Round 1, Pick #27-
This is going to be my eighth mock draft. This is also going to be the first mock draft where I incorporate a trade for the Steelers. Some prospects the Steelers will have interest in are Cordy Glenn, Dontari Poe and Donta Hightower. Since the first two will be off the board and not many teams behind the Steelers need a 3-4 ILB they will explore the possibilities of trading down. They find their partner in the New England Patriots. The Patriots trade up to jump in front of Houston to grab Stephen Hill, the 6'4" 215lbs WR from GT who ran a 4.36 forty at the combine and looked good in routes during positional drills. They will trade their 24th pick and 88th pick for the Patriots 27th pick and 63rd pick.
Donta Hightower, ILB Alabama-
HIghtower is now becoming the common first round pick for the Steelers. The Steelers in this mock understand that the Broncos do not need a 3-4 ILB neither do the Texans but they need to get him before the Ravens pick . The Patriots will want a big fast WR to help their offense and they have two first round picks and two second round picks. It would kill them if they could get the WR they need keep their other first round pick to address another need and gain another third round pick. Back on Hightower though. Hightower is a a banger with great instincts and strength. He looked better than I thought in his Pro Day and in the Combine in movement drills. He will complement Timmons well. I have some concerns about his speed but the 6'2" 265lbs Hightower clearly fills the need and is smart enough to start day one. He is a great run stuffer and smart in zone coverage. He lack the quick twitch muscle make him only a solid ILB not elite. Hightower is a great tackler and aleader on the Crimson Tide. With the 27th pick he is just the type of solid starter that the Steelers like.
Round 2, Pick 56-
Alemeda Ta'amu, NT Washington-
Ideally Ta'amu could have been taken with the 59th pick however with the Houston Texans needing a 3-4 NT as well the Steelers must take him with this pick. Ta'amu is a 6'3" 343 monster of a run stuffer. He has a very quick get off and is very strong. While he doesn't have the monstrous upside Dontari Poe does he will be a very good NT in the NFL. He has had some weight concerns and with his gain of weight leading to the combine this might be a concern. Ta'amu can explode off the ball on the snap and eat up double teams. He can pay the 3-4 NT or the 1 technique in the 4-3 shooting the gap. Ideally Ta'amu should be effective in getting Hamptin some rest while keeping Timmons, Hightower and Foote clean.
Round 2, Pick #63-
Amini Silatolu, OG Midwestern State-
The 6'4" 311lbs Silatolu is a very interesting prospect from a Division II Midwestern. He has great athleticism for his size, good power and a very good nastiness to his play. He can effectively get out in from of the screen pass and shows the athleticism to pull.Yes there are questions about the level of competion and when Kevin Colbert was asked about Silatolu he said this
"Any small-school guy, they have to prove they can do it at the next level because we can't see them. They're missing a step along the way. The further down you go in college football - Division III, II, I - the harder it is to prove you're worthy of NFL competition because you're not at that level as you're preparing for the next step."
I don't know but it sounds to me like Colbert is a little impressed that someone form such a small school is being talked about so high. He is going to be a very good guard in the NFL mark my words.
Round 4, Pick #120-
Brandon Taylor, SS Louisiana State University-
Taylor is 5'11" 209lbs safety from LSU. He is a former cornerback in high school and you can tell fromthe film and in the combine drills. He has good feet in his drops and good athleticism to run side line to side line. Taylor is a decent tackler and is not afraid to put his head down and make a hit. He can play the slot in the nickel or deep. He is also good at playing in the box. Taylor has good enough ball skills to play FS and has the mentality to be a SS. Either way he can help the Steelers add to their depth. Being form LSU might also help him with chemistry with Ryan Clark.
Round 5, Pick #152-
Justin Bethel, CB Presbyterian-
So when watching the Combine I noticed this CB prospect long built with very good footwork in every drill he ran. I had heard of this prospect so I went to look up more. Turns out this 6' 200lbs prospect out of Presbyterian has been very good for his school. Her ran a 4.53 40 yard dash, had a 6.79 3 cone drill and an amazing 39.5" vertical. Those measurements are very good but he also has 32 3/8" arms great for a corner. Bethel fits the mold as the ideal CB for the Steelers system. He dominated the WR in his small college and looked goo at the East-West Shrine game. His measurable attributes are good and has a smooth back pedal and footwork. He can be a possible safety prospect or corner and could be a gem in the draft.
Round 6, Pick #184-
Lamar Holmes, OT Southern Mississippi-
Holmes is a 6'5" 323lbs OT that fits the Steelers mold for a tackle. He displays an ideal body size for an NFL tackle and a good pop in the running game. He looks quick enough to pass block but get high very easily. He has a natural strength and good power. His feet will go dead and his technique need major work. Based of body type he can be someone to come into camp and compete for a back-up OT spot most likely a RT.
Round 7, Pick #216-
Micheal Smith RB, Utah State-
Overlooked by many because of the talent in front of him Smith is a very good running back. He is 5'8" and ripped at 208lbs. He can return kicks and run the ball. He runs with power behind his pads. At the All-Star Classic he had an 80 yard touchdown. He looks explosive as well. He has all the ability to play the game and I would look into drafting this kid if not only as a camp body for depth at RB.
Round 7, Compensatory Pick #1-
Greg Zuerlein K, Missouri Western State-
The Steelers will definitely get at least one compensatory pick. They will need to replace Shuan Shuisham who is not reliable, has a weak leg and is making good money, Greg 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'll take him here. He seems fairly unknown and could be a UDFA but why take that chance
In this draft the Steelers are getting a replacement for James Farrior at ILB, a solid NT prospect, a very good guard prospect, an interesting safety prospect, an OT for depth and a RB with skill to go to camp. They hit all their major needs while getting talent.Let me know what you think about the draft below.