It’s been two weeks since I released my second Pittsburgh Steelers 2017 mock draft and with the pre-draft visits now concluded and the big event now just one week away, it’s time for my third version.
As always, I ask that you focus on the players I have mocked to the Steelers and not so much on the round. I understand that a few might go higher or lower than what I have them, but the value in doing these mocks is the overall discussion about the players and whether or not they fit the Steelers.
My final mock draft will be posted next Wednesday and if you missed by previous two mocks, you can find them at the links below:
1st Round – Pick 30 – 30th Overall – T.J. Watt – OLB – Wisconsin – I find myself flipping back and forth between an edge-rusher and a defensive back when it comes to the first round and this time I went with the former as I keep reminding myself what Art Rooney II said back in January about the defense needing to put more consistent pressure on opposing quarterbacks moving forward. While probably more of a mid-second-round prospect, Watt certainly checks a lot of boxes when it comes to him potentially being the Steelers first-round selection this year. He’s a SPARQ freak with nice length, long arms and a quality bloodline. As far as unchecked boxes go, he wasn’t a team captain and only spent one year as a starter at Wisconsin. Additionally, his previous knee injuries could be another reason against taking him and I’m assuming his medicals checked out. He is a developing pass-rusher who should only keep improving with solid coaching. He’s above average against the run, in my opinion, and has experience dropping into coverage as well.
Combine: HGT: 6044 | WGT: 252 lbs | 40-YD: 4.69 | 10-YD: 1.59 | 20-YD: 2.71 | BP: 21 | VJ: 37 | BJ: 10’08” | SS: 4.13 | LS: 11.20 | 3C: 6.79
2nd Round – Pick 30 – 62nd Overall – Josh Jones – S – North Carolina State – I can see this pick being a hybrid safety such as Jones or a cornerback. I went with Jones as not only should he be able to serve as a money-backer/slot cornerback, he can also play strong safety and even free safety, should the need arise. Like Watt, he has a nice SPARQ number. The Steelers brought him in for a pre-draft visit so interest in him is real. Will he make it to the Steelers in round two? We’ll know soon. Regardless, with Shamarko Thomas now gone and Robert Golden mostly being a special teams guy, the Steelers could really use another player like Sean Davis. Jones would look great on the field in a dime package as a rookie.
Combine: HGT: 6013 | WGT: 220 lbs | 40-YD: 4.41 | 10-YD: 1.58 | 20-YD: 2.61 | BP: 20 | VJ: 37 1/2 | BJ: 11’00”
Pro Day: SS: 4.32 | 3C: 7.43
3rd Round – Pick 30 – 94th Overall – Rasul Douglas – CB – West Virginia – While not blazing fast when timed in the 40, Douglas plays a bit faster on tape. He’s long and can play both off and press coverage with the latter needing some refinement due to lack of experience doing it. Douglas is active against the run and an above-average tackler to boot. While he cuts his teeth in the NFL initially, he should be a fine special teams contributor until ready to take over outside. The Steelers brought Douglas, a one-year starter, in for a pre-draft visit and Carnell Lake worked him out at his pro day.
Combine: HGT: 6015 | WGT: 209 lbs | 40-YD: 4.59 | 10-YD: 1.57 | 20-YD: 2.64 | BP: 16 | VJ: 33 1/2 | BJ: 10’00” | SS: 4.26 | 3C: 6.97
3rd Round – Pick 41 – 105th Overall – Tanoh Kpassagnon – DE – Villanova – Yes, yet another defensive player, but being as the Steelers really don’t have immediate needs on the offensive side of the football, why not load up on the other side of the football with players who can see the field and make an impact during their rookie seasons. Kpassagnon is a tweaner of sorts and probably best fits the Steelers as a nickel pass-rusher. At nearly 6-7 and weighing in at 289-pounds, he’s just a few cheeseburgers away from being a very athletic 5-tech. While he’s raw and in need of some serious time in the weight room, he showed he could get after opposing quarterbacks during his final two seasons at Villanova. The Steelers showed a lot of interest in him during the pre-draft process that included him making a visit to Pittsburgh. He can play on his feet as well and that’s another asset.
Combine: HGT: 6066 | WGT: 289 lbs | 40-YD: 4.83 | 10-YD: 1.68 | 20-YD: 2.81 | BP: 23 | VJ: 30 | BJ: 10’08” | SS: 4.62 | 3C: 7.46
4th Round – Pick 29 – 135th Overall – Shelton Gibson – WR – West Virginia – The Steelers brought several wide receivers in for visits so it appears they are serious about drafting one. Gibson was one of those brought in. The X receiver registered 20 catches of 40+ yards and 13 catches of 50+ yards over the course of the last two seasons and had very few drops on his way to catching 84 passes for 1,898 yards and 17 touchdowns in the 38 total games that he played in. He is a willing blocker who can also return kickoffs. He seems to be the perfect backup for Antonio Brown.
Combine: HGT: 5106 | WGT: 191 lbs | 40-YD: 4.50 | 10-YD: 1.61 | 20-YD: 2.63 | BP: 8 | VJ: 32 | BJ: 09’10” | SS: 4.20 | LS: 10.71 | 3C: 6.83
5th Round – Pick 30 – 173rd Overall – Joshua Dobbs – QB – Tennessee – Ok, I put quarterback off long enough and being as Dobbs was brought in for a visit, I think there’s a chance the Steelers draft him in the fifth round if he’s still on the board. He’s a very smart player with impeccable character. He has a strong arm and is a threat to run with the football as well. He needs a lot of development, but has the potential to turn into a serviceable No. 2 quarterback.
Combine: HGT: 6033 | WGT: 216 lbs | 40-YD: 4.64 | 10-YD: 1.62 | 20-YD: 2.69 | VJ: 33 | BJ: 10’02” | SS: 4.31 | 3C: 6.75
6th Round – Pick 30 – 213th Overall – James Conner – RB – Pittsburgh – While it’s probably not a big deal in the grand scheme of things, Conner appears to have been the only running back brought in for a pre-draft visit and that’s not surprising being as he didn’t count against the 30-allotted due to him being a local product. You can’t help but love and root for the kid after all he’s been through. He should be available late being as he’s a north-south runner who doesn’t possess much elusiveness.
Combine: HGT: 6014 | WGT: 233 lbs | 40-YD: 4.65 | 10-YD: 1.63 | 20-YD: 2.69 | BP: 20 | VJ: 29 | BJ: 09’05”
Pro Day: SS: 4.31 | 3C: 7.41
7th Round – Pick 30 – 248th Overall – Javancy Jones – LB – Jackson State – Is Jones an edge-rusher or inside linebacker at the NFL level? He showed he can play both at a small school and in the all-star game and it will be up to a team to figure out where he fits best. He might need a year on a practice squad if he can’t make a final 53-man roster as a core special teams player. He’s worth a late-round selection and might even be attractive to the Steelers or another team in the sixth round.
Pro Day: HGT: 6010 | WGT: 245 lbs | 40-YD: 4.62 | 10-YD: 1.65 | BP: 26 | VJ: 32 | 09’03”
Summary: In my past mocks, I selected a tight end but am starting to get the feeling the team might bypass the position entirely this year. If they do, that means they have confidence that Ladarius Green will be fine moving forward. Unless the Steelers draft a wide receiver in the first three rounds, I really don’t see the need to select an offensive player until round four. This team needs more defensive players just like last year and that’s why I selected four with the first four picks.