I represented the Steelers in the most recent mock draft over on mockingthedraft.com and this was the group of guys I drafted. Overall, I thought I did extremely well. Give myself an A or A-. Some may not agree, but that's their right to disagree. Keep in mind that I did a lot of wheeling and dealing.:
2nd Round (49th overall): Harrison Smith, SS, Notre Dame
2nd Round (56th overall): Amini Silatolu, OG, Midwestern State
3rd Round (64th overall): Josh Chapman, NT, Alabama
3rd Round (86th overall): Brandon Brooks, OG, Miami (Ohio)
4th Round (107th overall): Ladarius Green, TE, Louisiana-Lafayette
5th Round (166th overall): Jerry Franklin, ILB, Arkansas
6th Round (185th overall): Cordarro Law, DE/OLB, Southern Miss
7th Round (240th overall): Michael Smith, RB, Utah State
7th Round (246th overall): Keith Tandy, CB, West Virginia
7th Round (248th overall): Dan Di Lella, QB, Albany
UDFAs: James Carmon (OT, Mississippi State), Randy Bullock (K, Texas A&M), Julian Talley (WR, UMass), Tim Benford (WR, Tennessee Tech) and Reggie Sandilands (ILB/OLB, Bethune-Cookman)
Why I took each player:
Harrison Smith: I believe safety depth is needed more than people realize. Smith is a guy who started his college career at linebacker. He is a solid run stopper who is a very physical tackler. Solid zone cover guy. Wouldn't need to start right away. Let him soak up the knowledge Carnell Lake, Ryan Clark and Troy Polamalu would give him. He's a solid strong safety for years to come.
Amini Silatolu: Obvious need at guard and this guy was to me, the BPA. He shows a real nasty streak and just throws defensive linemen around like rag dolls. Could get better in the pass game, but that should come in time. Reminds me a lot of Niners OG Mike Iupati. I think he could play some right tackle if needed.
Josh Chapman: Another obvious need. I feel like when healthy, Chapman is the beset nose tackle in this draft, or at least the safest. He clogs up the running lanes and is a slightly better pass rusher than given credit for. Reminds me some of Casey Hampton when he was coming out of college.
Brandon Brooks: Good blocker with great size and the versatility to play at either guard position or right tackle. Team him with Silatolu and Pouncey on the interior, we're set inside for a decade.
Ladarius Green: Value selection and also the type of player becoming popular in today's NFL. Has nice speed and will catch just about anything thrown his way. Big red zone target. Has some flaws as a blocker, but he gives effort here. Working with Heath Miller would only help him out there. Like safety depth, I think tight end is a bigger need than some Steeler fans think. Miller is solid all-around, but he won't scare anyone down the field. Weslye Saunders is unproven and suspended for the first four games. Same goes for Will Johnson minus the four game suspension. Leonard Pope and David Johnson are strictly blockers. Plus I thought Green provided more value here than a guy like Emmanuel Acho or Tank Carder would have.
Jerry Franklin: I felt like I needed an inside linebacker at some point. With that said though, I wouldn't mind giving Stevenson Sylvester a one year shot to show what he can (or can't) bring. Franklin was a productive four-year starter in the SEC, so I can't complain too much about the pick. He should provide solid depth along with Larry Foote.
Cordarro Law: This is one late round pick I have had an eye on for an extremely long time. Law lists our very own LaMarr Woodley as his favorite player and he tries to model his own game after Woodley's. One thing I notice is this guy is constantly in the opposing backfield providing pressure on the QB and stopping that run game. He has racked up numerous TFL totals in his time at Southern Miss. Definitely a pass rushing project worth taking a flier on.
Michael Smith: With Issac Redman, a healthy Baron Batch and Jon Dwyer/John Clay in the backfield, I'm not sure the Steelers are as bad off in the running game as some experts think. That said though, I didn't think a late round pick wold hurt at all. Smith was overshadowed by teammate Robert Turbin, but he's very fast (4.32 40 at his pro day), has good upper body strength and is a natural pass catcher out of the backfield. He is rising up a lot of draft boards.
Keith Tandy: Corner is another position where I think the Steelers are better off at then some experts think. Ike Taylor, Keenan Lewis, Curtis Brown and Cortez Allen shouldn't be a bad first four. With that said though, Tandy is a nice fit for our defense. He's a little short, but is physical in press coverage and also a pretty good tackler. He should make a pretty nice slot corner.
Dan Di Lella: I bet most haven't heard of him. This guy has terrific size at 6'5", a very strong arm and pretty good mobility. He's been rising up on draft boards lately and has conducted workouts with the Jets and Giants. There are some pretty solid tools here to work with. Could be a nice find as a young developmental QB. Having Charlie Batch and Ben Roethlisberger in his ear won't hurt, either.
James Carmon: Very raw, but definitely has some talent. While he's a little slow, he does show some mean in his game and is worth taking a shot on as a developmental offensive tackle. Great size.
Randy Bullock: Got a pretty solid (if not spectacular) leg. Some competition is needed at kicker as I have little to no faith in Suisham. At least make Suish earn his spot in 2012.
Tim Benford: Seems like a solid slot receiver. Has good hands and is a good route runner.
Julian Talley: Gets a few comparisons to another former UMass WR in Victor Cruz, who now stars for the New York Giants. Has pretty good speed and came up with a 41-inch vertical at his Pro Day workout. Seems like he's worth a look and maybe he develops some on the practice squad.
Reggie Sandilands: This name didn't come to my attention until a few days ago, but then I watched some tape on this guy and liked a lot of what I saw. He's a natural leader both on and off the field. Plays the game with a lot of intensity and is not afraid to deliver a big hit. He displays nice quickness from sideline to sideline. He gets in there and stops the run, gets after the QB and can even drop back into coverage. This isn't a household name at all, but this guy has some game. I think he'll surprise a few people.
What grade would you give me?
A+ (10 votes)
A (16 votes)
A- (19 votes)
B+ (35 votes)
B (23 votes)
B- (13 votes)
C+ (8 votes)
C (7 votes)
C- (5 votes)
D+ (0 votes)
D (2 votes)
D- (0 votes)
F (1 vote)
Matt Millen (16 votes)
155 total votes