Okay, how great would it be if we could cooperate to create different versions of a Steelers Big Board? This is meant as a starting format to get that going. Please DO comment and get some debate going. A lot of you (maybe most) know a lot more about this than I do, so I view my role more as an organizer or coordinator than an actual judge. I will periodically update the list with additions and changes based on everyone’s feedback. The basic approach should be easy to follow:
RULE 1 – Order is based on value to the Steelers. Great players for other teams and situations would be downgraded here if they fail to fit the Steelers’ openings, system, or other requirements. FWIW, the initial judgments were made off the grades at Walter Football.
RULE 2 – Organized by Highest Value ("HV#"). An HV of 32 means the player is a reach at any point before Pick # 32 (the end of the 1st round), but good value after that. Getting that player at 47 would be fine, while getting him at 79 would be a steal.
RULE 2.A – Players with the same HV# are more-or-less equivalent so don’t sweat the order inside each grouping. I tried to group them by position: Defense, then Offense, inside to out.
RULE 2.B – For the sake of easy comparison I will subdivide each round as follows:
* 1st Round grades: HV 5, 10, 15, 20, or 25.
* 2nd Round grades: Early (HV 32), Mid (HV 43), or Late (HV 53).
* 3rd Round grades: Early (HV 62), Mid (HV 74), or Late (HV 86).
* 4th Round grades: Early (HV 97) or Late (HV 115).
* 5th Round grades: Early (HV 133) or Late (HV 151).
ROUND 1 GRADES
HV 1 Jadeveon Clowney, DE, South Carolina – The position may be a moderate priority, but otherworldly talent speaks for itself.
HV 1 Jake Matthews, OT, Texas A&M – An elite tackle who would be a real upgrade even if we trust Mike Adams to "get it".
HV 5 Sammy Watkins, WR, Clemson – All the speed in the world and 6’1" to boot. With a record of success as a clear #1 receiver that teams are game planning to stop.
HV 5 Mike Evans, WR, Texas A&M – The big receiver we lack. Right up there if he passes the basic maturity tests.
HV 10 Taylor Lewan, OT, Michigan – The other elite tackle of the class who would be a definite upgrade. Is there anyone else who is bound to be that big an improvement over Beachum, Gilbert, and Adams?
HV 15 Louis Nix, NT, Notre Dame – I think the death of the Nose Tackle has been vastly oversold and would have rated Nix even higher. But a big man with knee issues is a major reason for doubt.
HV 15 Anthony Barr, OLB, UCLA – A tremendous athlete that might be compared to the early 2013 picks Mingo and Jordan. BUT ... is another Jarvis Jones the right pick for 2014? As a practical matter, making this pick would force the Steelers to let Worilds go and to move either JJ or Barr to ILB over Spence and the current roster. But it would make for an awesome linebacker corps...
HV 15 Khalil Mack, OLB, Buffalo – Same as for Barr. From what I read he sounds a lot like next year’s Jarvis Jones. And I really think highly of JJ.
??? Cyrus Kouandjio, OT, Alabama – Is he a surefire and major upgrade on what we already have? If so, it’s worth a 1st round pick. But if he’s not a genuine lock, I vote for going with what we have and hoping that Mike Adams will turn the corner with a full year of offseason coaching.
??? Antonio Richardson, OT, Tennessee – Same as for Kouandjio
HV 20 Jace Amaro, TE, Texas Tech – Getting a true counterpart for Heath would be sooo cool. It would be almost as good as getting that legendary "tall receiver" and better than a lot of receivers who happen to be really tall. At least one BTSC poster is very high on the guy: "Amaro is a TE who has WR skills who is bigger than Mike Evans (the WR) and may even be faster . A guy like Amaro would allow the Steelers to go 5 wide, with an empty back field, using a 2 TE personnel group. If they have that option, practically the whole playbook is available in one personnel package, which is perfect for the no huddle."
HV 20 Austin Seferian-Jenkins, TE, Washington – See Amaro and Ebron.
HV 20 Eric Ebron, TE, North Carolina – See Amaro and Sefarian-Jenkins. I sense a pattern here.
HV 20 Marqise Lee, WR, USC – If he’s a true #1 to pair with Antonio Brown, go for it. If not, the position can wait for the Steelers to do their traditional mid-round bargain shopping.
HV 25 Jason Verrett, CB, TCU – I have lumped all the cornerbacks together. Different sites have them at different slots. This is the order from Walter Football.
HV 25 Justin Gilbert, CB, Oklahoma State
HV 25 Aaron Colvin, CB, Oklahoma
HV 25 Loucheiz Purifoy, CB, Florida
HV 25 Bradley Roby, CB, Ohio State
HV 25 Marcus Roberson, CB, Florida
HV 25 Ifo Ekpre-Olomu, CB, Oregon
ROUND 2 GRADES
HV 32 Vic Beasley, DE/OLB, Clemson – I understand there would be "fit" issues. This ranking assumes they wouldn’t be too severe. See also the entries on Anthony Barr and Khalil Mack.
HV 32 Kyle Van Noy, LB, BYU – Another player who might be better in our system as an ILB.
HV 32 Ra'Shede Hageman, DT, Minnesota – If you think he (a) is a Nose Tackle and (b) has what it takes to be a real upgrade on McLendon. OTOH, we have two 1st-round picks on the Defensive Line already.
HV 43 Stephon Tuitt, DE, Notre Dame – Other areas show a bigger need.
HV 43 Trent Murphy, DE, Stanford – Other areas show a bigger need.
HV 43 Shayne Skov, ILB, Stanford – A very good ILB prospect with a Stanford-level brain that can learn a complex defense. Had an ACL which seems to be all better. But does he even have enough of that special explosion to pick an ILB before the 2nd Round?
HV 43 Haha Clinton-Dix, S, Alabama – Alas for the knees! He’d be up there at HV 10-15 if not for the health issues.
HV 53 Teddy Bridgewater, QB, Louisville – Worth a lot more to a team that doesn’t have Ben.
HV 53 Johnny Manziel, QB, Texas A&M – Worth a lot more to a team that doesn’t have Ben.