Round #1, Pick #24-
Okay so I usually don't do two mock drafts in a week because I usually don't have the time to. Today I had a couple of tests that I finished early so I had some free time to write another one between classes while down in Arizona States library. (yes I am mocking that...) My last mock draft had the Steelers doing something unexpected taking a RB in the second round. This mock draft again may not be the first thought but I will do my best to explain my reasoning and keep all the scenarios plausible. As always comment on what you like and what you don't like. However please do not just say "I don't like this" or "If this happened I would be pissed". Elaborate on your statement. Take a couple of seconds to engage your cognitive faculties, gather them and form a precise coherent sentence. This will hopefully help in the discussion.
Mike Adams, OT Ohio State University
Again because this is not in the common mocks for the Steelers I will explain my thought process. The Steelers have struggled with having a true quality LT. Usually they take their very good RT and move him to the left side to fill a hole. Such was the case with Max Starks. Well Starks was embarrassed against rookie Aldon Smith of the 49ers on Monday Night Football. This proved to me that he is not good enough to be a solid LT in the NFL. This doesn't even count the fact that Starks injured his ACL in what would be the final game of the year for the Steelers. Starks won't be back as a starter, he will probably be 400lbs or more and will need to get in shape before he gets a roster call. Then there is Johnathan Scott. Scott is horrid as a starter and barely manageable as a back up. When you add that to the fact that he is set to make $2.7 million this year that leads him to being cut saving $2.2 million for the 2012 cap. So that leaves the Steelers who are already thin at OT even worse off. This means they will need an OT somewhere in the draft. This brings me back to Mike Adams.
Mike Adams is a very good LT prospect in this years draft. In fact he may also be the last starter caliber LT that the Steelers could find in the weak OT draft class. At 6'7" 324lbs he fits the Steelers' mold for an OT. However unlike most OTs that fit this mold Adams is a very good pass blocking tackle. He has long arms and very quick feet. Adams is patient and understand how to drive the speed rush up field. I watch every snap of his in the Senior Bowl twice since posting my last draft and he shut down both Melvin Ingram and Courtney Upshaw. Those two are considered the elite pass rushers in this draft. Adams needs to work on his run blocking. He plays high and is inconsistent with his hands. He could also use more work on his lower body strength. What Adams really needs to work on is his balance. He can get him self out of balance at times and can stop his feet after contact. In my opinion Adams has better potential than Martin out of Standford with decent technique. It is because his ceiling though I think Adams could be a dominant LT in the league and is the number three OT in this draft. He is gong to drop because of character concerns. In 2009 he was charge with possession of drug paraphernalia but it was dropped. This could be concerning. In 2011 he was suspended for selling memorabilia and receiving benefits of up to $1000 dollars. Not as big of a deal as teams could understand college kids need money. I know I can use some.
Round 2, Pick #56-
Alameda Ta'amu, DT Washington University-
There is no denying that the Steelers will need to add a player that can play NT. In my opinion I think the Steelers cut Casey Hampton which saves roughly $5.6 million With the intention to resign him when healthy to a two or three year contract at a 2012 cap hit of $2.5-3million. Net savings of $2.6 million. So the Steelers are going to need to have someone to play NT. In my opinion Ziggy Hood can play the NT position in the nickle package or third and obvious passing and that moves Heyward to the LE giving a better pass rush from the front three. The Steelers will still need someone. That brings me to Ta'amu.
Alameda Ta'amu is a 6'3" 337lbs DT. He has very nice power in both the lower and upper body. He plays with a very nice base and is very difficult to move off the ball in the run game. Ta'amu real strength is is quickness and burst off the line. If you watch him move he moves like a guy who is under 300lbs. He gets into his opponent fast and does have a pass rush move or two. He is fast enough to stunt and can two gap.Ta'amu was a preseason first round draft pick. He slipped because of his inability to play low especially through contact. His high play prevents him form driving back his opponent even though he is quicker off the line. Ta'amu can also use his hands better in contact and make sure he gets his hands in his opponent chest plate, extends the arms and drive the opponent back. All of this while looking in the back field. Ta'amu also has average arm length. They aren't A.Q. Shippleys T-rex arms or even Legursky's but hey are not ideal for an NFL defensive linemen. He is rough but Ta'amu can be a very solid nT in the NFL with polishing. With Joosh Chapman under going ACL surgery Ta'amu stock will rise based soley on the limited amount of NT prospects there are in the draft.
Round #5, Pick #152-
Jacquies Smith, DE/OLB Missouri-
If you were like me this season left you with two big statements. The first was that the "Steelers offensive line held back the potential of this offense greatly" that was addressed early. The second was for me that "I don't ever want to see Lawrence Timmons playing the 3-4 OLB again!". Chris Carter left the year on IR and because of his size is not suited for the 3-4 LOLB. Jason Worilds hasn't yet shown "it" yet.
Smith is the former teammate of Aldon Smith. They are not related as a side note. Smith is 6'2" 255lbs. Smith is a really troubling prospect to measure. He is a great hard working player who is mature and works in the weight room. He can attack the block in the run game and can find the ball in traffic. What is bothersome is his get off. At times he looks like he has an elite quickness off the line. Other times he looks like the slowest person off the line. Smith also doesn't use his hand well to rip under the tackle. That is one of his real problems and a big one when talking about consistently entering the trenches. Jacquies is a good tackler and a leader as well. I will be watching him in the combine because I want to see if he has the quickness. if he does he could be a very quality back up a LOLB if not a future starter for Harrison. It will all depend on the consistency of his first step.
Round #6, Pick #184-
Greg Zuerlein K, Missouri Western State-
Zuerlein hit an amazing 23 of his 24 FG attempts. That includes 21 straight while nine of those 21 were from 50+ yards. He has amazing range and accuracy. In the East-West Shrine game he hit a 35 yarder that sailed over the up-rights. He did a nice job on an on-side kick and kick a kickoff that landed 8 yards deep. Not only did it land that deep but when it got to the return man it had so much air that the return team was already at the 25 yard line. From 2007-2011 he was 59 of 74 with a career FG% of 79.73%. He season longs were 43 in 2007, 48 in 2008, 53 in 2009 and 58 in 2011 which he did twice in the same game. Did I mention that in the game where he kicked 2 from 58 yards it was his first full week back from injury and he said he wasn't 100%. He said his range is about 65 yards. He has a monster leg here is a video link to under the up-rights when he kicked his 58 yarder,http://youtu.be/8WZWsyoGGic .You can clearly see it could have been good from much farther away. He had a hip issue in 2010 but looked good in 2011 and I don't want to miss him so i take him here.
Round #7, Pick #216-
Bradie Ewing, FB Wisconsin-
The Steelers goal line offense was horrible this year and has been bad for a couple of years now. I think a FB may actually be on the horizon for this offense. Ewing is a good FB who will attack the hole. He has some athleticism and can make plays out of the back field though not asked to in Wisconsin's offense. He is great at pass blocking as well. Ewing can also run the ball in short situations. Ewing is 6' 241lbs and can handle NFL LBs. He is a solid hard working, blue chip player and could help get Mendenhall's and Redman's number up. With a full back this team can become a more efficient running team and more balanced in general. It may not happen but that is why I chose it as the seventh round pick.
So there is this version of the draft. This one is obviously highly focused on both lines.I chose this because of the major lack of talent and depth this years draft has in the skill position. We all know however not everyone lives up to there potential and I am looking into other possibilities. These include taking Dontari Poe in the 1st Round, Bobbie Massie in the 2nd ( I know nothing about him but he fit Steelers mold so I am trying to find out) instead of this order. They also include the possibility of taking George Iloka or Markelle Martin in the second or third, but that's for future speculation.