1) Dont’a Hightower, ILB, Alabama
Hightower has been talked about more on this blog than anyone but David DeCastro. There isn’t much more to say than I would be shocked at this point to see the Steelers draft anyone else (unless someone like Poe or Martin falls, or they trade up). Hightower might not start right away, but he will rotate with Foote starting week 1, and I imagine would be a full time starter by Week 9.
1a) Jonathan Martin, OT, Stanford or Cordy Glenn, OG, Georgia
If either of these players is available, you have to assume they are considered on the same level as Hightower. If the Steelers are lucky enough to grab any of these three players, it will be the most excited immediate reactions I’ve had for a first round pick in a while.
1b) Stephen Gilmore, CB, South Carolina or Dre Kirkpatrick, CB, Alabama
There is a decent chance one of these corners will be available. Unlike the past few years, the Steelers have much bigger needs than CB, but these two guys would have to be considered due to their talent.
2) Amini Silatolu, G/OT, Midwestern State
This guy is a beast. He played left tackle in college, and would slide into the LG spot immediately. When this guy gets his hands on a defender, it is tough to shake him. The best way to stop Haloti Ngata is for the Steelers to let Silatolu and Pouncey bounce him back and forth between the two of them. Outside of DeCastro, Silatolu is probably the best run blocker in this draft, and he can bring a mean streak with him to the next level. If necessary, Silatolu can move over to RT and keep the line competitive. The Steelers will need to focus on flexible OG’s this year.
2a) Kelechi Osemele, G, Iowa State
Another guard who could move to RT should Colon get injured. Osemele is a less talented Cordy Glenn, but that doesn’t mean he wouldn’t be a great prospect. Osemele is 6’6”, and lining him up next to Gilbert on the left side would make a mountain for Big Ben to throw over, but I would be happy with either of these OG’s.
2b) Alameda Ta'amu, NT, Washington
Another favorite of this site, Ta’amu is a legit nose tackle who could be the long-term replacement for Casey Hampton. He needs to play meaner, but the talent is there, and he is easily the second best NT after Poe. Would love to get him, but I think that guard is a bigger problem at the moment.
3) Josh Chapman, NT, Alabama
Chapman is coming off of a serious injury, so he is a risk with the Steelers already lacking a true NT to start the year. Substitutions can be found, and Chapman has serious skills, using a low center of gravity to get push up the middle. He will never go in Beast Mode like Casey Hampton could, and we won’t see him getting to many QB’s, but he will clog the middle and allow our linebackers to do their thing. The best option in this round, and, while Mike Martin is a possibility, I think Chapman is head and shoulders above him.
3a) Brandon Washington, G/OT, Miami
Washington played out of position in college, and would be viewed as a better prospect if he had stuck to guard throughout his collegiate career. His versatility makes him appealing, but he is best suited at guard. Washington will need time to learn, and I doubt he can move in right away and see playing time. Has incredible potential, maybe even 1st round potential, but won’t contribute right away, which makes Chapman more valuable.
3b) Bernard Pierce, RB, Temple
A former track star with great vision, Pierce would make a great compliment to Redman and a future starter at RB. Don’t be surprised for the Steelers to nab a high quality RB in the draft this year.
4) Senio Kelemete, G, Washington
Lacks great footwork, and isn’t as big as I would typically like, but excels as a run blocker and would be a very good RG for the Steelers. He wouldn’t start right away, and would need time to learn the blocking scheme, improve his footwork, and add some strength, but he could start toward the latter half of the year if there are injuries or struggles by the starter. I would be very excited for the future of the Steelers line with Silatolu and Kelemete lining up next to Pouncey for the foreseeable future.
5) B.J. Coleman, QB, UT-Chattanooga
This pick really excites me. This guy has a cannon and ideal size at over 6’3”, but he doesn’t read the defense well, and will need a lot of coaching. This is the type of player I can see excelling under Todd Haley. He is considered to be a hard worker who wants to improve himself, and I think getting yelled at every time he throws an interception could help motivate him. Would be a great backup for Ben, and could develop into a trade-able asset, or at least someone who we trust if Ben goes down with an injury.
6) Blake Gideon, FS, Texas
Gideon is a quick defender with pretty good ball skills. He is probably best suited to play center field, which would be his role as long as Troy Polamalu is lining up at SS. Gideon is a prospect, but has loads of talent, played better than most of his teammates against Baylor & RGIII, and has a shot to develop into a good NFL player.
7) Derek Moye, WR, Penn State
6’4” with at 4.5 40-yd. dash: that is the type of player who excites me in the 7th Round. Moye wasn’t used well last year, and with all the distractions at Penn State, he has fallen off the radar of many teams. Moye could come in and be the 5th WR this year, with a chance to really surprise.
7a) Blair Walsh, K, Georgia
This is the year the Steelers draft a kicker. Walsh is cheaper, better, and younger than Suisham. With 3 compensation picks in the 7th, there is rarely going to be a better year than this one to grab our future kicker.
7b) Josh Oglesby, OT, Wisconsin
Terrible combine with a 5.8 time in the 40, but he has good tape from college. Doesn’t project to be a starter, but with a serious lack of depth at tackle, could find his way onto the roster. Hi is a very big man (6-7, 338), and with a little bit of seasoning could stick on the PS or at the bottom of the roster as an emergency body.
7c) Ethan Johnson, DE, Notre Dame
The Steelers always need depth on both lines. Johnson is 6’4”, 300 lbs and can project as a solid rotation player in a 3-4 defense. He won’t be flashy, but could be useful in case of an injury.