The Pittsburgh Steelers need to draft a WR in the 2014 draft. This mock takes a look at the WR's in each round that are projected to be available when the Steelers pick. CBS' Big Board will be the rating system used for players.
I am not necessarily endorsing any particular pick in any particular round, each player will have strengths and weakness looked at and a video link of their highlights you can access by clicking on the players name.
Round 1, Pick 15: Odell Beckham, Jr., LSU, 5' 11" @ 198 lbs
STRENGTHS: Smooth athlete with very good acceleration to get up to top speed quickly. Terrific shake and burst out of his cuts to beat press and do something after the catch - dangerous with the ball. Excellent vision with dynamic moves. Good footwork, timing and depth in his routes to create separation and catch the ball well in stride. Much improved hands, doing a nice job elevating and extending to snare the ball from the air - large catching radius and tracks well. Ball appears to slow down for him at the catch point, making fluid adjustments with natural body control. Speedy and explosive return man on special teams with vision, awareness and toughness to create - two career punt returns for scores. Consistent production all three seasons at LSU with career-highs in 2013.
WEAKNESSES: Only average height and overall body strength - room to get stronger. Lacks elite speed and can be caught from behind by NFL DBs. Timid at times over the middle. Has improved leaps and bounds catching the ball with his hands, but he will still have the occasional drop off his mitts. Missed blocking assignment and needs technique work in this area. Room to improve his judgment and consistency fielding punts. Only 12 career receiving scores in 34 career starts.COMPARES TO: Cecil Shorts, Jacksonville Jaguars - Beckham and Shorts are both exciting players with the ball in their hands and have shown steady improvements catching the ball over the years.--Dane Brugler
Round 2, pick 46: Kelvin Benjamin, FSU, 6' 5" @ 240 lbs.
STRENGTHS: Near-tight end size (6-5, 235) with a ridiculously large wingspan, giving him a catching radius that is probably on-par with anyone at the NFL level. Shows the gliding speed and short-area quickness to create some separation and be a terror in jump-ball situations, especially in the red zone. Big hands, good hand-eye coordination and impressive body control to snatch passes outside of his frame. Tracks the ball well over his shoulder. Experienced playing outside and in the slot and shows courage in crossing the middle. Tough to bring down in the open field, using his long arms to effectively stiff-arm defenders and showing suddenness to accelerate once the ball is in his hands. Attentive downfield blocker who works to seal off defenders as well as peel back to take out opponents in pursuit.
WEAKNESSES: Still developing as a route-runner, adding to questions about his ability to play a large role immediately in the NFL. While his size is problematic for defenders, Benjamin's length makes it difficult for him to sink his hips and explodes out of cuts, making him much better suited to verticals and crossing routes than double-moves, limiting his fit to certain schemes. Drops too many passes. Allows the ball into his chest too often. Will take his eyes off the ball in an attempt to make the defender miss before actually securing the pass, leading to an occasional ugly drop. Seems to especially struggle with low passes, a problem for many taller receivers. COMPARES TO: Plaxico Burress, Pittsburgh Steelers - Possessing impressive acceleration and a similar frame as the 6-5, 232-pound Burress, Benjamin is a big play waiting to happen. The junior remains rough around the edges, however, making him a bit of a boom-or-bust prospect. --Rob Rang
Round 3 compensatory, pick 97: Jared Abbrederis, Wisconsin, 6' 1" @ 195 lbs.
STRENGTHS: Sneaky quickness to get behind the secondary. He does a nice job selling routes and is able to create separation with his footwork, most notably a stutter-and-go double move that he uses to burst past corner. Sets up his moves and understands how to deceive defensive backs. Abbrederis displays excellent field savvy, tracks the ball very well and makes the proper adjustments to extend and pluck with his quick, soft hands. He has excellent field awareness and always appears to know where he is on the field.
WEAKNESSES: Only an average athlete with ordinary straight-line speed. Lacks ideal size. Very little muscle definition.--Dane Brugler
Round 4, pick 118: Jarvis Landry, LSU, 6' @ 205 lbs.
STRENGTHS: Solidly-built frame with above average toughness and body strength. Good build-up speed with smooth quickness and body control. Strong cuts and controlled momentum down the field - very good catch-and-go receiver. Good depth and lean in his routes and won't slow down in his breaks - good patience and plays off defenders to create some room to work. Above average hands-catcher with quick reflexes and ball skills to pluck fastballs away from his body. Strong hands and very good in contested situations - uses his body and arms to out-muscle defenders. Excellent hand-eye coordination. Nice job catching the ball in stride with a little wiggle after the catch - deceiving moves, balance and toughness and not an easy guy to tackle. Fearless and resilient pass-catcher over the middle and in traffic - very determined. Always looking for someone to block. Led LSU in catches and receiving scores the past two seasons. Good special teams coverage experience.
WEAKNESSES: Good size and speed, but limited in both areas. Only average height and length for the position. Takes a few moments to get up to his top-end speed and can be slowed in his routes by physical defenders - will struggle at times vs. press. Not naturally explosive and takes a few moments to gear down - doesn't show the burst to consistently separate with his quickness. Will get his feet tied up at times in his patterns and has room to tighten his footwork. Strong hands, but he'll have his share of focus drops.COMPARES TO: Eric Decker, Denver Broncos - Landry is more reliable with his hands and isn't quite as tall, but he projects similar to Decker with their movements, body control and toughness after the catch.--Dane Brugler
Round 5, pick 157: Mike Davis, Texas, 6' @ 197 lbs.
STRENGTHS: Good-sized athlete with long arms and big hands. Good vertical speed and acceleration to gain a step and beat defenses deep. Quick off the line of scrimmage to beat press and uses hesitation in his routes to get behind the secondary. Tracks the deep ball very well and locates quickly to finish over his shoulder. Large catching radius and uses his length to extend and pluck the ball away from his frame. Natural body control to adjust his frame. Easy acceleration in his routes and has shown steady improvement in his patterns. Uses his extension well as a perimeter blocker and is very competitive in this area. Consistent production in his four years at college, leaving Austin fourth in school history in catches (200) and receiving yards (2,753).
WEAKNESSES: Leggy and tight and more of a straight-line type of athlete. Has some body stiffness. Takes a few steps to get up to full speed when fighting off contact and after gearing down. Needs to develop his route tree and prove to be more proficient on more than just vertical patterns. Struggles to deceive defenders on non-go routes. Not the most natural hands catcher and will have his share of drops. Only average after the catch and lacks the shifty moves or change of direction to make defenders miss. Alligator arms in traffic and needs to play without fear. Questionable mental toughness and appears to get down on himself easily. Sense of entitlement with concerns that he will never be a grinder to reach his full potential.--Dane Brugler
Round 5 compensatory, pick 173: Micael Campanaro, Wake Forest, 5' 9" @ 192 lbs.
STRENGTHS: Smart football player with an extremely detail-oriented skill-set. Flashes natural hands with excellent focus and tracking ability. Watching tape against Boston College in 2013, the game just seems to slow down for him at the catch point to watch the ball into his hands. Isn't small with a solid build and deceiving strength, displaying some power with a stiff arm after the catch. Savvy pass catcher who works soft spots and is a quarterback's best friend, which will endear him to NFL scouts.
WEAKNESSES: Lacks elite wheels or burst and is more of a one-speed type of athlete. Sorter than ideal, and won't consistently separate at the next level. - CBS
Round 6, pick 192: Brandon Coleman, Rutgers, 6' 6" @ 225 lbs
STRENGTHS: Looks the part of an NFL split end, possessing broad shoulders, long arms and great height. Towers over cornerbacks, showing the ability to reach over them and pluck the ball. Possesses a deceptive gait and surprising straight-line speed which helps him sneak over the top for big plays. Can stick his foot in the ground and create space for himself, especially on slants, where he can use his size to shield defenders from the ball. Tracks the ball well over his shoulder. Extends his arms to latch and control defenders as a run blocker, though too often he'll stop moving his feet on contact and fail to sustain.
WEAKNESSES: Doesn't play with the toughness and physicality one might expect given his stature. Is a long-strider with build-up rather than explosive straight-line speed. Struggles to sink his hips and explode back towards the ball, making him a tough target on routes in which he turns back towards the quarterback. Relies on his size to box-out defenders and is too easily knocked off balance. COMPARES TO: Jon Baldwin, San Francisco 49ers - Few receives with Coleman's size have found success in the NFL. Vincent Jackson is an exception and the team that selects Coleman will be hoping that he'll prove the same. Given Coleman's lack of development of his natural tools to this point, Baldwin is a more realistic comparison. --Rob Rang
Round 6 compensatory, pick 215: Jalen Saunders, Oklahoma, 5' 9" @ 165 lbs.
STRENGTHS: Fast off the line of scrimmage with very good acceleration and initial burst. Explosive cuts to catch defenders off-balance with a sharp plant foot in his breaks. Very quick-footed with natural explosiveness to dance and create in space. Good balance and shifty moves to wiggle out of trouble. Quick, controlled hands and will contort his body and consistently secure catches away from his frame. Good catching radius for a target his size. Works the middle of the field well as an inside receiver and finds open zones. Productive after the catch with several big plays on his highlight reel. Adds value as a return man on special teams and averaged 15.0 yards per punt return in college, including three career scores. Very hard worker off the field and prepares like a professional - motivated and determined. Football bloodlines as the nephew of 13-year NFL veteran WR Webster Slaughter.
WEAKNESSES: Smallish frame with narrow shoulders/hips and skinny limbs, lacking the body type to add much muscle. Very light as a ballcarrier and doesn't have much of a power element to his game. Lean frame makes him susceptible to crushing hits, especially over the middle, which creates durability concerns. Tough, but won't seek out contact. Smaller hands and will have some drops. Willing blocker, but very limited. Most of his experience is as an inside receiver and will be relegated to a slot role at the next level.COMPARES TO: Andrew Hawkins, WR, Cincinnati Bengals - Both Hawkins and Saunders are light on their feet and explosive with the ball in their hands, despite size limitations limiting their NFL role.--Dane Brugler
Round 7, pick 230: John Brown, Pittsburg State, 5' 10" @ 179 lbs
STRENGTHS: Dangerous space player with his natural athleticism, speed and instant acceleration. Very controlled movements with decisive start/stop quickness and sharp footwork in his routes. Gets vertical in a hurry. Fluid body type and changes gears well, setting up his patterns and catching defenders off-balance. Proficient route runner for a Division-II player. Smart football player with good vision and run instincts and understands how to win in single coverage. Strong work ethic and pushed himself to bulk up to his current weight. Special teams demon with five career touchdown returns (3 PR, 2 KR) ? averaged 13.6 on PR and 26.9 on KR. Motivated with a can-do attitude and carries himself like a professional. Team leader and a three-time captain. Consistent production the past three seasons (34 career starts), leaving Pittsburg State as the career leader in receptions (185) and combining for 45 career touchdowns (34 receiving, 6 rushing, 3 PR, 2 KR).
WEAKNESSES: Marginal height with a lean, wiry build and appears maxed out physically. Small hands and will have his share of drops, often relying on his body to secure grabs. Balanced, but won?t break many tackles after initial contact and lacks much power to his game. Too easily re-routed and will get pushed around by defenders down the field, especially in traffic. Limited blocker and overall upper body strength to sustain contact.