First off, I have to thank the other posters who have taken their crack at mocking this current draft. I'll try to hide my plagiarism. ScottishSteeler, Dropthehammer, Bigjay71 and many others, you have done an fantastic job keeping folks here up to date on the prospects. Anyway, let's get down to business.
First off, let's summarize our offseason so far because every little move can directly effect who we target in the first round. And who we target in the first can effect who we get in the second and so on and so on. Neal has done several pieces about the position battles in the form of a "who goes, who stays" that outlines the basic salary cap needs we have and difficult decisions the FO faces. So far, the only certainty we can all 100% agree on is that Levi Brown will be cut. Aside from that, the news of the cap being raised by about 10 mil is probably good news for some of the vets who may have been on the chopping block. It certainly was good news for Jason Worrilds who got the transition tag and is looking at a guaranteed 9.75 mil salary for a years work. Not too shabby. Now, how does this affect the draft? Does it mean that Wood is pretty much cut? Does it make OLB no longer a priority in the draft? Hard to say. IMO, I think the FO makes the difficult Woodley cut and looks to target an OLB in the 2nd or 3rd comp so our OLBs will be Worrilds, Rookie, Jones and Carter. Point being, the Worrilds saga ain't over yet, so this whole mock might be rendered moot.
Round 1: Full disclosure, I used fanspeak's mock draft simulator to assist in making my picks, I highly recommend it, it's pretty fun. The simulator had Scott Crichton going 7 overall (love the kid, fellow Beaver and all, but LOL!!!) and a few other ridiculous picks, so GIlbert WAS available. However, being the discerning mockist that I am, I know full well Gilbert WILL NOT BE AVAILABLE HERE!!! If, IF he was, we should make like George Costanza during a fire alarm and knock every elderly woman to the floor as we sprint down the aisle at Radio City to turn in out draft card. The best of who was available was Greg Robinson (amazing, but doesn't fit a real need), CJ Mosley (awesome) and Eric Ebron (tantalizing talent). My pick is Greg Robinson and I can't even believe I'm writing this, but hear me out. The one concern I had about Robinson pre combine was his athleticism and man did he ever blow that concern out of the water. More than athletic enough to handle LT duties. With him our long term O Line could look like this from left to right Robinson-Beachum-Pouncey-Decastro-Adams. That could be a dominant line for yeeeeaaaars to come.
Round 2: The biggest weakness on our team was our defense, in particular, our secondary, so I'll be leaning towards that position, but let's see who's available. Top players available all seem to fit positions of need. Kyle Fuller and Jason Verrett are available, along with Trent Murphy and Stephon Tuitt on the d line. Fuller is a favorite of 34D, which holds some sway over me since I'm fairly sure he knows what he's talking about. I like Verrett, but he seems a tad small for LeBeau's D. Murphy is one of those players who strikes me as a better college player than he would be a pro. Tuitt however, is interesting. The Steelers have to make a decision regarding Hood v Kiesel. If they pick Kiesel on a 1 year stop gap deal, then Tuitt would be the obvious choice. However, if they pick Ziggy (and I think they should) then taking a rotational DE in the second round with other more pressing needs on the board doesn't make a lot of sense. My pick here is Kyle Fuller from VA Tech. Good cover corner, fits position of need, and has value to boot.
Round 3 (comp): This is where things become kind of a toss up as nobody really knows who is going to be available at this point. One of my favorites is still on the board in Ed Reynolds from Stanford. He's smart, instinctive and has great size at 6'1 207. He reminds of Leroy Butler, a FS for the Packers back in the 90s. He never was the fastest or biggest guy out there, but he knew how to read a QB and was always in position to make a play. I think Reynolds has a little bit of that in him. So he's my pick here.
Round 4: Here is where things get dicey. Do we take a potential NT like Justin Ellis? Or a WR like Devin Street or Josh Huff? Side bar: All the names I'm listing are available according to FanSpeak. We've already addressed O Line, CB, S, so maybe a linebacker like Hubbard from Bama or Kirksey from Iowa. Hubbard raised some eyebrows (okay, they were mine) when he measured in at a legit 6'6 260 pounds with near 35 inch arms. He didn't have the fastest 40, but he has plenty of athleticism as displayed with a 38.5 inch vert. For me this came down to Hubbard or Street. My pick is Hubbard. I like Street, but he reminds of Derek Moye, and we already have Derek Moye on our roster. In the 4th round we can afford to take some risks. Hubbard would have to make a bit of a transition to OLB and might be a better fit for a 4-3 DE, but he worked out at the combine as an OLB so I think he's cool with making the transition. Anyway, I admit I don't know a WHOLE lot about him, so please, if you feel like skewering me in the comments about him, skewer away, m'lads!
Round 5: Who to draft, who to draft, who to draft....Max Bullough is available. Didn't exactly blow up the combine, but a very instinctive player. Don't know what he got suspended for but that does worry me. He's incredibly physical and a real team leader, with limited athleticism. This sound familiar? It should, it sounds like Vince WIlliams, who we already have. However, there is one guy available who I'm lovin more and more whenever I see him play. That is Jeff Janis from Saginaw Valley State. He had 83 catches for 1,500 yards and 14 TDs. Yes, it was at the D2 level, but plenty of NFL receivers have gone the small college route. When going up against his peers at the combine, he blew people away from the measurables aspect. He's a legit 6'3 220 with a 4.42 40 and also threw up 20 reps on the bench just because. Also had one of the fastest 3 cone drill times as well which suggests that he has striding speed, quickness and strength. He's my definite pick, I just hope he's still here in round 5 on ACTUAL draft day.
Round 6: Well look who's available, Michael Flacco. Dare we draft him? Hell to the NOOOOOOO!!!! I'm just having a bit of fun. However, Xavier Grimble IS available and might make a good development project to learn behind Heath for a year or two before he gets his most deserved send off. God I'm gonna miss Heath...Colt Lyerla is also available, but he comes with some SEEERRRRRIOUS red flags regarding certain white powders going up his nose. His talent is undeniable. At 6'4 240, still had one of the best 40s, broad jumps and verts for TEs at the combine. Of course there is also Joe Jon Duncan who at 268 should excel at run blocking. He's been described as extremely smart and a vocal team leader. He sounds like a guy I want on my team. I've never been very much in love with Grimble, but at the 6th round we can take a chance on a small school guy like Duncan. Plus, he has enormous hands. Don't know why I'm mentioning this, but I saw the measurements on NFL.com and holy crap, he has 10.5 inch hands.
Round 7: So Aaron Colvin is still available, which most definitely won't happen. If he were, I'd take him, cause that would be insane value in the 7th round. However, Dri Archer is available, and I wouldn't mind kicking the tires on him in the 7th. This guy is friggin lightning. He's small at 5'8 173, but with that kind of speed and athleticism, I'm sure Haley can find a way to use him. He's small, but he's not weak. He DID put up 20 reps on the bench for what it's worth.
Overview: I went a little against the grain taking Greg Robinson, and honestly, I don't think he'll be here. If he's gone, obviously CJ Mosley is my pick...obviously. But taking him lets us shore up the OLine, Fuller gives us someone to develop at CB to play next to Allen, though probably not this year, Reynolds gives us a safety to learn behind WIll Allen, Shark and Troy (who I think will be back). In the later rounds, we got some good development projects in Hubbard, Janis, Joe Jon Duncan and Dri Archer. All in all, not too shabby, but please skewer away, I'm sure I messed something up in my analysis.