Now that we know the Steelers will be receiving a 3rd, 5th, and 6th round comp. pick, we can start to build more reality into these mock drafts. Also, with the FA additions (Mitchell, Thomas, Moore, and Moats) we are starting to get a clearer picture of needs heading into the draft. Much can change, though, in the coming weeks as it's still early in the process. For now, here's how it may go in May...
1.15 CB Darqueze Dennard - Michigan St. (5'11" 199). I have a feeling that he might have been their guy all along. They have certainly shown interest with Colbert/Tomin attending his pro day and scheduling an upcoming visit with him in the Burgh. Dennard does fit the scheme (even though some have suggested otherwise), and will have a chance to play some man coverage in the sub packages while learning the base zone. In 2015, he should be able to take over as a starter next to Cortez. I have both Gilbert and Evans already gone in the mock (if you were wondering).
2.46 DE Stephon Tuitt - Notre Dame (6'5" 304). Tuitt was a guy who we once had pegged as a possible choice @ 15. That seemed to sour a bit as he had surgery on his foot March 1. He may not have the upside of Rashede Hageman, but he probably has a higher floor. While it's possible he could still go late 1st or early 2nd, I think there's a decent chance he could slip to the pick @ 46 if teams become concerned about his foot. He makes for a nice fit as a DE in the base 34 and can move inside to one of the DT spots with Heyward in the sub packages (although it likely wouldn't be until 2015 that he'd be a starter). With Cam Thomas penciled in as a possible starter at DE, this gives Tuitt a chance to develop along with Williams and Arnfelt.
3.97 RB Devonta Freeman - Florida St. (5'8" 206). Many assume that the Steelers will pick a "tall WR" on day 1 or 2 of the draft, but unless they get a shot at Evans @ 15 or Benjamin in a trade down (or if he fell to 46), I don't see it happening. With the signing of Lance Moore, I think they feel they have their vet slot WR to replace JCo. Also, I think they feel Wheaton will be Sanders replacement. So, a draft choice would more likely be the #4 WR (unless they got Evans). With no viable backup RBs on the roster at the moment (unless you count Alexander or Maysonet as viable), they will almost certainly have to draft one...even if they do sign Blount or MJD. Of course, they may wait till day 3 to do so, but Freeman is a guy Tomlin has shown interest in. He's not a burner for his size, but he's quick and can run with power as well as catch and pass protect. He would make for a nice tag team with Bell (especially if they don't get Blount or MJD). Lache Seastrunk (who is coming in for a visit) and Ka'Deem Carey are two others who they've shown interest in, but both have character issue concerns.
4.118 WR Devin Street - Pitt (6'3" 198). Not necessarily the big WR that many were hoping for, but Street can be a nice #4 with upside. Some may argue that he's too similar to Moye, but that's OK. He has a large catching radius and a 37" vertical so he makes for a nice, much needed red zone target. The downside is that he's not a return guy so his value to STs will be limited. However, he has a great work ethic and high character and would likely be an early fan-favorite who's already familiar with playing at Heinz Field.
5.157 CB Ross Cockrell - Duke (6'0" 191). Double-dipping at CB is not out of the question because they really have nothing viable behind Cortez/Ike/Gay. Dennard would be considered the future successor to Ike, but they'll still need an eventual 3rd CB to succeed Gay. Cockrell is a guy they've shown interest in. He would be a good ST guy initially while learning as the #5 CB with the thought of potentially being in the mix for regular PT as the 3rd CB in 2015. He's not a burner, but he plays smart and can make plays on the ball.
5.173 OLB Devon Kennard - USC (6'3" 249). His father played OT in the NFL and Devon is a high character guy that has some position versatility. He would mainly be an OLB in the base, but he's seen action inside and could be used some there in sub packages as a pass rush/zone cover guy. He wouldn't threaten for a starting job, but would add much needed depth at OLB and can be groomed to be a top backup there.
6.192 TE Marcel Jensen - Fresno St. (6'6" 259). Jensen is a holdover from my previous mock. Whether or not they are looking for a TE is still a bit of a mystery, but it's not out of the question that they would draft one at some point even after signing Palmer. Jensen is still a bit raw and is a former basketball player who brings nice size, length, 35" vertical, and could be a potential sleeper red zone target. Whether or not he could become the eventual successor to Heath would remain to be seen, but he has the potential to be a more complete TE than Spaeth, Paulson, or Palmer.
6.215 WR John Brown - Pittsburg St. (5'10" 179). This one would almost be too good to be true...a guy from a school named Pittsburg, a WR named Brown, in the 6th round like Antonio was. JB is no longer a secret after running a 4.34 at the combine. He had a great pro day fielding punts and can be a dynamic PR/KR specialist for the Steelers. He also would have use as a #5 or #6 WR and even as a guy in motion out of the backfield.
7.230 ILB DeDe Latimore - South Florida (6'0" 237). Fits the mold of an ILB in their 34 scheme and brings some attitude. Would likely be a good core ST player who can develop as a backup ILB. Some similarities to Vince Williams in that he is a better run stopper at this point and is limited in coverage.So, with the three comp picks, it's possible that they may make a few trades. I'm not sure if they'll necessarily trade down as many had first anticipated, but I can see a couple of trade up scenarios (maybe in the 3rd or 4th round). Let the games begin!