Because we have a long week I figured I would put a pretty comprehensive draft piece together. This won't just specifically be Steelers prospects but it will be focused on Steelers targets. However, there are some guys I LOVE that I have to mention here.
David DeCastro, OG, Stanford: DeCastro is by far the top draft eligible OG and would be a perfect fit in the Steelers scheme as a power LG with the ability to pull. However, unlike Chris Kemoautu, he does not commit stupid penalties and he is an above average pass blocker. I am hoping he has a fall on draft day like many guards do and gets within range of a Steelers trade up.
Mohammed Sanu, WR, Rutgers: Sanu has been the best WR in college football this year, and its not even close. The man broke Larry Fitzgerald's reception record and should have been the Big East Offensive Player of the Year. He is probably not going to be on the Steelers radar (even if Hines Ward does retire) but he is going to be one of my favorite players in the NFL as long as he does not land on the Ravens.
See the rest of my favorites after the jump
Morris Claiborne, CB, LSU: Claiborne has been the best cover corner in college football this year and has routinely locked down his WRs and also has made some huge INTs. He is a big hitter and excels in man coverage. However, he is a likely top 10 pick and way out of the Steelers range.
Chase Minnifield, CB, Virginia: Minnifield has flown under the radar this year but yet again, he is having a great year. He is the top draft eligible zone corner and makes great reads on the ball. He is a great fit in the Steelers scheme but due to the resurgence of Keenan Lewis and William Gay, the Steelers won't be in the market for a first round corner.
Kevin Zeitler, OG, Wisconsin: Zeitler is a better pass blocker than DeCastro but a slightly worse run blocker. In our pass happy offense, he might be the better fit. If we can land him at the end of the first round, I would love to get him and put him at RG and keep Legursky at LG.
Mark Barron, SS, Alabama: Barron is so much better than every other draft eligible safety and its not even close. He has awesome instincts, is a huge hitter, and can lineup with WRs in man to man defense. He is my first choice for our first round pick if he is available. He can play ST for a year, then replace Clark at FS, and eventually replace Troy at SS.
Manti Teo, ILB, Notre Dame: Teo is the 2nd best ILB in the draft (behind Keuchly). He is a perfect fit in our 3-4 defense and pairing him with Timmons would instantly become a top tandem in the league. However, he will almost definitely be a top 20 draft pick.
Cordy Glenn, OG, Georgia: Glenn is a mauler in the run game and an average pass protector. He is basically Chris Kemoatu minus the dumb penalties and plus a slight upgrade in pass protection.
Donta Hightower, ILB, Alabama: Hightower will likely be an early 2nd round prospect which means we would probably have to spend a first round draft pick on him (which I am not opposed to). He is a thumper and excels as a blitzer and as a run stopper. Pairing his abilities with Timmons ability as a covering ILB would be a dream.
Dwayne Allen, TE, Clemson: Allen is a physical freak and excels as a pass catcher. He is far and away the best TE in the draft and could rise into the first round with a good Combine. He is definitely not a Steelers target but he will be a player to watch once he gets here. He could have a Rob Gronkowski type impact in a couple of years.
Stephen Gilmore, CB, South Carolina: Gilmore is a great man corner and could have been a first round pick if not for an injury. He is a great tackler and a good blitzer off the edge but will likely not be on the Steelers radar due to our great play at corner.
Josh Chapman, NT, Alabama: Chapman is my favorite NT (over Ta'amu) because he will not cost us a first round draft pick. He is a 2 down NT with some ability as a pass rusher. He is awesome at the point of attack and comes from a 3-4 defense (Alabama) which means the learning curve will be small for him.
David Wilson, RB, Virginia Tech: Wilson is a big play threat with great shiftiness and explosiveness. He has great vision, a nice stiff arm, and an awesome first cut.
Montee Ball, RB, Wisconsin: I don't care if we don't need an RB, I want this man. He defines Steelers football. He will probably run in the 4.5's which is average but he has phenomenal vision, a great stiff arm, and a will to get the extra yards. If we don't think we want to resign Mendenhall in 2013, drafting Ball might make sense here.
Bernard Pierce, RB, Temple: Talk about a physical running back. This man loves to run people over and has great vision as well. His stiff arm is viscous and his pass blocking is stellar.
Ryan Broyles, WR, Oklahoma - Broyles came into the season as a fringe 1st round prospect but injury and a slightly disappointing season has caused Broyles stock to drop. However, if a team can land him in the third round, they could be getting a huge steal.
Tank Carder, ILB, TCU - Carder is a very good ILB that can make all the plays but is flying way under the radar right now. If the Steelers fail to address the ILB need in the first two rounds, Carder is the best of the next bunch of ILBs that could be had in rounds 3 to rounds 5.
Robert Lester, FS, Alabama - Lester has quietly put together an awesome year and could see his stock rise into the 2nd round come combine time. However, as of know he is one of my favorite 3rd round prospects and one I would love to see the Steelers land.
That is all I have for now. But I leave you with this question: What would be your dream first three rounds for this years draft?
Here is mine:
Round 1: David DeCastro, OG, Stanford
Round 2: Donta Hightower, ILB, Alabama
Round 3: Robert Lester, FS, Alabama