Jim Brown-US PRESSWIRE
Like many other teams without a winning record the Steelers enter the 2013 Draft with many needs. They could choose to get a pass rusher in the first, or get a play making receiver. However youth, talent and depth seem to be lacking in Pittsburgh's defense line. Since the defensive line is the backbone of Dick LeBeau's defense, the Steelers can not pass up a player who can anchor the center of the defense for years to come.
Round 1, Pick No. 17 - Johnathan Hankins, NT, Ohio State
Johnathan Hankins is a large man at 6-foot-3, 320 pounds. He has lined up at nearly every position along the defensive line for the Buckeyes. On tape his balance, strength, technique and vision are evident. The Steelers still have nothing but questions at the Nose tackle position. Pittsburgh has only Alameda Ta'amu and Hebron Fangupo under contract and both have yet to play in a game, let alone start one. Hankins can be that the NT that anchors another great run by the Steelers defense as Pittsburgh gets younger.
Round 2, Pick No. 47- Justin Hunter, WR Tennessee
At 6-foot-4, 205 pounds Justin Hunter proved to be a true threat. With only 16 receptions he amassed 415 receiving yards and seven touchdowns. In 2011 he tore his ACL after just three games. His junior year he had 73 receptions for 1083 yards and nine touchdowns. Hunter utilized his size to climb the latter and compete for the ball. He is fast for a receiver of his size expected to run as low as a high 4.4s forty but he is also elusive for a bug receiver. The Steelers were so desperate to add a big receiver to their roster that they signed Plaxico Burress near the end of last season. While Justin Hunter hasn't shown the same explosion after tearing his ACL, he is fast enough to get separation and will go up and compete for the ball. Haley has done well utilizing big receivers in his past offenses and Hunter will help in the redzone immediately.
Round 3, Pick No. 79 - Johnathan Cypriens, SS, Florida Atlantic University
Cypriens looks the part of an NFL safety. He is 6-foot 209 pounds and has the speed to play safety. He is a smart. Recognizes the play quickly and reacts fast. He has very little pass drops on tape but what I have seen I am impressed with. With both the Steelers safeties on the wrong side of 30 Cypriens is a pick for the future that could see time in his rookie year.
Round 4, Pick No. 111- Duke Williams, SS, Nevada
Duke Williams was around the ball a lot at Nevada. He displays exceptional speed for a safety and good enough size at just under 6-foot and 201 pounds. He is the kind of athlete that could line up 15 yards off the line of scrimmage and still make a play against the run. In what limited coverage there was of the Senior Bowl practice he displayed good footwork in coverage. Williams' biggest problem is route recognition. I would love to see what Lake could do with Williams who should at least come in and impact special teams as a gunner. As mention above both starting safeties are on the wrong side of 30, Ryan Mundy did not show the ability needed to play safety when filling in and Will Allen is a Free Agent and also 30 years old. The team needs to start grooming youth and speed at safety.
Round 5, Pick No. 143- Ray Graham, RB, Pittsburgh
Ray Graham prior to his ACL injury looked to be the best back in Pittsburgh history. He was dangerously quick and explosive. In 2012 he made it back on the field for half of the games. While he flash some of the same explosiveness he had in 2011 he also favored his injured leg some. Graham is undersized at 5-foot-9 and 192 pounds he can make plays something Pittsburgh's backs failed to do in 2012. Most experts say player a does not return to full form until a year after a knee injury. If that is true the Steelers would get a steal in the fifth round with Graham. It is my opinion Graham could end up being the best back of the entire draft.
Round 6, Pick No. 175 - Vince Williams, ILB, Florida State University
Vince Williams is a football player. He is a tough, and very instinctive linebacker for the Seminoles. While he doesn't have great athleticism he makes up for it by his feel of the game. He also is a big hitter. Williams looked good at the Senior Bowl and should have moved up to a prospect who could be taken later in the draft. Seems like a good fit for the 3-4 Buck role at 6-foot-1 and 247 pounds.
Round 7, Pick No. 207- Dustin Hopkins, K, Florida State University
Hopkins is accurate and has a big leg. In 2012 he made 25 of his 30 field goals which is 83 percent. More importantly he made five of his six attempts of 50+ yards including one from 56 yards away. Suisham had a good year but he clearly doesn't have enough leg to consistently make 50+ yard field goals and I can't justify giving him a contract almost twice as much as we could give a rookie.