Wait for it. As usual I need a long introduction to increase the suspense and eliminate the impatient. So here's the background - a few weeks ago Friar Bob from Cincy Jungle asked if anyone wanted to represent the Steelers in their mock draft, and since no one else volunteered I signed on. It was surprisingly stressful to see all of my favorites disappear down the maw of some undeserving team, and when my number came up I was surprisingly nervous about actually committing. Here were the choices made at this point:
1 -- Rams -- Jimmy Clausen
2 -- Lions -- Ndamukong Suh
3 -- Buccaneers -- Gerald McCoy
4 -- Redskins -- Sam Bradford
5 -- Chiefs -- Russell Okung
6 -- Seahawks -- Bryan Bulaga
7 -- Browns -- Eric Berry
8 -- Raiders -- Joe Haden
9 -- Bills -- Tim Tebow
10 -- Jaguars -- Jason Pierre-Paul
11 -- Broncos (from Chicago) -- Rolando McClain
12 -- Dolphins -- Sergio Kindle
13 -- 49ers -- Earl Thomas
14 -- Seahawks (from Denver) -- CJ Spiller
15 -- Giants -- Derrick Morgan
16 -- Titans -- Brandon Graham
17 -- 49ers (from Carolina) -- Mike Iupati
Below the jump is my write-up, and my pick:
There has been a tremendous amount of discussion in Steeler Nation as to how we choose the first round pick. There are those who passionately defend a particular player - Mays, Thomas, Wilson, Spiller, Iupati, McClain, and players even less likely to fall to #18 have all had their fervent partisans. There are those who are arguing for the position itself - do we need to look for ____'s replacement in round 1 this year? The most common names to go in the blank are James Farrior and Ike Taylor, but others have been put forward. Then there are those who argue for shoring up a) our aging defensive line, b) our frequently bested secondary (at least when Troy Polamalu is out), or c) the o-line. There are those who contend that a player that the coaching staff has been developing is ready to step up next season - Joe Burnett/Keenan Lewis in the secondary, Ziggy Hood on the defensive line, and so on. Finally, there are the perennial arguments as to whether you take the BPA at your slot, regardless of whether you actually need that person or not.
The almost unprecedented activity of the franchise in free agency has also changed the picture somewhat, as have the, um, extracurricular activities of a few of our stars players. Although I've never experienced the whole draft circus before, as I am a rookie fan, I get the feeling that things are even more up in the air than usual this season.
The final consideration is my own particular bias, which is to take the BLA (best looking available) player. I have some scientific support for this, as a recent study demonstrated that there is a statistically significant reason to think that the best looking player is typically also in the top class athletically. I put together several mocks based on looks alone and found some pretty solid players that way.
So the players that are left that seem to make the most sense for us at this point are NT Dan Williams, CB Kyle Wilson, and C Maurkice Pouncey. I'm basing my choice on a combination of the factors listed above - the player where positional need and BPA intersect in what seems to me to be the best manner for the team, and thus I'm drafting Kyle Wilson.
Since we just re-signed Casey Hampton, Williams, while tempting, is probably not the greatest need, and Pouncey would be more tempting at a lower pick, but is probably a bit overvalued here. If we had trade options I would have considered trading down for him - on the other hand, I also would have considered trading up for Earl Thomas. But sticking at pick #18, Wilson makes the most sense for us. He offers flexibility on special teams (his punt return average was an impressive 14.2 y/rt, with 3 TDs.) And luckily for me, he is definitely a contender in the BLA category as well, as the second picture amply demonstrates...
Finally, here is a video with some of his punt returns that he took to the house...
Kyle Wilson #1 Punt Returner in the Nation (via justfndoit)