This is by far my favorite part of the season (outside a Steeler playoff run): draft season. Here is an early mock. I somewhat used Walterfootball's rankings as a reference, as I believe he is pretty accurate and thorough throughout the years I have followed him. For the record, I would like to trade down, as we sit now. I think we could stockpile some picks and really find value in an extra pick or two.
Of course, this will change throughout the off-season.. so bear with me.
Round 1: Manti T'eo, ILB, Notre Dame
Ok, ok, I am drinking the Koolaid..but hear me out. This guy has unquestioned leadership and has had a great college run. Yes, I know. He got exposed on a number of occasions against Alabama, but he has made play, after play in other games. He lacks elite speed, but makes up for it in football IQ. He was great in coverage this season, and has a nose for the football. If you take away the Alabama game, he would be an undisputed top-ten pick. Need meets value. We need Farrior-like leadership on the defense.
Alternatives: Matt Elam, Keenan Allen, Kenny Vacarro, Barkevious Mingo, TRADE DOWN
Round 2: Eddie Lacey, RB, Alabama
Ah, how ironic. The back who abused T'eo and company joining forces with him. Lacey is a classic (of late) Alabama running back. He is tough, physical, and surprising agile. He would fit in well with the current offensive scheme and could pull ahead as our lead back very early. I am a Dwyer fan, but I have yet to see him show his true potential. I think the missing piece of our offense is that sure-fire threat at the running back position. I would like a nice long look at the safety position if value is available, but I think Lacey would be a great pick-up here.
Alternatives: Eric Reid, T.J. McDonald, Joesph Randle, Robert Woods, Justin Hunter
Round 3: Bacarri Rambo, S, Georgia
I think the only knock on him here is that suspension, and I regret even writing this because of the recent issues with Rainey. Rambo is a first round talent and a sure play-maker. He was suspended early on in the season, but shaped up down the stretch and really made an impact on his team. Steelers could definitely use some depth at the S position (both) because neither Clark or Polamalu can play at the highest level very much longer. We need to groom some young talent under them while we can. I think we can also look at OLB and WR here.
Alternatives: Ryan Swoope, Corey Lemonier, Robert Lester, Shawn Williams, Montee Ball
Round 4: Kenny Stills, WR, Oklahoma
I don't honestly believe he will fall this far due to many receivers seeming to be called upon in the 2nd and 3rd rounds of late, but I digress. Stills reminds me so much of Hines Ward, but bigger. Man, do the Steelers miss that type of tough receiver. Stills has been the play-maker on Oklahoma's team for two seasons now, and shows everything I would want in a receiver. He plays bigger than his listed size (around 6'1") and isn't scared to make the catches in traffic. We need to look at the WR position due to Wallace and Cotchery's uncertainty and the unlikely return of Plax. This is a sheer value pick.
Alternatives: Gavin Escobar, E.J. Manuel, Leon McFadden, Jamie Collins, Logan Ryan
This strategy is BPA based on Walter Football's projections. Let me know what you think.