I do not like to mock trades and usually don't but there has been a lot of speculation about a team that is under the cap offering Mike Wallace a front loaded deal so that the Steelers could not match it. I think the Steelers will only give Wallace the first round tender if they can not sign him in time. In this scenario the Patriots have roughly $20 million in cap space and a huge need for a deep threat to complement their TEs and Wes Welker. The Patriots may go after Wallace because he is a better deep threat than any prospect in the draft. This would give the Steelers their 31st pick. Knowing that here is my mock.
Round 1, Pick #24-
Cordy Glenn, OG/OT Georgia
In the past this was Mike Adams, however Adams has been rapidly rising I believe he will go to the Chargers at 18 if they can't re-sign Marcus McNeil or Gaither if not then to Chicago at 19 or Detriot just before the Steelers at 23. The Steelers then have Glenn not only as the BPA and need but, as much as I hate to admit it he fits the mold of offensive linemen that they consistently draft. If I were Colbert, I would already plan to cut Kemoeatu and re-sign both Legursy and Foster. I think the front office is heavily leaning towards moving Gilbert to LT and keeping Colon on the right side. The drafting of Glenn gives a prospect that has all the physical tools to be an All-Pro in the NFL.
Glenn is a monstrous prospect measuring in at the Senior Bowl at 6'5,1/2" 346lbs with 35 1/4" arms and 10" hands. For those of you that don't know average size for an NFL linemen is 33", good size is in the 34" range and great is 35" or more. For hand size 10" is good, 9 1/2 " is average 11" or more is great. Cordy Glenn has played both guard and tackle. I will start with his positives first. Glenn has quick feet for a guard, and powerful hands. He displays good mirror ability in the passing game and his massive frame makes it difficult to lose battles. Glenn is surprisingly athletic and when he played guard was able to pull very well. His power is going to be his greatest attribute. However Glenn has a lot of negatives that would make me hesitant to take him. Glenn is a waist bender rather then a a knee bender. He will play high and pop up out of his stance as soon as the ball is snapped. This will hurt him in the leverage battle. On top of his high play Glenn also is inconsistent and slow out of the line. I say inconsistent because most of the times he is late off the ball but when he pull he has a great quickness. He is athletic enough to get out in front of the RB and maintain the block down field. My final analysis is that Cordy Glenn can be an incredibly elite guard in the NFL, however the only person who can decide that is Glenn himself. He is truly a boom or bust guy. He needs to play motivated and hungry with a desire to punish his opponent.
Round 1, Pick #31-
Dontari Poe, NT Memphis
Having a second first round pick is nice but puts the Steelers in a weird bind. After the Steelers first pick only one other team has a need at NT till they pick again at 31. That team is the Houston Texans. Luckily for the Steelers that Houston has both Arian Foster and Mario Williams as Free Agents and will probably not keep William. The Texans also need a Wr to compliment Johnson and need a saftey. They have a serviceable guy at NT and in my opinion may take Mark Barron but they could end up taking Poe not in this scenario though. Poe is rough but he can come in and start on and be effective. The Steelers will cut Casey Hampton with hopes of signing him back for cheaper but may cut ties to him period. I think it might be best for Poe to split snaps 50/50 with Hampton once health and it would make the Steelers goal-line run defense ridiculously good.
Poe is a 6'5" 350lbs prospect with long arms and amazing strength. Many critics of Poe point out he didn't put up numbers playing against inferior talent. In the highlights I have seen on ESPN he was clearly double teamed and still made plays. He reportedly plays high and doesn't use is hands well but he has a quickness a 350lbs athlete shouldn't move like and he is a good character prospect. NT is a huge hole for the Steelers and this will fill that and give the Steelers the best player available at this spot.
Round 2, Pick #56-
George Iloka, FS Boise State
It is no secret that the Steelers safeties are aging. Polamalu plays physical and has been injury prone and Clark is on the wrong side of thirty years old. Will Allen will be cut and that leave only Ryan Mundy as a backup. The Steelers need depth and more important someone who can be a full time starter. Iloka can come in and play nickle in his rookie year as Troy will move to predator and Farrior will get off the field. Later Iloka can be a starter in this league.
George Iloka weighed in at the Senior Bowl at just under 6'4" 222lbs with 33 1/2" arms. He was able and did line up in the slot and cover receivers. Iloka plays with good balance and has some speed. His footwork is good for someone his size but could improve and because of his built is rough in changing directions. Iloka has good instinct and can play center field if asked to. He can find the ball and attack. Iloka isn't afraid to go in and tackle but he need to improve his tackling as it is poor at times. In todays NFL the TE is being used more and more. Conversely the Steelers do not have a guy who can cover a TE. Polamalu and Timmons are too small and Farrior is too slow. with his frame and coverage ability Iloka can be the guy to cover the TE in the Steelers defense and when he becomes a starter he can center field or play man coverage if asked too.
Round 3, Pick #88-
Ladarius Green TE, La-Layfette
As mentioned above the TE is becoming a huge option in the NFL. The Steelers also need to add size to their receiving corps. Many want this adding size to be with a wide receiver and with Mike Wallace gone in this scenario it could however I do not like the a lot of the Wr in this draft. With losing Wallace the team will also drop Hine Ward but will pick up Jerricho Cotchery. Wes Saunders is a developmental guy but has a four game suspension adn is still very raw.
Green is 6'6" 240lbs and has long arms. Green has quick feet to run route well and is fast for his size running about a mid 4.6 40 yard dash. Green has really strong hands and rarely drops the ball. he is experience being moved in to the slot and will be a match up nightmare in the redzone. Green will struggle in blocking but he is improving. This pick is soley to improve the redzone offense and create mismatches on the defense. Green is a hard working good character prospect, who has a clean history.
Round 4, Pick #120-
Jarius Wright, WR Arkansas
Okay so the Steelers in this scenario lose Mike Wallace and I have already said they will let go of Hines Ward. The Steelers will also release Arnaz Battle because his high cap number and becasue of these moves will need to draft a WR. Since they already got size with Green and Miller I think they will go for a guy who can get deep. Enter Jarius Wright.
Jarius Wright is 5'11" 175lbs which is a bit light but he can fly estimated at a 4.34 40 time. He also is very quick and runs crisp routes. He had 1000 yards receiving and 11TDs in the NCAA best defensive conference. Despite his size he is tough over the middle in his catching. He needs to use his hands better to catch instead of his body. Wright is smart at working man and zone coverage and can fill in a role similar to the role Wallace had in his rookie year. He will need to gain at least 10lbs and still keep his speed but he can be a good role player right away and an insurance policy if Sanders gets injured.
Round 5, Pick #152-
Derek Wolfe, DT Cincinnati
The Steelers have no real backup to both DE positions. This turned out to be a problem in last years playoff game and hurt the rotation. Wolfe is 6'5" 286lbs prospect with long arms. He has the ideal body to play the 3-4 DE. He does an excellent job finding the ball and has a great motor. He can bend well and move if needed. Wolfe however has poor strength and can't jump the gap which limits him to being a two gap 3-4 DE that uses his instincts to play. I have seen people want to take him as high as the second round. I don't know why in a very deep DT draft they would do this. Give Wolfe an NFL lifting schedule and a year or so and he can come in and be a very good rotational player in this defense maybe even the next starter after Keisel is gone. The value is too high on Wolfe to pass up.
Round 6, Pick #184-
Andrew Datko, OT Florida State
The Steelers in this scenario will move Gilbert to LT but they have very little depth there.They could alway re-sign Starks but they won't know where he is at till after the start of the season. Because of this the Steelers take a gamble on Datko. Datko was a first round prospect at the beginning of this year. He has good feet and quickness and could be an NFL LT. He is 6'6" 321lbs which is the size the Steelers like. However last year he played through a serious shoulder injury. Datko was already considered a prospect who needed to improve his strength and run blocking. If he is medically clears I' take him. He could sit a year as a back up, gain strength and possibly become a starter in time. He is the only prospect after Mike Adams with the athleticism and the feet to play LT in the NFL. For a six round pick the Steeler could get a guy that could be a good FL LT or a very good backup. I'd pull the trigger if he got the medical clearance.
Round 7, Pick #216-
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. He isn't getting his name thrown around like Blair Walsh or Carson Wiggs so he will be here when the draft comes. I'd take him and be confident in a guy who can hit the ball through the uprights on a 60 yard FG.
So there you have it. In this scenario the Steelers lose Mike Wallace which could hurt however in exchange they get some talent. They get Glenn who could become a All-Pro OG if he is willing to give it his all an fix his issues. They get Poe who gives needed depth and youth at NT. They get Iloka who could start at FS in a year. They get Green who will be a huge target in the redzone and Haley has doen well using TE in his system. They get Wright who can contribute as being a deep threat. They get Wolf who could become a starter if not a solid rotational DE. They take a risk on Datko and could get an NFL LT in the 6th and they get a kicker with a huge leg. Sounds like a win to me. Let me know what you all think of this.