We’re back for another crack at a mock draft with a couple changes from the last one that we did. As always, let me now your thoughts in the comments section below and how you would like to see things shake out. This is generally what I would like to see happen but it’s also based on who the Pittsburgh Steelers’ seem interested in and what the higher-ups have said.
If you missed it, here are the first three mock drafts I’ve completed.
Round One (30th Overall): Carl Lawson/OLB Auburn – 6’1/6 261
Flip-flopping back to Lawson, who narrowly edged out Derek Rivers’ in my mind to be on this list. I do think there’s a chance Lawson experiences a fall because of his medical history but man, the Steelers seem to have a lot of interest in him and he’s coming from a Power 5 conference. I know the Steelers broke the window by taking Artie Burns last year, but they still stuck with the big-time conferences and have only strayed from that once – Ben Roethlisberger in 2004 – under Kevin Colbert. So Lawson gets the nod.
The need is obvious. Outside linebacker still the biggest point of emphasis. They could go outside the position, cornerback feels nearly as likely, and maybe it gets bumped up knowing the injuries in the class that is hurting its depth, but I’m sticking with the most common sense approach.
Others Considered: OLB Derek Rivers, S Obi Melifonwu, CB Kevin King
Round Two (62nd Overall): Adoree Jackson/CB USC – 5’10 186
A tremendous athlete, Jackson is going to be a potential Day One slot starter. Big school, moves well, picked off five passes last year. Outside cornerback is an issue to deal with too but at least the Steelers have two potential long-term prospects there with Artie Burns and Ross Cockrell. In the slot? It’s a crapshoot.
Jackson also has really good return value, eight total kick/punt return touchdowns (four each), though in Pittsburgh, I’m not sure if that really helps given Mike Tomlin’s anti-defense stance in the return game. Still, this pick makes me feel a lot better about the future of the nickel position. Simply can’t trust Senquez Golson at this point. Jackson is the guy right now over someone like Jourdan Lewis, whose off the field issues are too murky to justify with this price tag.
Others Considered: CB Desmond King, CB Quincy Wilson, CB Ahkello Witherspoon
Round Three (94th Overall): Kareem Hunt/RB Toledo – 5’10/4 216
DeAngelo Williams is almost certainly not coming back and the Steelers have barely even entertained the thought because of how good this running back class is. Hunt is a mixture of a big back with excellent contact balance who can pass protect and. He’ll slide in as Le’Veon Bell’s backup and give the Steelers a competent backup for at least the next four years.
Others Considered: RB Wayne Gallman, CB Damontae Kazee, QB Brad Kaaya
Round Three (105th Overall): Jordan Leggett/TE Clemson – 6’5/4 248
I’m going with Leggett over Gerald Everett, who I’ve mocked previously, because Leggett comes from the bigger school, looks more like a traditional, Y tight end, and the Steelers have reportedly had some fairly heavy interest in him. Leggett isn’t my favorite prospect but he can stretch the field vertically and at least has some experience working out of a three-point stance. Green, like Golson, can’t be trusted, even though I recognize things could work out in 2017.
And because of that last point, I am generally against the idea of taking a tight end in the first round. Leggett in the third makes everyone happy.
Others Considered: TE Gerald Everett, TE Jake Butt, CB Brian Allen
Round Four (135th Overall): Josh Dobbs/QB Tennessee – 6’3/3 216
You know I hate the idea but there’s been a lot of smoke from the front office on taking a QB in this year’s draft. The fourth round might on the late end of things, a thought that makes me queasy, but I’m going with Dobbs. I know his draft projection is lower than this, CBS has him as a 6th round pick, for example, but QBs tend to go higher than graded because the position is so important and the supply is scarce. So here we freakin’ are.
Dobbs has the size, mobility, and upside to make him someone worth trying to mold up the next two to three seasons. His accuracy improved in his senior year, completing 63% of his passes and throwing 27 touchdowns. Dobbs is erratic but there aren’t a lot of great other options out there either. Nathan Peterman and Brad Kaaya don’t fit Todd Haley’s offense well.
Others Considered: CB Howard Wilson, SS Rayshawn Jenkins, WR Josh Reynolds
Round Five (173rd Overall): Alex Anzalone/ILB Florida – 6’2/7 241
I might be taking a slight liberty with the round here, one too late perhaps, but Anzalone’s medical history is lengthier than War and Peace, playing only eighteen games – not starts, total appearances – over a four year Gator career.
But he’s got great size, moves well, and I thought he was really impressive at the Senior Bowl. Run fits are good, he’s physical, and capable of moving sideline to sideline. Ran a 4.63 at Indy and an impressive 4.25/6.88 in the agility drills. Slightly different mold than that of Vince Williams or Tyler Matakevich and provides extra depth the Steelers weren’t going to find in free agency.
Others Considered: ILB Ben Gedeon, CB Marquez White, OLB Carroll Phillips
Round Six (213th Overall): Josh Harvey-Clemons/LB-S Louisville – 6’4 217
This is the guy I spoke pretty high of over the weekend. I think the sixth is a little low for him because of his niche-upside as a hyrbid defender, which is how I would use him in Pittsburgh. But NFL Draft Scout has him as a 6th round prospect so it’s not out-of-line, either.
He’s a strong open field tackler, a long strider, who played all over the Cardinal’ defense, including that box role I envision him playing in the league. He could see some serious playing time in year one, the opportunity is there, at least, and that has me pretty geeked.
Others Considered: LB-S Nate Gerry, WR Robert Davis, NT DJ Jones
Round Seven (248th Overall): Mack Hollins/WR North Carolina – 6’4 221
Just wrote about him this morning so be sure to check out his scouting report. He’s a vertical threat without the crazy speed, though it’s respectable for how big he is. Hollins was a dominant special teamer, giving him an outside chance to make the 53 man roster and push a guy like Darrius Heyward-Bey off because of that value. Hollins is regarded as high character, a hard worker, and will make the room very competitive. Plus, he’s a Steelers’ fan. Hard to beat that.
Others Considered: WR Josh Malone , DE Isaac Rochell, WR Chad Williams