Since I enjoy being a critic of other's mock drafts and prospect evaluations, I figured it is only fair that I put a mock of my own out there. I've previously posted about some players to watch at the combine that might be of interest to the Steelers (hope you read it and watched for those guys). I can honesty say, I've watched "tape" on over 200 prospects and put together my draft board consisting of nearly 300 prospects at the moment. I'll watch more tape as we get into the pro-days and add a few more guys to the board, and take a few off!
While I generally think mocks at this point are mostly moot since we don't know what teams' needs will be addressed via FA, I do think there is some worth in getting an idea where prospects may land on the round/value chart. If you haven't seen one or done one, it's basically a list of positions horizontally across the top and rounds 1-7 vertically down the side. It gives you a quick idea what positions are deep (and those that are thin), and gives you an idea what rounds are stronger than others. For example: WR, CB, and OLB are pretty deep; whereas TE, 34DE, and ILB are pretty thin. Also, Round 1 appears to have more prospects with that value (I have 35) than picks in that round (32). So, the top of round 2 could be strong. However, for Round 2, I only have 25 prospects with that grade for 32 picks. So, the end of Round 2 could be a bit weak. Of course, there are always a few reaches in every round it seems, so that may even things out. Then, by the time you get into Round 5 or so, there seems to be abundance to pick from. This comes as no surprise since this draft has the most underclassmen ever.
So, without further ado, let my Psycho Mock 1.0 begin...
1.15 - Steelers are on the clock for their first pick. Here are the guys who are off the board (in no specific order): QB Bridgewater, QB Bortles, QB Manziel, WR Watkins, WR Evans, OT Robinson, OT Matthews, OT Lewan, DE Clowney, DT Donald, OLB Mack, OLB Barr, ILB Mosley, and CB Gilbert. Many think the pick will either be TE Ebron or CB Dennard, but when Goodell comes to the podium, he announces a trade. "The Steelers have traded the 15th pick of the draft to Miami for their 19th pick and their 3rd round pick, which is the 81st pick of the draft". Turns out, the Dolphins were really interested in OL Zack Martin, who would be a perfect fit for their mess of an OL situation (he can play OT or G and is a high character guy), and they didn't want to risk losing him to Dallas (who picks @ 16), or rumor has it Arizona @ 20 and Green Bay @ 21 where trying to trade up (thought is Arizona may want Martin or a CB, and Green Bay wanted Ebron).
1.19 (from Miami) - CB Jason Verrett, TCU, 5'9" 189. Verrett? Yes, Verrett. If he were the same size as Gilbert, there wouldn't be any question who the top CB in the draft was...it would be him. On tape, he does everything the Steelers would ask their CBs to do...cover, tackle the catch, break up passes, support the run and tackle the carrier. He's got the speed (4.38) to run with fast WRs and the hops (39" vert) to jump with the bigger ones. My only concern was that he was listed at 176, but he came to the combine at 189 and still looked fluid and fast. Rumor has it the Steelers showed interest in him at Indy.
2.46 - WR Donte Moncrief, Mississippi, 6'2" 221. The kid from Mike Wallace's alma mater isn't necessarily the big WR many were thinking of, but he does have a few fans here on BTSC. He was hovering around the late 2/early 3 territory, but his solid showing at the combine bumps him ahead of Allen Robinson who is about the same size. I expect a run on WR starting in the late 1st through the early 2nd with guys like Lee, Beckham, Cooks, Benjamin, and Matthews going. Moncrief is the type of WR who has all the tools, but just needs to develop them fully (4.40, 39.5" vert, smooth, fluid, good hands, willing blocker). With AB, Wheaton, and JCo (I expect them to resign him), Moncrief can learn as the #4 for a year and then take over as the #3, and maybe the #2 target at some point.
3.81 (from Miami) - OLB Carl Bradford, Arizona St., 6'1" 250 . Bradford wasn't a guy I originally was thinking of because I was looking for guys who might be there with the 4th round pick. With a new found mid-3rd rounder, I can see him being their guy. Even though he was a DE with his hand down in mostly a 43 front, he dropped back in coverage at times, and played off the line as a ILB in certain situations. He can do a bit of everything and does it all with a consistent "high motor" which fits well. He makes for not only a nice backup OLB, but I think he can be used in many of the sub-packages as a "joker"...or "Devil" as they called it at ASU. He's got short arms, but he's more athletic than Jones...go figure!
3.comp - FS Ed Reynolds, Stanford, 6'1" 207. This is the expected "comp" pick for Wallace. I would have liked to have snagged Terrence Brooks earlier, but the more I look, it appears that he will go somewhere in the 2nd, maybe even before the pick @ 46. Originally, I thought Reynolds may go late 2nd/ early 3rd, but I'm thinking more likely late 3rd now. Reynolds is a smart player (maybe because his dad played in the NFL), and has nice size to complement to Verrett(and Headache Thomas) . He's more of a wrap-up tackler than the big hitter, which isn't necessarily the worst thing, and he has the football IQ to learn LeBeau's D quickly. I like the thought of the 2015 secondary with Verrert's speed, Cortez's length, Headache's insanity, and Reynolds' stability!
4.pick 18 - DE Will Clarke, West Virgina, 6'6" 271. I wasn't originally thinking of Clarke as a 34DE for the Steelers, but the more I watched his tape, the more I thought he could work for them. The hometown kid (Allerdice H.S. in Pittsburgh), is fast and athletic for his size. Plus, he's got almost 35" arms to keep those OTs off. His weight (271) concerns me because that's a bit light for a 34DE, but I see no reason he can't add at least 10-15 lbs. after a year in the NFL program. In the meantime, he can play some in the sub-packages as both an edge guy (standup DE) and down inside. He can get those long arms up to bat down passes and disrupt the middle. Other guys I considered were Taylor Hart, Josh Mauro, and Brett Urban, but they aren't as athletic as Clarke.
5.pick 17 - C Bryan Stork, Florida St., 6'4" 315. Another guy who I really wasn't expecting for the Steelers. However, the more I think about it, the more I can see the Center situation being unclear. Pouncey is going to want a fat contract, and I'm not sure he's worth it. Yes, he's still a good C, but something tells me they could have a potential Woodley-esque situation on their hands. With that in mind, I can see them getting a guy to develop at least for depth. Yes, they may still sign Wallace or Velasco as a backup/insurance for Pouncey, but having interior depth is important. Stork is a solid C who can make the reads and make the blocks. He's not athletic, but he'll get out there and pull. He's also G capable which adds to his value. He'd look natural in a Steeler uniform and maybe even become da Beard Jr. with his own...Munchak would love this guy!
5.comp - TE Marcel Jensen, Fresno St., 6'6" 259. This is the expected comp pick for Keenan Lewis. Jensen isn't to be confused with the top TE prospects who are superior receiving targets even though he played in a pass-happy Fresno St. system. He was mostly a blocker and occasional threat to go down the middle. He can be a useful redzone target, though, as he has decent hands to go with his nearly 35" long arms (and 35" vert). He'd make for a nice 3rd TE (or even backup) who can play in 2TE sets with Heath. Maybe he can develop into a possible successor to Heath down the road. He isn't fast (4.85), but neither is Heath.
6.pick 16 - RB LaDarius Perkins, Mississippi St, 5'7 195. Here's your scatback/KR replacement for LSH and Felix Jones. Yes he's small, but he's basically the same size as LSH and can run and catch out of the backfield. I liked him even before he showed well at the combine (3rd fastest RB with a 4.46). Don't worry he's plenty strong for his size too. Perkins makes for an ideal fit to go with Bell and Dwyer (I think they will resign him). I like Dri Archer, but think he'll got early...maybe earlier than the Steelers wanted to go (like 3rd round). Another guy to keep an eye on in this spot would be Jerrick McKinnon, but after he blew up the combine, he could go a couple of rounds higher too.
7.pick 15 - CB Travis Carrie, Ohio, 6'0" 206 . and here's your bigger CB. Carrie was a guy who missed the entire 2012 season and then came back and had to play off some of the rust in 2013. He might actually go earlier than this, but if he's there in the 7th, he makes for a nice "double dip" at CB (start that way, end that way!). Carrie's immediate value comes as a PR. Even though AB is a top shelf PR, it'd be nice to have someone who can give him a break every so often, or take the job over if he's good enough. Carrie can develop as a 5th CB, and even if he doesn't see the field on D in his first year, he has intriguing size that maybe can be developed into something viable.
There you have it! Only thing I can say is that you or I probably have a better chance of winning the Megamillions lottery than all of this happening as I have mocked it.