So here is my Steelers Mock Draft.
First a few notes and assumptions:
1. Willie Colon leaves via FA
2. Ike Taylor resigns
3. I used the NFL Draft Value Chart from Walter Football to value draft spots
4. Draft rounds were also taken from the projections on Walter Football
5. Phil Taylor and Mike Pouncey are off the board by pick #31
Round #1 pick 31 trade to San Diego for Round #2 Pick #50 and round #3 Pick #82.
SD has 5 picks in the first 90. Doubt they want to pay 5 to 90 picks even with a rookie wage scale so they may be looking to move up to get fewer higher picks. Also much like the Steelers these picks may make the team but probably won't be starters right away so again paying high draft picks to sit isn't financially sound business. However a first rounder even at #31 could start.
Round #2 Pick 50 - Marcus Cannon - OG TCU
He has been mocked to the Steelers in round 2 on many sites for quite some time and I really like him kicking inside to OG (don't think he can play RT and even if he could would probably be better at OG). However with his showing at the combine plus the dirth of guard talent I think he will move up into mid 2nd round range. Plus he could help whomever ends up playing RT this year like having Pouncey at center helped the whole line.
Round #2 Pick 63 - Ras-I Dowling - CB Virginia
I put Ras-I here but this could be any of 3 or 4 CB depending on who falls to us. After Brandon Harris(who at 5'10" and 191 lbs is too small for what the Steelers expect their CB to do) I think there is a gap down to the next group of CB who I feel will all go in the mid to late 2nd round. I am hoping that due to his injury history he will be the one to fall inspite of his 4.4 40 at the combine.
Round #3 Pick 82 - Lawrence Guy - DT/DE Arizona State
Currently listed at DT but would be a better 5 technique DE. Has ideal size to play the position and is strong as an ox to hold position and stuff the run. Will need a few years of grooming a-la Ziggy but could be a starter down the road and right now provides depth and competition for RaShon Harris. Needs to make the team because would probably be snatched off the practice squad mid-season like T. Gibson this year (pissed me off).
Round #3 Pick 95 - Marcus Gilbert - OT Florida
Massive OT who can start at RT next to Marcus Gilbert from Day 1 or learn for a year if need be. Started at RT for Florida (protected Tim Tebow blindside) and faced some of the best players while playing in the SEC. Very strong player who can start for years to come. Gives us 3 OL to play together for the next 10 years and if you count Kemo then we have 80% of our line in place for at least 5-7 years.
Round #4 Pick 127 - DaVon House - CB New Mexico State
Another CB with good size (6'1" 200 lbs) and speed (4.44 40). However some teams may worry about lack of competition playing at NMS which is valid therefore he may need a year on the PS before he can make the team. However I feel that would be acceptable with us getting a CB in round 2 and having other young CB on the bench ready to step in and play (hopefully).
Round #5 Pick 159 - Robert Sands - FS WVU
Big strong FS who can learn from Clark this year and step in and start in 2012 or 13. Plus gives us added depth as Troy and Ryan age gracefully. Maybe they won't have to play as many minutes so they will be fresher for the playoffs.
Round #6 Pick 191 - DaNorris Searcy - SS North Carolina
Rounding out our revamping of the secondary we pick up a SS to learn and sit on the practice squad for 2 or 3 years until Troy loses a step or 2. One plus is that in a biography of his I read he says one of his favorite teams growing up was the Steelers. I like the idea of getting somebody who considers the Steelers one of their favorite teams. Maybe this will give him the extra drive to excell here as opposed to somebody whos favorite team is the Cowgirls (just threw up a little in my mouth).
Round #7 Pick 223 - Steven Friday - DE/OLB Virginia Tech
Somebody who is flying under the radar right now our man Friday could develop into another excellent pass rushing LB. Has the size (6'4" 252 lbs) to be an excellent run stuffer and still ran a 4.66. Not sure why he is listed as a late round pick but getting him in the 7th round would be excellent value in my opinion. Can't find any "dirt" on him to indicate a troublemaker so I say jump on him. PS him for a year or let him play ST. Would be a cheaper backup than we have now and we could use the saving on Woodley and Taylor.
Well there it is my opinion on what the Steelers should do this April. The only real issue I have is Sands falling to us late in Round 5. If he isn't there I would just push everybody up one round as I feel strongly about the 6th and 7th round picks and take a flyer on DeAndre Brown WR from Southern Mississippi. He has 1-2 round talent/size/speed but FA brains and attitude. But as I said taking a flyer on a 6'6" 233 lbs WR with the next to last pick (God that sucks we should be getting Mr Irrelavant) is worth the gamble.
I didn't pick a kicker as I take the approach that they aren't worth a draft pick unless you have every other need filled and excellent depth at all positions. Right now the Steelers cannot make that claim. I would make a FA offer to Dan Hutchins the Pitt kicker who just graduated. He has kicked in Heinz Field for 4 years now so he should know the winds and such. Plus he is another PA kid who hopefully wants to play for the Steelers.
Any thoughful opinions would be greatly appreciated.