This is a mock of both who I think the Steelers should take and who it looks like they might take based on visits and who is drafting before them. The Steelers don't really draft for need, but if they think 2 players have the same grade they'll choose one in a position of future need than one where the spot is already filled. Another assumption is that the Steelers aren't drafting purely in the hope that someone will be a year 1 impact player, given that the Steelers usually sit Rookies and use them as backups or situational players.
Round 1: Tyler Eifert - TE, Notre Dame - He might start instead of Heath if Heath is on the PUP list to begin the year, but more than likely David Johnson or Matt Spaeth will start. The reason for this pick is because we need a player to replace Heath in the next few years. We're going to have to resign most of our offensive line in the next 3-4 years and Heath will likely cost millions more then Eifert. In addition, Eifert is a top talent at a position of relative need, and is very skilled at receiving and fairly skilled at blocking. He definitely needs to develop more at blocking, but who better to teach him for a couple seasons than Heath. The reason I didn't take Patterson or Jarvis Jones here was because I thought a WR needy team like Buffalo or Carolina might take Patterson and that the Saints or Jets will take Jones.
Round 2: Arthur Brown - OLB/ILB, Kansas State - He is a very skilled linebacker that has the skills to play either position. In a game against RG3 he was able to contain him and lock down the middle of the field as ILB. This would be a wonderful value pick and is possible because there will probably be a run on CB, WR, and QB near the end of the first and beginning of the second. That just seems to happen in most drafts. He might be gone if the Bears take him, but I see them taking Ogletree instead. Another possible pick is Giovanni Bernard, UNC RB, but I think this depends on how the Steelers view Bradshaw and if they see RB as a greater need than a solid ILB to learn behind and replace Foote. I could also see us taking Damontre Moore if he falls all the way here and we don't go OLB in the first. He's got boom or bust potential, but he was destructive in college.
Round 3: Phillip Thomas - FS, Fresno State - I think the Steelers could run to the podium if this guy makes it to our pick in the 3rd. We've had him visit and talked with him numerous times, and his college coordinator fashioned his defense to mimic the Steelers stating that he had Thomas "play the Polamalu position." He roamed around, wreaked havoc, and generated the most interceptions in the FBS (8) and returned 3 of them for TDs. We could use a playmaker like this sitting in the wings behind Polamalu, learning from him and possibly standing in for him during the season if Troy goes down with another injury. Other teams are concerned that his speed might prevent him from being such a playmaker in the pros, but his in game speed seems to be greater than he tests. Other possible picks here are Jamie Collins (OLB - not if Brown is picked), Markus Wheaton (WR), and Tyler Bray, but I doubt the Steelers go QB this high. The biggest reason we wouldn't take Thomas is if he's long gone.
Round 4: Ryan Swope - WR, Texas A&M - The Steelers could definitely use another WR in the rotation to bolster it after Wallace's departure. He's a solid mid round wide receiver with a generous upside. He's got tons of testing speed (in the 4.3's) but he's said to play slower when in pads. He's also prone to waiting for the ball instead of coming back to it, but I think that with some Steelers tutelage he'll improve and become a solid #2... Giving us two #2 WRs and 1 slot WR, but there doesn't seem to be any #1 WRs this late. Another possibility is Aaron Dobson from Marshall, at three inches taller than Swope, albeit slower 40 time, Dobson would provide that bigger target Ben has been asking for.
Round 5: Duke Williams - SS, Nevada - Our future Ryan Clark replacement. He's known for his crushing hits and showcased them at the senior bowl. The announcers kept saying his name play after play when a run was stopped dead or a WR was slammed right after catching the ball (Over the CB). He has the potential to become a dominant safety in the NFL. There's no guarantee of course, but a number of analysts have said that they wouldn't be surprised if in a couple years he's the star safety of this draft class. The main issue is that his floor is lower than a number of the higher round safeties. But after a few seasons as a backup or Mundy-like stand in, he should be able to take the reigns. I'd love to have picked him in the late 6th (Right after the senior bowl he was UDFA) but his draft stock keeps rising, so we grab him here to make sure we get him. Also, he visited the Steelers, which increases his odds of being picked.
Round 6 (1st pick): Lerentee McCray - OLB, FL - Since Arthur Brown will probably be an ILB for us, I grabbed Lerentee McCray in the 6th to sit for a couple years before becoming the possible new starter. This late in the draft most picks are a shot in the dark with high upside (Antonio Brown anyone?) and Lerentee has the build of a possible OLB beast, but his explosion at the snap isn't what it needs to be yet. He also might be gone by here...
Round 6 (2nd pick): Earl Watford - OG, James Madison - Mainly because, what are the odds the Steelers don't draft an offensive lineman? But seriously, he's a solid player who could possibly stand in when the starters are injured for a short amount of time (In his rookie season a veteran pick-up would probably be best if it's an IR situation.
Round 7: Rodney Smith - WR, FL St. - He's a giant at 6' 5" (Says the guy who's 6' 4") and is the target Ben has been waiting for. His speed isn't great and he had some drops in college, but he can get some separation and be a great red zone target.
There you have it, a 7 round mock of possible picks that could help the Steelers greatly in the next couple years. The odds that any of these guys get picked by the Steelers, pretty good. The odds that they all do, 0%. The Steelers are so unpredictable because they so often pick guys who fall into our laps, or people that no one could see coming. Each position is going to be a need in the next few years, which is where the Steelers usually look when choosing instead of an immediate perceived need.
An interesting 7th round pick would be Okoye from Britain. He's never played football and will be one hell of a work in progress, but scouts from his workout said he's a freak of immense natural talent and that he's picking up football practice drills without the slightest hitch. Who knows if he'll be able to learn plays, but his athleticism might pay off dividends for whatever team uses a flier on him.
Also, the chances of the Steelers trading mid round is very high. Especially if Phillip Thomas is in the beginning of the 3rd. I could easily see us giving up a 6th to move up several spots and take him.