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My thoughts on the upcoming draft...

It has been a long time since I have posted, and I figured what better time than now, during the run up to the draft. I do enjoy this process, and going over other teams needs, looking at mocks and projecting who might go where and how it might affect the Steelers.

I will tell you off the bat, I love picking OL in the first round, and I think Chance Warmack has a very good "chance" of being there at 17, but for this draft, this year, he would be a luxury we can't afford at the moment. If they had not resigned Foster, then by all means, draft Warmack and have your 2 starting guards set for the next decade (or contract dispute, whichever comes first). But Foster was resigned so we move on...

My next choice is Xavier Rhodes, and I will not be ashamed to say I have had high hopes for him the last few years. I always thought he could be a safety with his physical play, and give us the size and speed to be able to use him to match up with the more athletic TEs in the league. I have always thought he was to much of a risk taker to play CB for us, but those are things that can be corrected. Again, I see him as a player who can assume Troy's spot.

I would not draft Jarvis Jones, and I am not sold on Cordarelle Patterson. We have had good luck with WRs in the latter rounds, and this year there are many good prospects to decide from.

Now, in looking at other teams, namely the Browns, Bucs and Dolphins, who have been most often mocked in taking a CB early, I have doubts about all 3 of them. First off, Mike Lomardi is a Bill Belichick lover, and Bill would look for value, and with the depth at CB I could not envision him picking one here. Further, Lombardi has always preached pass rushing. So, I think the Browns trade out if the player they really covet is not there, and I do not think that player is Dee Milliner. The Bucs will trade their 13th pick to heJets for Revis. It is really a no-brainer for Tampa, and the Jets will be looking for pass rusher and OL help (if Geno Smith isn't available) with their picks at 9 and 13. Finally, the Dolphins. Again, depth at the position in the draft could see them getting Johnthan Banks in the 2nd round, so do they try to trade up and get a LT they so need. They have nothing at LT, and moving Martin there would not be a good thing for the health of any QB. They need a LT, and they have been aggressive and I think it probable they trade up for one of the big 3 LTs.

If those scenarios play out, I can easily see Rhodes falling to us at 17. While I was going through all of this, I was pleased, but then I started thinking, would trading out of this pick cost us that much? I started going through some scenarios, with players like Elam or Eifert available to us at 23 (trade with Vikes).

Anyway, this has been the first time where I have been completely at a loss as to which potential player I would most like to see a Steeler. I can tell you this, there are many I feel comfortable with drafting in the 3rd, not so many I feel comfortable with at 17.

I would not at all be against trading back to acquire more picks, but for the moment I will mock my Steelers picks without any trades.

1.17 (17) Xavier Rhodes, CB, FSU

2.16 (48) Kevin Minter, ILB, LSU

3.17 (79) Shamarko Thomas, SS, Syracuse

3.29 (91) Marquise Goodwin, WR, Texas

4.18 (115) Kaled Holmes, C, USC

5.17 (150) Aaron Mellette, WR, Elon

6.18 (186) Corey Fuller, WR, Virginia Tech

6.38 (206) (Compensatory) Walter Stewart, DE/OLB, Cincinnati

7.17 (223) John Boyett, FS, Oregon

I do not like not having drafted any OLBs or DL, but in looking over FAs, I think we have some potential fits that could buy us a year. We really need to find out how Worlids is going to play, and if Spence can play. Our LB group would look a lot better if they both are playing at a level we are used to seeing from our defensive players.

I picked Rhodes for the reasons stated above. I took Shamarko Thomas too, in the 3rd. Our DBs were a joke at the end of last year. We were raiding practice squads to get enough bodies to put out there. Going forward, who in the world do we have faith in? Outside of Allen, Ike, Troy and Ryan are getting up there in age, and I would rather have replacements learning now, so when they are needed they are ready.

Took Minter in the 2nd, and if he is not there, I would look at Arthur Brown, OLB from Kansas State.

I took Khaled Holmes cause we need some depth on the OL. Here is a guy who can play C/G, and with Beechum backing up at G/T we have backups at each position.

I took 3 WRs, probably overkill on my part. Goodwin is a slot receiver and he is a burner, Mellette is BIG and can learn under Plaxico, and Fuller is big and fast. I think potential is there, unfortunately it might take some time to develop. IF we can work them in, and if Brown, Burress and Cotchery can play well enough, we might be able to do well enough in the passing game.

Walter Stewart, you have to take a look with this guy. Get him in, under contract, he has much to much potential not to take a chance.

Jon Boyett, wow, really overkill on my part, a 3rd DB, another case of a guy with a ton of potential getting hurt. In the 7th round, I want a guy who has the ability to be good, even if he was injured in college. I do have reservation with him being available here, as I think the Eaglesand Chip will pick him up. They want to install the ORegon system in Philadelphia, that is why I think Dion JOrdan will not make it past the Eagles pick at 4. Anyway...

I played around a lot with the 3rd round, taking out Thomas, and putting in ILB John Bostic, or taking out Minter in the 2nd and inserting Eddie Lacey. I think the RB situation will work itself out with the signing of Bradshaw, and whatever you think of his foot, he has only missed a handful of games in his career.

I know there are many flaws to this draft, and it is unfortunate because I do like all the players I've mocked for us, it is just unrealistic to think we have the luxury of drating 3 DBs and 3 WRs with so many other postions that need addresses.

I will say this, I wanted Josh Chapman last year in the worst way, and I mocked Jarius Wright and Blair Walsh to us last year too. Chapman will be fighting for the starting NT spot in Indy's 3-4 this year and Wright looked really good at the end of last year catching passes up in Minnesota.

Ps. I also have a mock in which we trade back twice, once with the Vikes to 23, and then with the Falcons to 30. This netted us extra picks in the 3rd (2), 6th and 7th rounds. I was able to then get Thomas and Bostic, the TE from Cincinnati, and a few others. I have not completely finished up that one, I will post it when I have finished.

UPDATE: The Steelers matched the Pats offer for Sanders, so disregard the pick at 3.29 (91) as we do not have that pick.

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