Obviously its impossible to do a completely accurate mock draft, but from the Steelers perspective I thought it would be interesting to do a mock based on some educated guesses on how recent drafts have played out.
One: Since the 2011 rookie wage restructuring, there has been an average of SEVEN (7) draft day trades in the first round. (2011: 6 2012: 8 2013: 7)
Two: No consensus top QB makes it hard to see who goes where, but I am going with the assumption that certain teams are going to look to round two or trade back up late in the first to get their guy instead of picking in the top 14.
Therefore, I'm INTENTIONALLY playing out a scenario where no QB is taken in the top 14, just to see how it affects the Steelers. Please don't give me crap for this.
Three: as unlikely as this is anyway, for the purpose of this mock draft the Steelers will not be trading up. After all, the point is to see what the Steelers would do at #15 in this scenario.
So without further ado, here is what I think will happen leading up to the Steelers picking at 15, and then I'd like to see you would do if you were the Steelers. Enjoy!
Kind of a no-brainer at this point: The Texans can't afford to pass up on the top talent in the draft, and no other prospect is likely here besides a QB.
This one makes a lot of sense. The Browns seem to REALLY Like Sammy Watkins, But its possible he wont be there at 4, leaving Cleveland at risk of no Watkins, no Mack, no Clowney available, which would be a minor disaster. They shouldn't leave this to chance.
So for like the #4 pick and a 3rd (lets say the pick they got from the Steelers: 83rd overall) St. Louis wouldn't mind moving down two spots and getting the player they were planning to take at #2 anyway.
The Jags might prefer Clowney, but Mack is a close second. This is a virtual lock in this scenario.
4) St. Louis Rams (From Cleveland): Greg Robinson, OT, Auburn
Rams get an extra top 100 pick (Yes, we can quibble with my choice of compensation to the Rams moving down, but that's just splitting hairs) and get their guy anyway. Nicely done.
I think this is the most likely pick to be traded, and in my estimation the most likely trade partner. Oakland has shown a willingness to take less than the "chart" says you should in the past, but for Pick #18 plus two others (lets say The Jets 2nd and 5th rounders) is plenty for a pick Raiders would love to trade down from anyway.
The Jets make a splash, get a big play guy they desperately need, and makes Radio City buzz with excitement.
Ok, I admit I'm baffled as to why many mock drafts project Lewan here when Jake Matthews is available as well. I have no idea why Matthews is sliding, but I'm going to go with it and assume this projection is based upon some actionable intelligence with the Falcons. (Or if everyone is just full of it, I might as well be too.)
Full Disclosure: I really think in this scenario the Bucs would take Manziel, but I wanted to play out kind of a "worst case scenario" for the Steelers in that 14 non-QB prospects are taken ahead of them.
So in this non-QB scenario, I think they try to trade down and I only see Jake Matthews still with top-5 value on some boards. Although they have a new front office, the Dolphins haven't been shy about trading up in the past, and there are legit rumors about Miami trading up to #8 to get Matthews, so why not here at #7?
Again, in this no QB scenario, Tampa would love to move down and it might not take much to entice them.
Almost everywhere the Vikings are reflexively being mocked a QB, but I don't see it as such a slam dunk others do. Its all about value, and does taking a QB at #8 make sense when there might be 5-6 QBs of equal value available? The Vikings might say hey, we reached for Ponder, that didnt work out so well- lets just take the best player and see what falls to us in round 2. There's credible pushback against the notion that the Vikings will draft a QB at #8.
I haven't seen anyone else mock Donald this high, but why not? He's a Geno Atkins clone and don't forget who coaches the Vikings now. Some have Donald rated as the second best defensive player in the draft. Ok, so that's Mel Kiper, but still!
Yes he is sliding in a lot of scenarios, but I think if the draft lined up like this, the Bills would go this route. Ebron is actually a much better fit in Buffalo, and wouldn't be as terrible a pick for them as it would be for say, Pittsburgh. Everyone in Steeler nation breathes a small sigh of relief.
I personally hope this doesn't happen, but the Lions seem to love him. While they could go with Gilbert too, my guess is they will assume a comparable CB will be available in round 2, while a comparable pass rusher with the upside of Barr is more scarce.
11)San Francisco 49ers (From Tennessee): Odell Beckham, WR, LSU
Rumor has it the Niners covet Beckham and have the picks to move up. Much like the Lions, the Titans could very well assume that a CB would be available at #30 who is just as good as #11, so trading down is a easy call.
I think the 49ers were wise to trade up to #11, because Beckham would have been a likely target for the Giants here. In this scenario, the Giants, much like the Steelers, fall into best player available mode. While there would be plenty of debate as to who the BPA is at #12, I think the Giants would be pleased to pick Mosley, as LB has kind of been a black hole for them as of late- and can they really rely on two straight healthy seasons from Jon Beason?
13)St. Louis Rams: Ha Ha Clinton-Dix, S, Alabama
I see no reason to disagree with the common assessment that HHCD will be taken by the Rams, especially if the draft plays out like this. But I wouldn't be overly shocked if they went with a wideout, as the projections indicate that that there will be a run of receivers late in the first round, which obviously means they'd miss out if they waited till round 2. If the mock drafts are good for anything, its to help teams project how long a prospect will last- no team wants to take a guy a round too early if they dont have to. The problem is, if its a wideout, then who? That's why I think they go this route.
It looks likely the Bears would go DB here and open up a potential CB run with a mild upset. Not Dennard, Not Gilbert, But Fuller. I know this will bum some Steeler fans out, but hey, I didn't want to make it TOO easy for you at #15, did I?
So this means the Steelers are on the clock. What would you have them do?
I hope you enjoyed my mock! Thanks for reading.