I'll probably update this again in a couple weeks right before the draft. For now, here are some of my thoughts on where the Steelers should go in the draft on April 22nd. As always, comments are appreciated.
Round 1, 18th Overall: Kyle Wilson CB, Boise State
I've been all over the place with this pick, Kyle Wilson, Mike Iupati, Earl Thomas, trade up for Haden, trade up for McClain, trade down for Pouncey, trade down for Odrick. You name it: I've considered it. I've finally decided that Wilson is probably our best option. In a dream scenario, Keenan Lewis would develop into a true #1 corner and we would move Ike to #2 with Willie Gay or Burnett at nickel. However, we cant count on that happening. We need to get a talented corner as soon as possible. Given Ike's contract situation, I dont see us resigning him at the end of next year, so we need to get a CB to replace him. With our young stable of CBs, Wilson will have time to learn the system before being asked to do much, and could hopefully take the #2 job from Gay by the end of the year. Then we could let Ike walk and still have a good group of CBs. The appeal of Iupati is that he could immediately upgrade the only position on offense that needs upgrading, RG. He'd give us a young, talented OL all under contract for at least 3 years and also provides a lot of flexibilty in case of injury. Earl Thomas could eventually replace Ryan Clark, and would be a good ball-hawking complement to Troy. Pouncey would be very similar to Iupati, but at a presumably cheaper price since we would trade down and has more potential to replace Justin Hartwig. Finally, Odrick would be able to pair with Ziggy Hood at DE once Aaron Smith and Brett Keisel are gone. Another factor I thought of with this pick is finances. If you think about it, we're paying 1st round money every position except OL and CB. Given our knack for developing late-round linebackers and D linemen, we can afford to sit tight at those positions with our current 1st round picks there and finally get some 1st round talent at CB.
Round 2, 52nd Overall: Morgan Burnett S, Georgia Tech
Continuing the youth movement in the secondary, I think Burnett is a great pick in round 2. He's a poor man's Earl Thomas. He doesn't have quite the ball-hawking skills, but that is more a testament to how talented Thomas is than Burnett lacking in this area. Burnett would be able to take over for Ryan Clark in a few years while in the meantime providing great depth behind Troy.
Round 3, 82nd Overall: Brandon Spikes LB, Florida
This will probably scare a lot of you who have given up on Spikes. Let's not forget that he was at one time considered a 1st round prospect. Falling to round 3 is nothing short of a miracle for the Steelers since he wouldn't be asked to do much for a while. The knock on Spikes is that he can't cover well, and therefore cant be relied upon in obvious passing situations. Can you say "buck linebacker"? After I read Blitz's article on the 3-4 ILBs i immediately thought of Spikes. Once Farrior retires, Spikes will play buck while Timmons takes over the mack position and the two could form a great tandem for quite some time. Another plus is that he was a great leader for the Gators in college and while he isn't great in coverage, he still made a lot of explosive plays throughout his career.
Round 4, 116th Overall: Zane Beadles OT, Utah
Beadles provides good depth behind Starks and Colon but is also versatile enough to play guard if we need him to. Anything past the 3rd round can't be counted on to start, but Beadles could be a good backup.
Round 5, 152nd Overall: Vince Oghobaase DE,
Again, this is a project player. "Ogho" has prototypical size to play DE in a 3-4 but doesn't have any experience doing so. His mechanics need work and because of that will need a few years to learn the system, but looking at our Dline situation he'll have all the time he needs.
Round 5, 165th Overall: Jimmy Graham TE, Miami
We'll be fortunate if Graham falls this far in the 5th, but he's a converted basketball player who had a good combine. He's still very raw, but has enough potential where we could hope that he develops into a solid #2 TE behind Heath.
Round 5, 167th Overall: Cameron Sheffield OLB, Troy
I've been trying really hard to denounce this notion that we are in desperate need of depth behind Harrison and Woodley. Because if one of them goes down we will just move Timmons outside and have Farrior/Foote/ and now Spikes on the inside. However, with a 5th round comp pick, the risk is low and Sheffield might be able to develop into a solid contributor especially on special teams.
Round 6, 188th Overall: Charles Scott RB, LSU
Scott is nothing more than a goal line back who might be able to help in short yardage situations. He's not very quick but is a good north-south runner who gets to the line of scrimmage quickly and is a hard hitter at the line. He might even be able to convert to FB (as BA shudders in fear).
Round 7, 225th Overall: Stephen Williams WR, Toledo
I'm of the opinion that you can never have too many receivers on the practice squad, because you never know who might be able to piece things together in the right system. Williams is a project WR but has great size (6'4", 210) and has a small chance of developing into the kind of big redzone target that we all wanted Limas Sweed to become.
Round 7, 242nd Overall: Kyle McCarthy S, Notre Dame
This pick is mostly because I'm not a fan of Ryan Mundy at all. McCarthy might be able to supplant him as a backup Safety in a few years.