Mocking the Steelers: Three Different Scenarios
All picks are based on a general consensus of draft experts ratings and the trades are based on the trade value chart.
MOCK 1: Includes a trade down in the first round and trade-ups in rounds 2 and 4.
Trade (1-18) and (6-188) to Packers for (1-23) and (3-86), as Packers move up to take Mike Iupati or Anthony Davis.
1 (23): Maurkice Pouncey, 6-5, 304, C-G, Florida: Taking Pouncey at 18th overall may be too early, particularly in such a deep draft. If the Steelers stay at 18, CB Kyle Wilson or OG Mike Iupati represent better value. But Pouncey is a more surefire pick than Iupati, who has more boom/bust potential. Kevin Colbert generally likes safer picks in the first round, and Pouncey could start over Trai Essek at RG as a rookie and then settle in at center. Potentially, he could anchor the Steelers' offensive line for a decade and reignite the Pittsburgh tradition of great center play.
Trade (2-52), (3-86) and (7-225) to Tampa for (2-35)
2 (35): Devin McCourty, 5-11, 195, CB, Rutgers: CB is the Steelers' No. 1 need both for immediate help and especially for 2011, since Ike Taylor will be an unrestricted free agent after the 2010 season and William Gay could join him if a new CBA is reached. There will not be much top-line talent at CB left on the board if the Steelers sit tight at 52. Expect a run on CBs late in the first and early in the second round. McCourty has long-term No. 1 CB potential, could help out as a kick returner, and is an excellent special teams coverage player. He is also solid against the run, a must for Steelers CBs. If still on the board, Alabama's Kareem Jackson would represent a steal at this spot, but his stock has risen to where he is less likely to be on the board early in the second round than McCourty.
3 (82): Ben Tate, 5-11, 220, RB, Auburn: Steelers sit tight and hope that Tate, Mario Hardesty or Toby Gerhart falls to them, with a preference for Tate, who could be a three-down back in the NFL. They may unload one or even two of their fifth-rounders to move up if some RBs start going off the board earlier than expected. In general, though, RBs fall in the NFL draft, and any of these three would represent great value at this spot and would be an ideal No. 2 tailback to compliment Reshard Mendenhall.
Steelers trade (4-116) and (5-155) to Kansas City for (4-102)
4 (102): Thad Gibson, 6-2, 245, OLB, Ohio State: If Gibson or South Carolina's Eric Norwood fall this far and the Steelers have not drafted a LB, they should definitely consider unloading picks to move up. Norwood is a better football player right now, but Gibson has more athleticism and the Steelers do not need immediate help at LB for 2010. Long-term, Gibson could be an outstanding 3-4 OLB.
5 (151): Larry Asante, 6-0, 210, SS, Nebraska: It is a very deep safety draft and quality players like Darrell Stuckey of Kansas, Kurt Coleman of Ohio State, and Kam Chancellor of Virginia Tech all will likely fall to the middle rounds. Asante and Coleman are the likeliest of that group to fall this far. Asante would be a slight favorite to beat out Ryan Mundy for a roster spot and the reserve strong safety job.
5 (164): Emmanuel Sanders, 6-0, 170, WR, SMU: Jordan Shipley from Texas is an option if he falls this far, but Sanders appears more likely to be sitting here and may have better long-term potential. Sanders actually visited the Steelers, and also has experience returning kicks and punts. He could be battle Stefan Logan for a roster spot, and Sanders would offer far more upside as a wide out.
5 (166): Jeff Owens, 6-1, 305, NT, Georgia: Owens has a lot of talent and great functional strength, but is very inconsistent on the field. He projects as a 3-4 NT for the Steelers, in arguably what is the best overall DT draft ever in terms of top-line talent and depth. In a normal year, Owens would be gone by the early fourth round. However, there are at least five NTs above him on most draft boards. He may have to beat out Chris Hoke for a roster spot, or the Steelers could keep three NTs by cutting either Nick Eason or Sonny Harris, or simply try to hide Owens on the practice squad for a year. Regardless, there is too much talent among 3-4 defensive linemen in this draft for the Steelers to ignore that area even though they have seven quality defensive linemen signed for 2010.
7 (242): John Connor, 5-11, 245, FB, Kentucky: Not a good year for fullbacks after last draft class was loaded. But maybe after the Cleveland game last year Tomlin will insist that Arians keep a true FB on the roster. Connor is the not the best all-around or versatile FB in this class, but he is a pure bruiser who would help in short-yardage situations, a Steeler weakness since Jerome Bettis' retirement.
MOCK 2: Includes a trade-up in round 1
The Dolphins have made it clear they would like to trade down in the first round. Thus, they may take slightly less points than the trade value chart to move down to 18, where they would still be able to get one of the quality 3-4 pass rushers, such as Michigan's Brandon Graham. Bill Parcells always likes extra picks and is usually a willing trade partner on draft day.
Steelers trade (1-18), (3-82), (5-151), and (5-155) to Dolphins for (1-12). The Steelers give up 1140 of trade-value points for 1200 in this trade.
1 (12): Joe Haden, 5-11, 195, CB, Florida: Haden is the consensus No. 1 CB in this draft and could potentially give the Steelers' their first top-flight cover corner since Rod Woodson. Per Mel Kiper and Ed Bouchette, cornerback is the Steelers' No. 1 need, and it becomes an even bigger need when 2011 is factored in, since Ike Taylor is set to become an UFA and William Gay will as well if no CBA is reached. Haden may not make it to 12th overall, and the 49ers are likely to pluck him at 13 if he is on the board. It is debatable if Haden is worth four picks. But the Steelers have 11 picks, nowhere near that many roster spots, are able to keep their second-round pick in this trade, and still have five picks in the first five rounds.
2 (52): Golden Tate, 5-11, 200, WR, Notre Dame: With their CB need filled, the Steelers would have several options here and could take who ever is available among the likes of Tate, Indiana OL Roger Staffold, and Virgina Tech OLB Jason Worlids. Of course, all three may be gone, but Tate is physically is a No. 2 WR in the NFL and those kind of players tend to drop on draft day. He would be a steal at this point.
4 (116): Joe McKnight, 6-0, 180, RB, USC: McKnight's stock has fallen, because he is not considered an every-down, between-the-tackles runner. He is, though, a pure speed burner, something Pittsburgh lacks in its RB corps now with Willie Parker departed. McKnight would also be a dynamic kick returner, allowing the Steelers to cut Stefan Logan.
5 (164): Eric Olsen, 6-4, 306, C, Notre Dame: Kevin Colbert simply does not believe in taking offensive linemen early and the Steelers' problems up front are evident of this philosophy. However, at this point, the Steelers could get a potential starter at center in Olsen, who would battle Doug Legursky for a roster spot. It is a down year at guard and no tackle available at this point projects as a long-term starter, so Pittsburgh grabs the best offensive lineman on their board.
5 (166): Jamar Chaney, 6-1, 240, ILB, Mississippi State: Chaney's stock has been rising and he may be long gone at this point. But it is not inconceivable that he is still on the board here, since it is unusually deep year at ILB and Chaney is not a good fit for a 4-3 scheme.
6 (188): Arthur Moats, 6-0, 245, OLB, William & Mary: The Steelers have had great success drafting developmental OLBs in the middle and later rounds. Pittsburgh could potentially keep two rookie LBs and Moats would have plenty of time to develop.
7 (225): Brandon Deaderick, 6-4, 310, DE, Alabama: Deadrick, who knocked Texas' Colt McCoy out of the national championship, has some upside as a 3-4 end, and would enter a battle with Nick Eason and Sonny Harris in a battle for the final one or two defensive end spots on the roster.
7 (242): Cody Grimm, 5-11, 203, SS, Virginia Tech: The Steelers pluck Russ Grimm's son to battle Ryan Mundy for a roster spot. Grimm is clearly the better special-teams player and open-field tackler, so he may stick.
MOCK 3: Includes no trades and the Steelers keep all 11 picks even though they have nowhere near that many roster spots for rookies.
1 (18): Kyle Wilson, 5-10, 195, CB, Boise State: CB is clearly the Steelers' biggest need, Florida's Joe Haden will likely be off the board by this point, and Wilson, who solidified his status as the No. 2 CB on most team boards, will likely not fall further than pick No. 20 by the Texans. He is an excellent cover corner who also can return punts.
2 (52): Jason Worilds, 6-1, 255, OLB, Virginia Tech: OLB is not an immediate need for Pittsburgh, but the Steelers' brass loves the pass-rushing potential of Worilds. Developmental OT prospect Jared Veldheer from Hillsdale College is another option here or in a slight trade-down, particularly if the Steelers do not plan to sign RT Willie Colon to a long-term deal or eventually move him to OG.
3 (82): J.D. Walton, 6-3, 300, C, Baylor: Justin Hartwig's play at center is adequate at best. Walton could replace him as the Steelers' starter eventually.
4 (116): Anthony Dixon, 6-1, 235, RB, Mississippi State: Dixon would help solve the Steelers' short-yardage rushing problems and be a competent No. 2 RB immediately.
5 (151): Andre Roberts, 5-10, 190, WR, Citadel: A solid pro-day workout on a top of a tremendously productive career may have moved Roberts solidly into fourth-round territory. But his body says No. 4 WR at best in the NFL, so he may fall this far.
5 (155): Clifton Geathers, 6-8, 290, DE, South Carolina: Long-armed and possessing tremendous bloodlines, this early entry's stock is risking rapidly.
5 (164): Kurt Coleman, 5-11, 190, S, Ohio State: A solid football player and over-achiever who would be slightly favored to beat out Ryan Mundy for the No. 4 safety spot on the roster.
5 (166): Nate Byham, 6-5, 250, TE, Pitt: Matt Spaeth is a poor in-line blocker as a No. 2 TE. The Steelers have two options to improve in this respect. Draft another TE who is a quality blocker like Byham, and then either use Spaeth as the No. 3 TE (who would move up to No. 1 if Heath Miller went down with an injury), or simply cut Spaeth. The presence of hyrbid TE/HB/FBs D.J. Johnson and Sean McHugh give the Steelers flexibility, but Byham is a pure TE who is a great in-line blocker. Pittsburgh offensive coordinator Bruce Arians appears more inclined to make better use of a solid in-blocking TE than a pure FB.
6 (188): Adrian Tracy, 6-3, 245, OLB, William & Mary: The Steelers go to Mike Tomlin's alma mater to grab a pass-rushing OLB prospect with upside.
7 (225): Micah Johnson, 6-2, 260, ILB, Kentucky: Once considered a premium draft pick, Johnson's stock has fallen due to a lack of mobility and his coming off injury. The Steelers could afford to give him a redshirt year, possibly stowing him on IR or the practice squad.
7 (242): Patrick Stoudamire, 5-11, 205, CB, Western Illinois: With 11 picks and not enough roster spots for those players, Colbert starts drafting for the practice squad and potential 2011 roster.