Ah yes, El Mock Magnifico is finally here, with 2 weeks to go til the draft. One messican’s attempt to foretell the events to unfold in the upcoming 2011 draft. Much consultation with the Aztec God’s took place (as well as from the gut). And even though my last year's mock did not hit on any of the draft picks, this year's version will be different.
El mock as always represents a realistic view as to who will be available when the Steelers make their pick, using the help of sites such as CBS sportsline and ESPN. Sure I could pick Pouncey in the 1st and Dowling in the 2nd, but come on now. A high emphasis is placed on individuals who represent the Steeler tradition (smart, tough-minded, hard-nosed, high effort characteristics). No trades are taken into account.
So without further pomp and circumcision, I give you El Mock Magnifico….
1st Round – Danny Watkins, OG, Baylor, 6’-3", 310 lbs
I can already hear the boos and roar in Steeler nation. It’s as if the Eagles had selected Donovan McNabb all over again. But before you say "Damn messican, what you smoking?", hear me out. The ONLY, and I mean ONLY, thing I hear people saying negative about Danny boy is his age. (He’s 26 and turns 27 in November). So he’s 4 years older than the average senior coming out? We’ll talk later about this, but first his UPSIDE.
Watkins will simply be the smartest pick available at #31. Gone are Jimmy Smith, Derek Sherrod, Nate Solder, and Muhammad Wilkerson. Available still are Aaron Williams, Cameron Heyward, and Martez Wilson. Williams is 2nd on my list and I think he MIGHT become a good FS for the Steelers. But he’s a PROJECTION at safety. And when would he start contributing? Year 2, 3? In the end, I found Watkins too good to pass up.
Watkins has ALL the Steeler attributes we look for and brings a unique athleticism to the position. He did not play high school football, he played hockey and rugby in Canada. Instead of college he spent 4 years as a fire fighter, where he lost his 2 front teeth. (No front teeth?! Remember the last guy we drafted with no front teeth?) He’s been playing football for only 4 years, but yet mastered the LT position at Baylor (that means he’s a quick learner). Tough, physical, strong, high effort, uniquely athletic, and described as "gregarious", this guy will be a starter at RG from DAY 1 and will pay immediate dividends. Has a lot of position flexibility that Tomlin loves and could play either guard position or RT. His athleticism gives Kruger and Arians all kinds of options. Watkins, Pouncey, and Kemo would make for one FORMIDABLE interior line. Just look at the guy, how can you say he’s not ALL Steeler?
So he’s 26. That just means the POSSIBILITY of him playing 12 years for us is reduced to say 8. I say possibility, because it is NOT a given that young rookies will eventually play 12 years with us. They may end up leaving after his rookie contract in search of bigger payday, like Burress or Santonio (he was leaving if he didn’t get traded anyway). Others get their career cut short by injury (Kendall Simmons).
More importantly, this guy starts NOW (just how Rooney mandated several years ago from his rookies) and contributes to the team while Ben is still in his PRIME. We have a super bowl championship window over these next 5-6 years, and Watkins gives us the best chance to bring home the Lombardi.
One minor upside for the Steelers on the age issue is that the Steelers avoid the monster 2nd contract. After Watkins’ rookie contract, he will be +30 and won’t be in as good a bargaining position. Sure I’d like it better if he was 22, but that is why he falls to us at #31. Steelers would never draft a guy his age in the 1st round? Just because they haven’t’ in the past, doesn’t mean they won’t. It was also said several years back that a 6th seed never has won the Super Bowl. Click here for a good argument if Danny is too old for us to draft.
A lot of mocks show Watkins going in the 1st round, so this messican is not totally loco here. My biggest fear is that New England snatches him up before us, as they know the value of tough, smart, disciplined guys.
2nd Round – Brandon Burton, CB, Utah, 6’-0", 190 lbs
Gone are CB’s A. Williams, Curtis Brown, Harris, House, the all popular Dowling, and FS Rahim Moore. Burton would be a solid fit with the Steelers as his good size, speed, and feet would improve the coverage problems in the secondary. He’s the son of an engineer and doctor. He’s smart and was a vocal leader on his team. He’s got some technique issues and was not as productive as he should be, but the hope is that with proper coaching he should be a solid contributor in his sophomore season. I think he'll be a great fit in our zone blitz scheme. Maybe he’s smart enough to learn LeBeau’s system quickly to contribute as a rookie.
Steelers have shown an interest in Burton, as they met with him at the combine. I'm worried too that the damn Patsies snag him before we do, as he also fits their profile.
3rd Round – Lawrence Guy, DT, Arizona St., 6’-4", 305 lbs.
Has excellent size and toughness. He’s got a lot of physical tools, but is still technically raw. A guy with a lot of upside, but like most D-lineman we draft, NOT a starter from day 1. He’ll need a lot of work, but with Smith, Keisel, and Ziggy in front of him, we have time. Could turn out to be special in a few years, a guy who could do some damage in the trenches. Has been diagnosed with dyslexia, ADD, and maturity issues, but he’s comes a long way to improve on those areas. With the depth of DL’s in this draft, Guy should be there at the bottom of the 3rd and well worth the pick.
4th Round – Austin Pettis, WR, Boise St., 6’-3", 205 lbs.
Dude is a TD machine, catching 39 in college. Uses his big body well, excels in traffic, and has huge strong hands. Will be a red zone demon. Not a burner and needs work on his route running, which is why he falls to us in the 4th. Think of him as the anti-Limas. Hard for him to get open, but the dude will catch everything in sight, especially in traffic. Would help BIGTIME with our red zone issues and fits nicely as a counter to Wallace. Pettis was one of the guys that the Steelers brought in, so there is definitely interest there.
5th Round – Chris Culliver, FS, South Carolina, 6’-0", 200 lbs
Really big on this guy as a late round gem. Culliver has good size, good instincts as a safety, and ran a 4.36. He switched to corner last year and did OK. Gives Carnell a lot of tools to work with. If he can mold this guy into shape, with THAT speed, it could be scary. I also like Chris Conte who is a bit more polished, and if he is available here, he should be considered as well, but I think he’s gone by now.
6th Round – Mario Harvey, LB, Marshall, 5’-11", 250 lbs
This aggressive, energetic, play-making linebacker was nicknamed "THUMPER". But what really got everybody’s attention was his 4.46 forty time. The Steelers are supposedly bringing him in for a visit. Just hope he is there this late, as his stock could be skyrocketing.
7th Round – Zac Lee, QB, Nebraska,
This one is my special gift to Momma Rollet. Enjoy.
So in summary, this is what El Mock Magnifico gives us.....
Stud OL that will start Day 1 and solidify the interior through Ben's prime.
Solid corner who may contribute as a rookie and should develop into a starter.
Gifted DL who will replace Kiesel in a few years.
Red zone target who will get us 6, where we typically settle for 3.
An athletic safety with sub 4.4 speed.
One thumper of an LB at 250 lbs and 4.4 speed.
Stud muffin for Momma.
And no DAMN KICKER. (Sorry but seeing him in every steeler mock drives me loco).
Yes, the Aztec gods have done well. Stay thirsty my friends.