It’s mock draft season again in case you haven’t noticed. Let’s try something a little different. Here’s my take on who I think the Steelers will select versus what I would do. It’s still very early in the process so I will update this periodically.
Steelers – Carl Lawson OLB Auburn – Here we go again. This will be three out of four years Kevin Colbert tries to solve the pass rush problem with a SEC edge rusher in round one. Lawson has all the tools to be an impact player in the NFL. The issue with him is health concerns from a multitude of injuries in college. Lawson had ACL surgery in 2014, and a hip flexor injury in 2015 that caused him to miss 6 games. It’s a risk that may be worth taking at #30 in the first round.
Me – Christian McCaffrey RB Stanford – I’ve laid out the reasons why I think this is a good idea in an earlier post Christian McCaffrey should be the Steelers 1st round pick, so I wont go through them again here. The reason I wouldn’t go edge rusher here is by the end of the first round the only players left at that position will have significant warts that cause them to fall that far. Lawson (injuries), Tim Williams (off field concerns), Takk McKinley (injuries), etc. I think we’ve learned our lesson on what happens when you reach for a need……see Jarvis Jones.
Steelers – Desmond King CB Iowa – King has been linked to the Steelers in a few places now. His value seems to have dipped over this time last year when he was thought of as a sure fire first round pick. A move to safety has also been discussed for him. He’s on the shorter side at 5’10”, but is a physical player. Seems like everything Pittsburgh covets in a corner.
Me – T. J. Watt OLB Wisconsin – This is the spot the Steelers get their edge rusher. T. J. Watt became a force in his only season as a starter for Wisconsin. He had 15.5 tackles for a loss, with 11.5 sacks on his way to being named all Big 10. Not the most athletic guy, but a smart player with a high motor. Reminds me a little of old friend Mike Vrabel.
Steelers – Davis Webb QB California – Pittsburgh got an extra third round pick for free agent compensation allowing them to gamble here on a project quarterback. At 6’5′” he certainly has the size of an NFL quarterback. Webb should have plenty of time to learn his trade behind Ben Roethlisberger.
Me – Obi Melifonwu S Connecticut – This is a player who may rise right past the third round after the combine, but for now I would love to see the Steelers grab him here. Melifonwu has a great size (6’4″) speed combination teams dream about. There is also some talk of him possibly moving to corner. Either way, he’s a too good athlete to pass up.
Steelers – Dawuane Smoot OLB/DE Illinois – Steelers double down on edge rushers with this pick. Smoot has good size (6’3″ 265), to go along with being a pretty good athlete. His stock could also rise after the combine, but should still be around here for Pittsburgh.
Me – Jake Butt TE Michigan – Here’s where I gamble with the extra third round pick. Butt may have been a first rounder if not for tearing up his knee in Citrus Bowl. He will most likely miss the entire 2017 season. This is perfect draft and stash insurance for Ladarius Green.
Steelers – Kareem Hunt RB Toledo – A nice power/speed running back who can back up Le’veon Bell. Steelers are sure to be in the hunt for a back at some point in the draft. Hunt would be a good fit in Pittsburgh.
Me – Nate Peterman QB Pittsburgh – Steelers don’t have far to look to find a developmental quarterback. He has potential, and will have plenty of time to learn behind Big Ben.