Round 1, Pick #24-
Okay so the NFL Combine has come and gone. It is now time for these mock draft to start to mirror what the Steelers organization is likely to due. Prior to this my mocks were more my opinion and being used as an introduction to more unknown players. This mock will note the round, pick number and reasoning behind the pick from a roster prospective. In some cases I will also state why this prospect was chosen or available based on how I see the draft going. So with out further delay here it goes...
Dontari Poe, DT Memphis-
For starters I will address why Poe is available at #24. I have seen him mocked at #9 overall to Carolina but I see Carolina taking Quinton Coples or Michael Brockers if they want to bolster their defensive line. Bockers had a poor combine but has the tape and his 35" arms are impressive. Kansas City needs a NT at #11 but with $32 million dollars in cap room they have the ability to go out and get a Free Agent. Also keep in mind that Haloti Ngata who was much more polished went at #12. Scott Piloli is no stranger to doing this and I see him going after either Sione Pouha or Paul Soliai to help this position. That leaves them to upgrade their line with either Johnathan Martin or David DeCastro.They do worry me because this is the same team that took a 5 tech DE number 3 overall. San Diego needs a lot but with rumors that their Pro Bowl OG may retire I see them going after Cordy Glenn at #18. Cincinnati at #21 may use their pick on a DT but they would but rather go with Fletcher Cox. Cox was quicker, has the body type to put on more weight and has 34 1/2" arms.
That leaves Dontari Poe to the Steelers, a prospect I have mocked to the Steelers in the first in 4 of my 6 previous mocks. Poe is massive measuring in at 6' 3 5/8" 346lbs. His arms were short at 32" but the Steelers do not shy from this for NT (see Casey Hampton). Poe blew up the combine running the 40 in an amazing 4.98 seconds with a 1.78 10 yard split. He bench 225lbs 44 times, and displayed good burst and natural lateral ability in the drills. I also saw some film on Poe. He does play high and doesn't use his hands well. He displays the ability to fight the double team and push the pocket. However he doesn't display the ability to disengage you would like in a 4-3 DT. He has a strong motor and a desire to be great. He is raw but with Hampton likely to be cut or start the season on the PUP I would argue that this is not only the BPA but also the biggest need for the Steelers. There has been a lot of comparisons of Poe to Haloti Ngata. The fact is Poe isn't Haloti Ngata yet but has potential to be that good. I see him at worst being just a run stuffer in the NFL but at best he could be a great 3-4 NT that doesn't come off the field a lot like a Haloti Ngata. Give Poe the full off-season and I think he has the drive to get into the rotation early. This along with the picks of Heyward and Hood should ensures the Steelers D-line is dominant for years to come.
Player Comparison: Haloti Ngata, DT Baltimore Ravens
Round 2, Pick 56-
Amini Silatolu, OG Midwestern State-
Ideally this would be Kevin Zeilter, but with him practicing at center and Brandon Washington showing poorer balance at the combine Zeilter moved up. On my new rankings Zeilter is the #2 Guard behind DeCastro. Silatolu is now the third best gaurd by his combine performance.
Silatolu weighed in at the combine at at just under 6'4" 311lbs with 33" arms and 10 1/8" hands. He benched 225lbs 28 times had a good 10 yard split on his 40 yard dash. Silatolu looked balanced and displayed quick feet in the mirror drill and other on field drills. Combine that with the tape I have seen on Silatolu and you have a very good guard prospect. He is raw with his hand usage and plays high but he is a mauler who wants to finish his blocks. He is quick enough to pull and get out on screens. He is very good at pass blocking and has a strong lower body. Not many Division II prospect are considered second round picks but Silatolu has potential to be the best or second best guard in the draft. He need to polish his play but he will be good. With this pick the Steelers can replace Kemoeatu.
Round 3, Pick #88-
Mychal Kedricks, ILB California-
The Steelers have a need to get younger and quicker at ILB. Kendricks can do that. He is just over 5'11" 240lbs, he showed he is a great straight line athlete running a 4.47 40 yard dash the best of any LB. He also showed he is a great burst athlete with a 39" vertical and a 10'7" broad jump. He was a work out warrior, but when putting on the tape Kendricks displays skill. His speed is evident as he plays fast and with a non-stop motor. He diagnoses plays quickly and uses his eyes well. He is not fooled on play fakes. Kendricks maneuvers threw the trash at the line of scrimmage to find the ball. He takes great angles. What Kendricks needs to work on is his anchor ability. He can get washed and block out of plays when going one-on-one with a linemen. He doesn't disengage easily either. Kendricks has starting experience in a professional style 3-4 defense as an OLB and ILB. while I have been critical of Mario Harvey because his size, I don't see much of a problem with Kendricks. Unlike Harvey, Kendricks has great instincts and can see the entire field despite his size. While his height may hinder him at first this guy has the motor and instincts to play ILB at a high level. His tape reminds me of London Fletcher. He will need his front three to keep him clean but if that happen he can be special. At worst he will be a stud on special teams.
Player Comparison: London Fletcher, ILB Washington Redskins
Round 4, Pick #120-
Brandon Brooks, OG Miami (Ohio)-
Brooks weighed in at the 6'4 1/2" 353lbs with 33" arms and 10" hands. He had an amazing East-West Shrine game but was not invited to the combine. In my new ranking of the OG this year he is my sixth rated guard prospect. He is a big powerful prospect that excels in drive blocking. He is quicker than his frame would indicate and can control his opponent because of size and strength. Brooks however has slow feet. This hinders him at times. Also in his game film he immediately pops straight up out of his stance. He doesn't always keep his feet moving and only really seem dominant in when drive blocking. This kid has some enticing skills and could develop in to a very good guard in the league. He has the size but need more active feet and better technique. Could stand to get to the low 340lbs.
Round 5, Pick #152-
Kelcie McCray, SS Arkansas State-
Kelcie McCray is a prospect that helped himself at the combine. He is a former high school QB who ran 4.54 40 yard dash. He is 6'2" 202lbs with 32 1/4" arms which are good for a DB. He make pre snap read very well because of his QB back ground. McCray is a very physical player and is a very good tackler. He is good in intermediate zones and can play man because of his size. He has natural hips and good backpedal. He stays in his back pedal too long and has some pre-snap an post snap footwork issues. He needs to do better in feel the route behind him but has the ability to center field as well as play near the line of scrimmage. Need to gain about another 7lbs because he is thin. He is a good developmental saftey with the ability to read route and could be a starter in the future.
Round 6, Pick #184-
Justin Bethel, CB Presbyterian-
Bethel was a guy I admit I hadn't heard of prior to the combine. He was a 6' 200lbs prospect who ran a 4.58 40 yard dash, and has 32 3/8" arms. On the on field drills he looked very smooth in every drill so I decided to check out what has been said of him and any tape. Many claim he is a smart kid. He played both safety and corner at his college. He had four interception in 5 games this season and looked good at the East West Shrine game when I went back an watch him. Can play in man and zone. His level of competition was in question but he has a consensus of a player who is on the verge of becoming very good. He could be a good special teams guy with potential to be more. I think the Steelers will have to let William Gay leave in Free Agency and they will need a body for special teams. Mayock raved about his ability to redirect receivers and understand routes.
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.
There you go this is my seventh mock draft. Let me know what you like and hate about it. I apologize for the short analysis but this week I was fairly busy.