stay healthy in the NFL he is going to be really good IMO.

  • WreckIess

    I like it. Filled a lot of needs and Leggett in the 4th round would be a steal in my eyes. I do want to see how Lawson’s combine check ups go because a hip and an ACL are pretty concerning.

  • Boots

    I’m with you on the qb’s. Don’t think it’s a good year to take one. Would’ve liked to see another DB out of this year’s group, but overall I think it’s a nice haul.

  • ScullNCrossbones

    Really like this draft. If we do double dip though, it’d be nice to get some position versatility if possible with one of those two picks (e.g. Reddick in 1 or Bowser in 2/3). Kinda like how we got 1 true CB and one S/CB last year to address our biggest need, which was really the secondary as a whole, not just 1 position. I think those two guys could potentially move inside as well as play on the edge, which would address our LB unit as a whole, not just the ROLB position.

  • Wil Masisak

    “The one issue there is the Steelers’ right side drops more than the left and Lawson doesn’t have much experience in coverage.” I think Dupree is destined for the right side, long-term… and he (surprisingly) looks great in his drops/coverage. I know you’re attempting to pick like you think the Steelers will, but that’s not a very good haul. It also doesn’t address safety, which is a huge concern. Mitchell is not capable of effective coverage of slots/TEs nor centerfield nor last line of defense (tackling, angles). Steelers desperately need another multi-tool safety, especially considering the poor play of Robert Golden this season. Also, if the Steelers draft Smoot, they’re basically wasting a pick… pedestrian at best with no special traits.

  • T3xassteelers

    I’d be Super happy with this.. great mock!!

  • will

    Alex, as you know Gerry Dulac says that your second round CB pick is a complete waste as the Steelers have no need. I would like to know your thoughts…….although the fact that you went CB in round 2 says it all. Is Dulac on medication?

  • John

    In terms of RB, we need a Davonte Freeman type, not a plodder. As to others, it is a fun list from a fan perspective. But the Steelers tend to think differently. We ten probably looking more at OLB from Temple or UCLA.

  • StarSpangledSteeler

    Alex –

    I have a suggestion. I want you to go back and watch the Auburn vs Alabama game (2016) and tell me if you see anything from Carl Lawson that even remotely resembles an impact edge rusher. I’m being serious. Watch the whole game. Snap by snap. And then we can discuss.

    To me, Lawson looks like a clone of Jarvis Jones (but with worse instincts and 10 pounds heavier). Stiff. Can’t bend. No legit pass rush moves. Can’t get off blocks. Stands and watches the play. I actually like Duwuane Smoot better than Lawson, and I think Smoot has a LONG ways to go before being an impact player at the NFL level.

    Cam Sutton is a nice zone corner I guess. But what does he give you that Ross Cockrell or Senquez Golson does not? Wouldn’t we be better served by getting a longer more physical man press CB like Artie Burns? Especially if we’re burning a 2nd round pick?

    I realize this is just a pre-combine mock, and I wish I could be more positive, but I don’t see any real impact players in your first 3 picks. Sorry. I actually like the back half of your draft a lot better.

  • CP72

    Great work Alex….
    I will admit I haven’t seen a lot of Cal games. I do however find Davis Webb interesting. His completion percentage was in the low 60s, which scares me. That doesn’t normally get better in the NFL with tighter windows. He struggled with accuracy at the Senior Bowl as well.

    One thing that really perked my ears up though was he went to the Senior Bowl early to have a throwing session to be ready for the week. I am a firm believer that quarterbacks have to be the first guy in and the last guy out of the building. I remember teams raving about Russell Wilson’s work ethic in Mobile.

  • Ike Evans

    Flawless victory alex…….


  • Beaver Falls Hosiery

    Isn’t Hardy Nickerson a little long on the tooth to be drafting?

  • Ike Evans

    Are we switching defenses or something? Why would we add another press type corner when we arent playing press man much at all? Cam sutton gives u playmaking…..cam sutton gives u ball skills…..only artie is bringing that right now….senquez isnt bringing anything but rehab

  • Paddy

    I stopped reading Dulac long ago, they have a need there and that’s certain!

  • CP72

    Well I’m guessing Alex thought Levon Kirkland wouldn’t be available 🙂

  • Paddy

    Thats Hardy Jr from Cal & Illinois

  • Wil Masisak

    I should add that the above comments are based on them still playing the 3-4 base and nickel the way they like to play it. I think an edge guy like Dietrich Wise from Arkansas would have more impact down the road for this team than, say, Smoot, simply because it allows for more flexibility in fronts. Wise or an early round guy like Demarcus Walker could be tasked to kick inside on some looks or to play 4-3 end. I see an NFL where they can play a 3-4 base, but you’re looking for more of a hybrid strong side player (Dupree, Wise, Walker, SHaq Riddick) and more of a blitzer who can cover at WOLB (Hasson Riddick, Shazier type, Travis Feeney Type).

  • capehouse

    Too good to be true. I love every pick except the WR, but only because I don’t know who he is. I’d maybe switch the DE and WR pick in order of importance, but other than that great mock draft.

    Just did a quick mock using fanspeak. Kinda unrealistic with my top 2 picks but I think I addressed all our needs except QB but it’s such a terrible group. Most will probably disagree with my DL pick but I think PIT is in dire need of a 4th guy to rotate. Got my TE, double dipped at Edge too, depth at Slot CB, kick returner, RB and S. If I could change 1 pick I’d probably take a RB higher.

    30: R1P30
    62: R2P30
    94: R3P30
    134: R4P29
    174: R5P29
    182: R5P37
    214: R6P29

  • WreckIess

    So it looks like now that Jarvis Jones has finally succeeded in being a failure that he’s now become some inane trigger word for any OLB guys don’t like. Even when they’re absolutely nothing alike. Similar to how every tall WR that dropped a pass was just like Limas Sweed for a while.

  • CP72

    I’m not much for being critical about other people’s comments, but you’re evaluation of Mike Mitchell seems way off base.

    Is he Earl Thomas back there…no. He is however often stuck as a single high with Davis spending a lot time at the line of scrimmage. He also saves touchdowns game after game with his “last line” tackling.

  • Steelers12

    Good draft minus Webb

  • Alex Kozora

    I didn’t know much about Anzalone until the Senior Bowl but he had a couple of strong days.

  • Alex Kozora

    Right, that’s crucial, but at least he played all last year. It’s not like he missed this last season and you don’t have any post-injury information to go off of.

  • Applebite

    BRB…serious edit in need

  • Alex Kozora

    Sure, I could see Dupree make the flip. Wouldn’t have a problem with that.

    Safety isn’t a huge concern. Like Mitchell or not, I know we’re as a group split down the middle on this, he’s going to be the starter for 2017 and most likely 2018 too. Ditto with Sean Davis. With Golden and Dangerfield (the latter they clearly are high on) you’re four deep there. Don’t need to add to the position.

    I’m all for that hybrid player and have said that a bunch of times. Why Reddick is someone to consider at 30 and does something none of the other EDGEs in the debate can. I just don’t know who that guy could be yet. Harvey-Clemons? Peppers? Someone else?

  • falconsaftey43

    Overall, pretty happy. I’d like to switch out Sutton for a different CB. Lewis or Awuzie maybe. Love Lawson and Smoot. Leggett would be a good player to add as a multi dimension TE.

  • Alex Kozora

    I can sorta get the idea behind it. I mean, the starters are locked in – Burns, Cockrell, Gay in the slot (unless Golson surprises) for 2017. But depth is so important at that position and the nickel role is something that needs to be addressed for the short-term future (2018 and beyond).

    Can Sutton play in the slot some day? Yeah, I think he can, if you can get more out of him against the run. He has the quickness to be able to cover in tight spaces. That may be the goal with him, making the pick worthwhile.

  • Alex Kozora

    Think differently? How so? SEC pass rusher in the first, players all from Power 5 schools, a big back, and guys I know they like (Smoot, Sutton).

  • TroymanianDevil

    I’d be happy with this.. Overall, I think I like the thought process of the draft more. Also interestingly enough imo, a QB could essentially be plugged into the 1st rd ( or 3rd ) and the rest of the draft could remain unchanged

    Alex, I think our idea for the TE lines up, I see it as a 4th or 5th round pick (3rd only if someone falls). In my mind, you want your first 3 picks to be worthy of starting at some point during their rookie year ( whether they do or not depends on circumstances). And that’s not needed at TE this year, only depth is truly needed.

  • Alex Kozora

    Yup, I watched the Bama game. I wish Lawson would’ve had more chances vs Robinson but I think you are majorly downplaying him off the edge. Go watch the clips in the scouting report I posted right before this.

    What does Golson give this team…period? He’s a total wild card, a dart throw. Length is overrated. Cockrell has stubs and he’s a starter. It’s about building CB depth and a possible option to play in the slot for 2018. I get it though, there’s a case to be made to wait another round or two on a corner…but do you want the Steelers to take another shot at trying to find a hidden gem at corner in the late rounds? Their track record sucks. So go high when the talent is strong, like they did with Burns and Davis.

  • Alex Kozora

    I’m not a big fan of Webb. Wasn’t impressed with him in Mobile, even during the game, where he somehow won MVP. But I think he profiles into the offense well and this QB class doesn’t leave us with many mid-round options.

  • Alex Kozora

    Dang, if I got full approval from you Ike, I better quit making mocks. While I’m ahead.

  • Alex Kozora

    Yup, that one.

  • Alex Kozora

    I’d have no problem with that. Lewis’ role is more defined than Sutton after the draft (2018 slot corner) so I get the rationale.

  • WreckIess

    He did. It didn’t look like the injuries limited him much, if at all last season so that gives me confidence in him. I’m still having a hard time choosing between him and McKinley though. Lawson is definitely more refined and he’ll have a lot more production in the short term, but I think Takk could have a better career if someone can just school him on his leverage and technique.

  • SouthernSteel

    30: R1P30 WR COREY DAVIS



    134: R4P29 DL DEREK RIVERS

    174: R5P29 S JOHN JOHNSON


    LAMAR (TX)

    251: R7P30 QB SEFO LIUFAU
    Most my Fav are gone b4 my pick..and didn’t reach

  • Wil Masisak

    Let me reply: I don’t think Mike Mitchell is a bad player at all… in a vacuum. He has some really good leadership qualities and there are some things he can do. As to his last-line-of-defense play. I can fill at least one hand with his obvious failures in this regard over the past two seasons… and that’s too many for the style of defense they play. Mike Wallace vs Ravens and flea flicker vs NE and all day vs Miami in regular season are the first three that come to mind. But that’s not even the point.

    You know how the Ravens are built to neutralize the Steelers strengths? The Steelers have to build themselves a team that can stop NE and other teams with decisive and accurate QB play. A key factor we are missing is safeties who are interchangeable multi tools OR 2/3 of the field covering centerfielders. Let me explain: 1. when teams go spread, they are trying to find mismatches. If you have to play zone, the zone gets spread both sideways and vertically in the seams… too much ground to cover vs. a decisive QB who can fit the ball in small windows. Certain formations on offense dictate that your safeties end up with some sort of man coverage (ranging from a physical TE to a slot receiver), and a guy like Mitchell is absolutely lost in that scenario. He’s even a ? in quarters/C4 and he’s too slow to react in C2. Davis can do all of that AND play near the LOS to stack the run or get pressure on the QB. Another safety with more of those versatile skills would give the DC so many more options in defending, say, what the Patriots do.

  • jujudoublestuff

    Eh, I could live with it.

  • Brian Miller

    Love this draft Alex!

  • steelburg

    I live in Florida, so I already know of him. But injuries for him are a huge question mark. I’m curious to see how he does at the combine if he is even invited. But if he runs well he could be a steal in the later rounds. His injuries as they should will scare a lot of teams off.

  • Alex Kozora

    I’ll take it!

  • J Jones

    Id be thrilled id things played out like this. Love the Webb pick

  • Rod Hedrick

    That is pretty solid Alex! If Lawson’s medical comes out good, I think he could be what the Steelers need. I like Staples, he always like to see tall WRs.

  • Joey

    Receiver not until the 6th? I dig it.

  • I don’t really know much about these guys other than some at the top end, but as another commenter points out, it’s more about process and overall thinking than specific players at this point, and on that front I think this is a very sound draft. I get the temptation to go TE or WR early, and of course a lot will depend on Green and Bryant, but the offence doesn’t really need much at this point if those two guys are ready for 2017. Sure, another TE is fine, and certainly I’d like to see them grab a long-term solution at RB as the backup to Bell — and Alex has done that here. But really, the focus again this year needs to be on the D, and I love going edge rusher at 1 and 3. And there’s no doubt the Steelers need some secondary help, ideally a CB or one of those hybrid guys.

    My only reservation is that Alex goes offence for four straight picks (including the comp). Sure, that might happen, but I do wonder if they’ll try to find an ILB at some point, even if they re-sign Timmons. I wouldn’t even be surprised if they went that way in the first couple of rounds.

    But look, this is a really good first mock, and there are certainly a lot of names on here worth watching.

  • LucasY59

    soo long in the tooth that Jr is ready to play in the league he did..,.

  • LucasY59

    I like Lewis more because he would almost automatically start in the slot, but could be outside depth if needed, also like that he can get some INTs

  • Alex Kozora

    Fair point.

  • Michael James

    I can’t believe he said that. The Steelers desperately (and I mean DESPERATELY) need another good CB. Cockrell is ok, Burns is still raw and Gay is rapidly declining. We always tend to talk about this grpup in a good light, but let’s face it: It’s a below average group and only Burns has the potential to become a really good CB.
    Even worse, outside of those three there is nothing. Golson has never played a single snap and everyone else is practice squad material.

    If they are really naive enough (I pray they aren’t) to go into the season with our current CB crew, Belichick and Brady will laugh their asses off in NE and rightfully so.

  • Ni mo

    Spot on I would love that

  • Ni mo

    They really don’t need WRs

  • Ni mo

    Defense !! Defense !! They dont need offense

  • Michael James

    I see OLB, CB and TE all adressed in the early and mid-rounds. Love it. Great job, Alex!

  • Ni mo

    They need to sign a cb like Trumane Johnson to start over cockrell

  • PaeperCup

    Nice draft!

    I like Reddick in the first, especially if Smoot is in the 3rd, they both bring something different to the table.

  • Cant argue with this draft. I don’t know much about Webb, but I feel like if they’re waiting till the 5th or later to grab a QB, then why waste a pick at all. Ideally, if they really wanted a QB, I’d like them to grab someone who has a legitimate shot at being Ben’s successor. Or at least a capable backup. I like grabbing two EDGE guys early. Don’t know much about Staples but I trust Alex picked someone with some upside. Would be amazing if Switzer lasted until the 6th cause I really like that kid. I know we have a couple slot guys but I don’t care, if Pittsburgh grabbed him I’d be behind it 110%. I like James Connor, but I’d really like to get that home run threat at RB, whoever that may be. And no I’m not talking about another Archer or Rainey. I like Sutton though I’m not sure if that’s what the Steelers are looking for or not. Also like the Legget pick. Like you say, not to early, but still a guy worth taking who has a shot at contributing. Overall great job Alex!

  • Reg Sayhitodabadguy Hunt

    I’m curious because I really don’t follow college football is Carl Lawson better than hassan Reddick and opinions on the TEs that’s good and any thoughts on mahomes as qb

  • Dennis Nevinsky

    I think Smoot will still be around in the 4th round along with the other Illinois LB, Carroll Phillips. I would prefer Derek Rivers of Youngstown St.

  • JohnB

    Another thing is Colbert says that CBs are deep this year…usually when he says “deep this year” they don’t address it in the first round.

  • Alex Kozora

    I don’t have any issue with Cockrell starting next year. And probably beyond.

  • Alex Kozora

    Wouldn’t fight you with Reddick one bit. I do think Lawson will be more successful as a pass rusher though so that’s why I went with him.

  • Matt Manzo

    I was thinking Safety.

  • Matt Manzo

    I’m starting to like Jerod Evans.

  • Matt Manzo

    That swap is what I was thinking too! But I’m still not sure who’s better, between Sutton and Awuzie? Would you say Awuzies the better tackler of the two?

  • Jeff Burton

    I can’t see the Steelers doubling up on a position when they have depth issues at almost all of them. The Steelers need a TRUE #2 Wide Reciever far more than they need another TE, so if they get one I wouldn’t draft one ’til the 5th Rd. Davis Webb is a much better prospect than Landry Jones ever was. Webb plays like a winner. Jones was always unsteady under pressure, even in college. Webb has got a better arm, makes better choices and though not a scrambler, is far more mobile than our current back up. And finally Davis Webb has starting potential in the NFL maybe more.

  • PaeperCup

    I’d say TE and WR are about equal. The status of both Green and Bryant are up in the air. However a really good TE can play the role of your #2 WR though, but I’d say a WR can’t play the role of a TE.

  • Matt Manzo

    Good one Alex! I gotta good question for mailbag now!
    Connor is turning into a must have for me!

  • AndyR34

    Alex – Hard to get our panties bunched up in a wad over a mock draft anytime…let alone one done before the FA period and combine, pre-draft visits, pro days, etc., so I think criticism is ridiculous. I do appreciate your thought process in it, but without knowing the status of Green, Bryant, FA’s, and all the IR guys, it seems a bit like speculating on the worth of the Indian rupee. I still enjoy your work.

  • Alex Kozora

    ha, see you Thursday.

  • Alex Kozora

    Of course, it’s all speculation. But it’s a fluid thing. Certainly can – and will – change, throughout.

  • StarSpangledSteeler

    Yes. We absolutely should be switching defensive schemes. Do you actually think our zone defense is effective? I can promise you that Tom Brady doesn’t.

    As far as Cam Sutton goes, he started 4 years at Tennessee, and played in 44 games. Do you know how many interceptions he had?… 7 TOTAL… In 2015 + 2016 he had 2 INT’s combined. If that’s your definition of a “playmaker” we’re going to have to agree to disagree. Artie Burns had 6 INT’s in his junior year alone.

    I’ve got Cam Sutton at 5’11” 180 pounds. If those are his true measurements, he better run a 4.4 flat at the combine. I’m not saying the kid sucks. I’m saying if I’m spending a 2nd round pick on a CB I’d like him to be a little more physically imposing with size, length, speed.

    Where I do agree with you is on Senquez Golson. Terrible pick (and I said so on draft day).

  • steelersfan

    God I would love Conner if we can get him there. Dare to dream

  • Wil Masisak

    Well, setting aside who they’ve said they like at edge, If Tim Williams or Derek Barnett fall as some speculate, I’d be very tempted to move up a few spots. Otherwise, Derek Rivers and Deatrich Wise are very good fits and position flexible. Ejuan Price I’m sure is on their radar. Tyus Bowser is an interesting name, and then you have the big unknown that is Joe Mathis and medical reports. The Steelers tend to bump up edge guys with quick first step, so I’d have a look at the 10 yard split times at the combine to get an idea who they might have an eye on.

  • LucasY59

    definitely understand the reasoning and since its pre combine it is a good base to start with *not trying to tear it apart but gonna make a few switches that I would prefer (not a knock on the picks just my opinion)

    1. I think I would go with Reddick over Lawson, I just think Haasan is going to be an elite athlete and those can usually only be had in the 1st, he can help at OLB, but the biggest value with him is his versatility

    2. going Lewis here (he is my favorite corner in this draft because I think what he can do would help the team the most) they need a Slot corner the most (Cockrell is good enough to start opposite Burns and Artie should improve this yr so that hopefully they have a legit #1 CB) Gay is getting older and Golson is not dependable, even if Senquez does play well, Lewis could play some outside if needed and so he is a good versatile corner (Sutton also has some versatility and its not that I dont like him, I just like Jourdan better, Cam is safer to mock since there is a better chance of him still being there at the 2nd pick)

    3. I would stick with OLB here, but since you had already made your 2 choices you didnt list an alternate pass rusher, I would prefer a guy like Joe Mathis or Derek Rivers and I think if Smoot is available here you could guess that one of those two would be also, I am also tempted to switch to Awuzie since I think he could add something to the outside corners (which is needed as well, but OLB is a much bigger need, even though they would already have Reddick)

    4. I actually like this pick, and since they have gone heavy (early) on Defense (two yrs in a row) I would take Leggett (I like what he did for Clemson and had some big time catches in big time games)

    5. another pick I like and would stick with, I think Connor is a good option for a couple reasons, he would provide depth at two positions (RB & FB) he can catch out of the backfield, and if he came in later in a game after they were already tired from trying to stop Bell, he would have some really good success, the team already has a similar back in Karlos Williams, but the good thing about John is he is only similar to Karlos on the field, and off of it he is the opposite (which is important since the last thing they need in the backfield is more off field trouble, Joe Mixon would be a great fit for the Steelers O, and IF he lasts till this pick I would be very tempted, but would probably stick with Connor, especially since another team will take the risk on Joe much earlier)

    5 comp. since ARII made it seem like picking a QB in the draft was going to happen, I dont hate the pick (but I would much rather pass on a QB this yr) I would change it to Dobbs, he won some crazy games this yr, and although some of it was just total luck, he was able to step up when it was on the line and help make the miracles happen, I dont expect much out of either QB, but winning those close games gives Josh the edge for me

    6. pretty much all these late rd picks are good, and you are right it is a guess as to who will be available, Staples would be gone if he is sub 4.3, if he doesnt run as fast as he hopes and still runs low 4.4s he could still be here (and that is a good time) I also like Jalen Robinette (think he would be more useful on STs than Staples) and one more similar guy would be Mack Hollins from UNC, any of these 3 would work for me

    7. I like this pick as well, adding DL depth is important (the team got very lucky last yr) I think Walton and Maxey stepped up well, but adding a 7th rd pick to push them and make them continue to earn it is important (if they dont get one in the 7th they will likely add a UDFA and since this pick is basically guaranteeing a priority UDFA signing (last few picks in the draft) this makes sense

  • Wil Masisak

    I agree with Colbert that there are many good prospects at the position– but I think they’re mostly going to go in the first half of the draft… some of the other positions are not so deep.

  • newguy68

    Love it. Not as sold on Lawson as others, i’d might go with Reddick. I would avoid another WR and go with another DB, possibly a safety.

  • Wil Masisak

    I guess they felt they couldn’t give it to Zay Jones, since his two best plays weren’t ruled completions… although, that was arguably the best Davis Webb has ever played. I think it’s a horrible year to take a QB– Mahomes is the only guy I think has a real NFL future and you probably have to take him at 1.30.

  • Applebite

    Overall, it’s not too bad. I wouldn’t be upset, seeing as how things could work out in this draft. I think as long as they make sure to bring some more help in the secondary, everything should work out. Find an OLB, but get help for the secondary. It’s going to be an ongoing issue for them, since Gay doesn’t have much more in the tank and Golson is an unknown right now.

    Draft I did yesterday….

    30. Takkarist McKinnley Edge UCLA
    62. Hasson Riddick LB Temple
    94. Marcus Maye Safety Florida
    134. Marquez White CB Fl. State
    174. Damontae Kazee CB SDST
    182. Eric Saubert TE Drake
    214. Stanley Williams RB Kentucky
    251. Austin Rehkow P Idaho

    Yes, a Punter. I know. But Rehkow is interesting enough to bring him in to see what he can do. Plus, he kicked a 67 yd FG as a high schooler (!?) I don’t care about how, and yes, I think he’s worth a pick that late in the draft. And the TE I picked, Saubert, I think a lot of fans would enjoy seeing on the roster.

  • Wil Masisak

    Derek Rivers might not even last to 1.30, let alone 134. He’s a guy that could just keep rising all the way through to draft day, especially if his combine is outlier.

  • Alex Kozora

    Reddick and Lewis are fine top two picks. Won’t argue with you there about it. I don’t think Rivers will last and Smoot does have more tape than Mathis, who is confined to basically a couple games.

  • Alex Kozora

    Don’t agree with the punter but it’s an Idaho kid so I’m happy.

  • StarSpangledSteeler

    Wreckless –

    Whereas I agree with you 100% on Mahomes, I have to disagree on Lawson.

    I think the Jarvis Jones comparison is valid.

    Jarvis Jones = 6’2″ 245. And I’ll bet you a dollar Carl Lawson comes in right about 6’2″ 255.

    Lawson is definitely stronger than Jarvis (and probably a bit faster) but neither one of them can bend, and neither one has good pass rush moves. Stiffness on the edge does not work in the NFL.

  • Ni mo

    Bryant will be reinstated on march 28

  • Ni mo

    He gives up to much yards and is a poor tackler , I think theycsn upgrade over cockrell , not in the draft but Thru free agency

  • StarSpangledSteeler

    Wow. If you watched the whole Bama game and still list “bend” as one of Lawson’s strengths (in your profile) I really don’t know what else there is left to discuss. Can you site me which plays you’re seeing. I’m not trying to be an a$$, I promise, I just want to know what plays specifically you’re referring to?

    If Lawson had gone up against Robinson, he would’ve looked way worse than he already did (IMO). His only impact play was when he was left in iso with a 3rd string TE and was able to shed the block. That’s like beating David Paulson.

    I have watched his other game clips as well, and I guess I just don’t see what you’re seeing. And I certainly don’t envision him as the BPA at 1.30. I could literally list 10 other prospects I’d take above him at a variety of positions. Looks like we’ll have to agree to disagree on this one.

    I know (from last year) you and I disagree on arm length. You think it’s overrated. I think it’s extremely important. I don’t think either Cockrell or Golson are particularly impressive. To me, they ARE depth caliber players. In my opinion we need another starter along side Burns. And I agree, the late rounds is not where we’re gonna find one of those. The 2nd round is where the most value appears to be at CB. I think we just disagree on the player.

  • Guillermo Garcia-Gomez

    If Ladarius Green is cleared, he can be sidelined for the season just as quickly with one hard hit to the head.

  • Alex Kozora

    Of course. That’s true of anyone, really.

  • Ike Evans

    See this is where context is key….he wasnt a starter all 4 years he was hurt and missed a good amount time(now if you wanna knock him on that its understandable) did you look at his pass breakups? Did u look at the percentage qbs actually threw at him? Cuz he was avoided by opposing offenses quite a bit b4 his last injury because he was blanketing receivers (in mostly man coverage so i find it interesting you automatically designate him as a “zone” cb….though i agree he would be great in zone too)……when you watch him he plays the ball well in the air just as good as anybody outside of teez tarbor…hes a natural at it…better then most guys….which makes sense with him being a kick returner……watch a guy like marlon humphrey…then watch sutton and you tell me his ball skills can be judged mostly on INT’s……all im saying

  • LucasY59

    I think Rivers (or maybe even Kpassagnon who is another of my favs for this draft) could still be available in the 3rd just like Hargrave was last yr, they are both from small schools (FCS) like Javon, and the edge rusher talent is deep in this draft (like it was with DTs last yr) I agree his talent should make he go earlier, but think there is a decent chance he would still be available

    agree Smoot is probably the safer pick and obviously has more tape to grade him on, but I think Mathis would not be in the conversation if he had stayed healthy (a possible 1st rd or at least early 2nd if he played a whole season and continued doing what he was doing early on) I think Mathis is more of a value pick and has the higher potential (and if they already had Lawson or Reddick in the 1st I would definitely be looking for a high potential guy when I doubled up)

  • Guillermo Garcia-Gomez

    Not to the same degree that it’s true of Green. He missed at least part of the beginning of the year with symptoms then his season was ended after the hit in Cincy game. It’s foolish if they count on him even though it’s not his fault.

  • Alex Kozora

    Understood. I’ve said it before, and I think it’s obvious, that you can’t count on Green going forward. He’s Golson-like.

  • Ike Evans

    Lmao! Very funny

  • Joey

    hence why later rounds are better. Prefer UDFA but whatever…

    There is no guarantee Coates returns to form, or that they keep Bryant… That would leave us with AB, Rogers, Ayers, and DHB (i believe) for our corps… yes we will have coates but still questions about his production. So grabbing one to stash on the PS for a season or two isn’t necessarily bad.

  • WreckIess

    They have similar height and they both played in the SEC, but that’s about where the similarities end. Lawson doesn’t have elite bend, but he it’s definitely there. He’s never going to be Robert Quinn when it comes to bending the edge, but he can definitely be like Jerry Hughes with pretty good bend and he’s way better at flattening. Nothing like Jarvis who had zero bend whatsoever nor can I even recall a time he even flashed the ability to bend. Watch him vs Miss St if you don’t think he can bend.

  • Jon Crissinger

    I know safety isn’t one of our biggest needs, but I think my favorite prospect in this draft is Budda Baker. I would take him in the second in a heartbeat if he was there.

  • capehouse

    Not sure what you’re seeing either, but there’s tons of film on draftbreakdown showing off his ankle, knee and hip flexibility. It’s definitely an asset of his. Jarvis Jones had NONE of that.

  • falconsaftey43

    He said the same last year and they took Burns in the 1st.

  • Alex Kozora

    Go check out the scouting report I posted on him. There are at least two clips.

  • capehouse

    It might not be elite, but it’s close. He’s really good at bending the edge and flattening the arc.

  • WreckIess

    Out of 10 I give it a 7.5. Not elite, but good and it’s definitely a weapon in his arsenal. Could be an 8 or 8.5 and get into that great category with NFL coaching, but I don’t think he’ll ever be a 9 or 10 like Quinn, Miller, or Mack. I don’t know how much sense that made because trying to quantify bend is pretty damn hard, but that’s how I see him.

  • Rusted Out

    I don’t get very involved with draft prospects until after the combine or the draft itself. Admittedly, I don’t care for college football. This is the only time of year when I wish I did watch college. I have to defer to Alex on the analysis of these guys, but I love the draft order of the first three rounds. This team must find a pass rusher first and foremost, and double dipping in the first three rounds is a good start.

  • Alex Kozora

    Well hey, I’m still working my way through too. Basically just been writing up Senior Bowl reports, the guys I’m most familiar with.

  • Rusted Out

    I’m grateful to you. You save me so much time and effort to do other things that might actually benefit my life. lol

  • LucasY59

    I think he would be very similar to Sutton slot/safety cover guy, can also play deep centerfield and hopefully make a few INTs

  • Aj Gentile

    I like it. It fills needs. I may have went with a more slot ready cb then Sutton in round two like Lewis..I would have also put Tanner Vallejo in the seventh rather than a Dl

  • Bruce

    I wouldn’t be upset if this is how it played out, but i would like to see who else was available for the first two picks.

  • StarSpangledSteeler

    Okay but let’s be accurate. He was only hurt his senior year. And he only missed 6 games that year (ankle). So the vast majority of those stats are valid. He had a great sophomore year and average junior + senior years. If you want to put all of that on him being “avoided” that’s fine. I think other teams scouted his weaknesses as well.

    And if you’re going to question Golson’s ability to handle the NFL physically at 5’9″ 176 pounds (which is a very valid concern) it’s fair to question Sutton’s ability to to handle the NFL physicality at 5’11” 180 as well. I’m not saying they have the same in injury prone nature (not at all). But they are basically the same size.

    Sutton’s most well known weakness is poor tackling (20 misses on 85 attempts during the 2014 + 2015 seasons) and there are doubts about his ability to jam WR’s at the NFL level. Thus the concerns about man press. And even we (the Steelers) decide to stick with zone, the idea is to tackle the catch immediately. Not his strong suit.

    I’m not saying he sucks. He is a good zone CB, who tracks the ball well, and would fit in perfectly with some team like the Eagles. I just don’t think he’s a good fit for a physical man press CB system like I believe the Steelers need to adopt in order to beat Brady. We’ll see how he tests at the combine. Maybe he has gotten stronger.

  • Henry

    I’m a Tennessee fan and alum and have watched Cam Sutton for years. He would be a great addition, but I don’t think he’ll be there at the end of rd 2.

    Agree that he should stick at CB as he’s great there and never played safety in college. His strength in the run game is why he’s probably getting a look there. Added bonus with Cam is that he’s a pretty stellar punt returner. Only reason didn’t get all of the PR opportunities at UT is because that Alvin Kamara got a lot of them. He’s another player the Steelers would love to take at 2.30, but probably won’t be there.

  • StarSpangledSteeler

    Henry –

    What are you talking about… “his strength in the run game?”

    That’s his biggest weakness. 20 missed tackles in 85 attempts (during 2014 + 2015).

    (And I’m a Tennessee fan too BTW)

  • DoctorNoah

    Hardy Nickerson?

  • kev4heels

    Really like it with one exception; Smoot in rd 3.
    Don’t think we need another OLB that high in the draft.
    I don’t think Leggett will last until rd 4, so I would slot him in rd 3.
    For our 4th, Fish Smithson S?

    Nice job though…love the first 2 picks.

  • kev4heels

    Not sure why, but I am very confident that Sutton will be taken by the Steelers in rd 2.
    Just seems like a perfect fit for the Steelers.

  • Rene Gonzalez

    Totally agree, but as a hypothetical exercise just imagine how deep and awesome the offense would be with that first three picks lol.

  • joewalsh

    Need a defensive lineman earlier. IMO

  • Spencer Krick

    Would be happy with this haul.

  • Alex Kozora

    He’d be coming in as a #5 DL behind Heyward/Tuitt, Hargrave, and Walton.

  • Ike Evans

    What you believe the steelers need adopt has zero to do with what they are going to do so applying that logic to how theyll evaluate talent seems like reach to me…..theyve given no indication they are changing whether u wish them to do so or not. What they have shown indication of is not giving a holy hell about tackling defense cuz they certainly keep adding guys whos major deficiency is such…..they dont seem put off by it at all……..which is sad but makes sense that theyve already shown a lil bit of interest in sutton lol cuz that certainly is hid weakness but clearly not a deal breaker looking at our defense

  • LucasY59

    Jr (makes you feel old when players you watched now have kids that are old enough to be in the league)

  • NYCSteelCurtain

    Don’t think we need a safety as an FA option…maybe depth. Mitchell and Davis are very solid pieces that should be here for some time.

    Would rather not break the bank here.

  • muddslinger

    I like the latest mock but I went a little different route.RD1.Christian McCaffrey-RB,WR/Stanford ; He can play slot receiver, punt& kickoff return man & most important RB! RD2.T.J. Watt-OLB/Wisconsin ; relentless non stop motor. edge pass rusher with results! RD3.Eddie Jackson-SS/Alabama ; He may slip a little in the draft due to injury but he would be a steal!RD4.Travis Rudolph-WR/Florida State ;They should add to the postion,Bryant may not be back & Wheaton looks like a bust. RD5.Nazair Jones-DE/North Carolina ; big DE for D line.
    RD5(comp) Ejuan Price OLB/Pitt ; undersized,productive! reminds me of J.Harrison. Rd6.John Johnson-FS/Boston College; adds talent to secondary& ST.RD7.Tarean Folston-RB/Notre Dame ;RB depth & ST.

  • Michael Mosgrove

    i want nothing to do with lawson. everytime we take an injury history dude recently, it doesnt work out for us.
    he isnt good in coverage from what ive seen when he is rarely used there.

    reddick would take pressure off front middle and back lines. we need him.

    sutton ive drafted on mocks at least ten times.

    smoot as a 3rd maybe. he’s got some glaring deficiencies though.

    shaheen in 3rd if not 4th. yes he is a smaller school guy but he is stellar. yall be sleeping on adam shaheen.

  • Michael Mosgrove

    harris doesnt fit our system and lawson i dont want the injury history.

  • Michael Mosgrove

    dangerfield should take over for mitchell hopefully in time.

  • Wil Masisak

    ¯_(ツ)_/¯ I mean, I really like Dangerfield as a #3 or #4 rotational safety but let’s not kid ourselves. We’re not looking for respectable defense or even solid– we’re looking to upgrade the unit into a Super Bowl contender, and that means slowing down NE. If you can convince me how Jordan Dangerfield over Mitchell makes that more likely, I’m all ears. We need to improve a good unit of defensive backs, coverage linebackers, and edge rushers to become a great unit. That means replacing good players with better ones.

  • Ni mo

    Keep Bryant ? Steeers would have cut Bryant already

  • Ni mo

    And no defense right back to square one

  • Michael Mosgrove

    ive been banging the dangerfield drum for years now. i think if he grows enough he will replace mitchell next year (2018) i mean he seems to have a high ceiling which hasnt been reached yet. he gets good tackles. he is quick.

  • Michael Mosgrove

    he can tackle better than you can write sentences.

  • Michael Mosgrove

    what does sutton give you that senquez doesnt?
    well he’s 6’1″ senquez is 5’9
    senquez is 194 lbs sutton is 181

    also. sutton would be on the field. not the ir list.

  • Michael Mosgrove

    alright i will try.
    okay so we are playing our nickle defense
    we have tuitt and heyward on the front, grave wobble in as tackle

    using reddick as a sam linebacker playing as the versatile olb/ilb
    reddick sets the edge and has the athleticism to drop into coverage. taking pressure off the middle and front.

    shazier at mike linebacker helps protect the front and middle from the run

    timmons at will linebacker protects the underneath support shazier against run

    ya got burns and cockrell as the outside cb’s guarding the outer zones, or playing bump and cover

    that leaves you with 3 spots left. the safeties, and the slot cb, or slot safety/ilb hybrid.

    we all know that gay is declining so they need someone that can either handle the underneath against receivers. we can use someone like cam sutton to put a dent into them due to his speed. great in coverage.

    now as far as dangerfield and davis. dangerfield provides the ability to tackle. now while he does have the same ability as mitchell to make big hits, he tends to wrap up a bit better rather than hitting his opponent and trying to knock them off course. he is quite a bit faster than mitchell, so while his play recognition isnt superb yet he has time to develop and his recognition as it is at the moment is not bad. you can tell he is studying the offenses and is working on it to become nature. hes got burst its just a delay in processing. under repetition and experience this will flourish.

    now if you look at dangerfield and say okay he is a good tackler, lets keep him at the los or stuff the box plays you could then put dangerfield in the position of strong safety. being that davis is a bit taller and faster he would be more open to playing free safety. davis has shown that he has decent ball read skills and will progress he missed some tackles but that can be improved through practice. now if that is the case, using two fast rangey safeties would help prevent the big plays due to their close in speed on receivers. speed is something that mitchell who is okay but doesnt possess makes the quick twitch throws more dangerous. it makes them more dangerous when you know that the corners and safeties can get to their target at the drop of a hat.

    now if dangerfield is playing against the run in the role that troy used to hit a lot on that gives you dangerfield, shazier, dupree/reddick, tuitt, timmons, and grave wobble working a defense against the line and burns cockrell, davis etc against the pass. ill take those odds.

    now if dangerfield is playing against the pass. davis at ss. danger at fs. danger has the speed and ball awareness to close and if not get to the ball get his hands up into the passing lane. as he has shown more than once. this is something mitchell rarely does. even if mitchell gets into the lane he doesnt have the twitchyness to get his hands up most of the time.

    now im not saying mitchell is terrible or that dangerfield is the answer to our prayers. what i am saying is having witnessed him at training camp over the last few years. and having witnessed his play in person. im saying he has shown great improvement and it doesnt look like he has come anywhere near his limit yet.

  • Wil Masisak

    I get where you’re coming from. It’s possible Dangerfield’s ceiling has not yet been hit and it’s true he has worked himself into being a good player. I guess a lot of this depends on what changes the staff foresee in the defensive scheme and what pieces they need to do what they want.

  • Michael Mosgrove

    well if you can at least understand where i am coming from that is good. most people rush to make snap judgments i tried to provide reasoning with it.

  • Alex Kozora

    Past injury history has nothing to do with a current guy…weird thing to hold against him. Like I wrote, Lawson played all last year. You don’t have as much of a projection with a guy who, say, tore his ACL Week 1 of this year. But of course, the Combine medicals are going to be key.

    I don’t think a lot of these guys are stellar in coverage. I don’t think we know how good he is anyway since, as you point out, he didn’t do it a ton. But the goal is to rush the passer. It’s not like the Steelers’ linebackers are running with TEs and RBs all day. They spot drop. Lawson can do that.

    Not sleeping on Shaheen…just understanding the reality that unless they show a lot of interest in a guy (Hargrave), they probably won’t take a small school kid like that.

  • Michael Mosgrove

    mossy’s mock draft v3.0 very surprising that it looks similar to my first mock. 2nd mock was more of a pipedream. as in doing it this time at no less than 10 times peppers was gone every time around 24.

    30: R1P30 LB HAASON REDDICK TEMPLE (mocks 1 and 3)
    62: R2P30 CB CAMERON SUTTON TENNESSEE (mocks 1 and 3)
    94: R3P30 TE ADAM SHAHEEN ASHLAND (mocks 1,2 and 3) i want this dude on pittsburgh. period.
    134: R4P29 EDGE TREY HENDRICKSON FLORIDA ATLANTIC. for a small school this dude is good. (mocks 1 and 3)
    174: R5P29 RB JUSTIN DAVIS USC maybe not as polished as clements for example but shows drive. (mock 3)
    182: R5P37 WR JOSH MALONE TENNESSEE pretty good receiver. (mocks 1 and 3)
    214: R6P29 DL ISAAC ROCHELL NOTRE DAME alex i believe wrote this dude up. seems like a good project (mocks 2 and 3)
    251: R7P30 S WESTON STEELHAMMER AIR FORCE ( just because i love his name. ) (mock 3)

  • Michael Mosgrove

    2 wr’s in first 4 rounds? yeah that isnt happening.

  • pittfan

    That Boulware kid has a nose for the football

  • mokhkw

    Interesting you say that about Harris, I noticed you mocked Haason Reddick in Rd.1 who I have the same thought about as a 3-4 OLB. Lawsons injury history is a concern but not the reason I choose Harris who I think has as good any array of pass rush moves as anyone in this draft + a non stop motor.

  • Rocksolid20

    McQuay III would be great value at 7th round . I’ve seen him since high school and he has a championship pedigre .

  • Rocksolid20

    Cockrell is a good tackler , after he has given up 8 – 10 yards .

  • Rocksolid20

    My exact words , clone of Jones !

  • capehouse

    At first, but if he shows any ability to rush the passer, which Walton can’t do, and he can hold his own against the run then he has a good shot at passing Walton.

  • Mike Frantz

    Budda Baker should be considered in Rd 1. I am continually baffled by the Depot’s love of Mitchell. A safety that has had how many int’s over the last 2 years? I get that’s not everything, but we could certainly do better. I’m a UW alum and Baker is the best football player we’ve had in the last 10 years. A Davis/Baker combo would be so flexible.

  • Matt Manzo

    I was thinking veteran depth with a little more wisdom than Golden.

  • Wil Masisak

    I think Cockrell has done a decent job for two seasons– but you must upgrade good to better to become great. I wouldn’t rule out Golson or another draft pick CB putting up a good fight for a job in the slot and Gay/Cockrell playing for the starting job outside. I think Gay’s days in the slot are numbered and, if by some miracle Golson is healthy and up to full speed in the spring, I think he gets every chance to win a job.

  • Wil Masisak

    Let’s put it this way: maybe two really good CBs left by the time the Steelers pick in rd 5.

  • Alex Kozora

    Well I am drafting a CB in the 2nd for this mock…so I am adding competition. 🙂

    But I agree, yes, Gay needs replacement drafted this year. Ready for 2018.

  • Matt Manzo

    He’s the only FA loss that I’m still pissed about! I love me some Kirkland but I’d trade Chad Brown for Hardy any day! Was it a money thing? I can’t remember.

  • Matt Manzo

    Buddas getting a lot of talk right now! Might start rising up the board.

  • Steeler83

    Hi Alex, I’m just wondering, how do you like Charles Harris compared to Carl Lawson or Haason Reddick ?

  • StarSpangledSteeler

    Michael –

    A quick word of advice. Before you call someone out on a thread, you better get your facts straight.

    If you do a net search for “senior bowl weigh ins 2017,” you will see that they measured Cam Sutton at 5’11” 182 pounds.

    If you do a net search for “2016 combine” you will see that they measured Senquez Golson at 5′ 8.5″ 176 pounds.

    So unless you know each of these guys personally and can show me video of you measuring Sutton at 6’1″ and weighing Golson at 191 pounds, I’m gonna stick with the nationally verified numbers.

  • StarSpangledSteeler

    Also –

    You are correct that Golson has spent both of his 2 NFL seasons on IR. What you may not know (because you don’t strike me as the “research” type) is that Senquez Golson played 4 years at Ole Miss (SEC) and rarely missed a game.

    Cam Sutton missed 6 games in the middle of his senior year. And played hobbled the rest of the season. So your supposition that Sutton would be healthy in the NFL (where he has never played a game either) is quite ironic.

  • Michael Mosgrove

    That’s funny because if you typed in cam Sutton height n weight in Google that’s what pops up. What I typed. So you can take your condescension and stick it.

  • Michael Mosgrove

    That’s funny because I do a ton of film study and statistical analysis.


    Good job Alex.

    If I were going to tweak it…the more research I do , the more I’m liking the Joe Mathis koolaid…I would probably take the RB (Hunt) in the 3rd rd and circle back and double dip edge rusher in the 5th with this kid.

  • Jake

    Alex, any reason why we can’t replace Gay by the end of 2017? I’d be very frustrated if we go into the playoffs, i.e. New England, with the exact same lineup that got embarrassed last time.


    Good job Alex…if I can piggy back off your work I would make these changes.

    Rd 3…I would go with Hunt, the RB, or Alvin Kamara from TN. I like having the contrasting style that DWill brings moreso than another big RB.

    Rd 5…the more I learn about this kid, the more I want him in PIT. Joe Mathis, OLB, WAS. He’s not the athlete that Lawson is either, but imo a better natural edge rusher than Smoot.

    R5 5 comp…I might lean towards a S here. I don’t disagree with your thoughts on the position, but Golden really disappointed this season to be a guy initially looked at as a stop gap starter. Also Mitchell needs to start looking over his should a bit imo.

    If I didn’t go S, I would look at a dual threat QB like Dobbs in this spot….no, he’s not going to threaten Landry this season, but he’s got NFL skills and brings the mobile element to the position as a backup.

  • LucasY59

    I dont remember that well either, It was before I payed that close of attention, but since I was young back then it makes me feel old to know it was more than 20 yrs ago

  • Jon Crissinger

    Agreed. I would be okay with him in round one. He’s so fundamentally sound and lines up everywhere. A mix of Harrison Smith and Honey Badger. Some Troy like traits as well

  • Me too. He has a high ceiling and could hopefully sit behind Ben for a couple of years and learn to play NFL QB. Also wouldn’t mind a late round flyer on Chad Kelly.

  • LucasY59

    had to do some research the Steelers lost Hardy and Jerrol Williams in the first yr of FA, but the loss of Williams is what made the Steelers go get Kevin Greene (so I cant be too upset about the loss of of Nickerson and am glad the Chargers signed away Williams)

    I also was glad they drafted Brown to replace Nickerson (Hardy was better after he left, and was a better fit in Dungy’s 4-3 defense) so the Steelers LBs after Nickerson were gone were better than they were when he was with the team

    I think Woodson and Faneca were the worst FA losses, Rod seemed to always be about the $ so losing him seemed inevitable (he held out on his rookie contract, so trouble getting him signed was there from the start) Al mightve been the biggest loss, since the OL was pretty bad after he left and he played well with the Jets, Faneca wouldve won another SB if he had stayed, so that sucks for him (a 2nd ring mightve helped him get in the Hall sooner as well)

  • Joey

    Keep him after his contract is up…. Good receiving corps now doesn’t ensure good corps later…

  • gjnn

    I watched Lawson against Clemson and Alabama and I just don’t see a 1st rounder. He’s not sufficiently explosive, he can be dozy when trying to set the edge – factoring in his injury history, I really don’t think I would touch him. Derek Barnett and Charles Harris are just more impactful and dynamic football players – I’m not 100% sold on Hassan Reddick but I’d much rather see him picked at 30 than Lawson. Sutton, Smoot and Leggett, however, all make a lot of sense in rounds 2, 3 and 4 – Leggett in the 4th would be a real steal.

  • Zarbor

    I like Lawson….as a pass rusher

  • will

    Look up Dulac’s 2/8/17 chat.
    Gerry is doing his best imitation of Kelly Ann Conway with his “new” comments…………….in his 2/8/2017 online chat, someone identified as “KJ” wrote a question – “After the Steelers address their CB & EDGE needs in the draft, which offensive position do you believe they’ll look at first”…………to which Kelly…errrrrr….Gerry responded “Your reasoning is flawed. THEY ARE NOT ADDRESSING CB IN THE DRAFT.” (Cap. emphasis is mine.) Come on Gerry……own up to your statement.

  • SouthernSteel

    Lol…simulations are great! 3 of my first 4 picks are all 1st round grades. ..but people still complain about this mock draft because I took offensive players..