This weekend, I represented the Steelers in the MTD Live Draft hosted at Music City Miracles. First, I'd like to thank TheDUCKin'Noles10 for putting this together, as well as TrueBlue87 and DanRoc for helping to keep this thing running smoothly.
The first round went as expected for the most part. The biggest surprise was Buffalo trading up to 2nd overall to take Greg Robinson. This trade had a pretty big impact on my pick at 15, I think. It meant that St. Louis was now drafting at 9th overall, leading them to take Justin Gilbert just ahead of the Lions.
As the top 10 was unfolding, I set up a trade with the Giants, offering them 15 and my 4th rounder for their 12, contingent on Mike Evans being available. But, since the Rams took Gilbert, the Lions then took Evans at 10, ruining my chances of landing the perfect big-bodied WR for Ben.
So, with my trade falling apart, I sat tight at 15 and jumped at the chance of landing Anthony Barr. I felt he was easily the best player available, with the only other player I considered being Darqueze Dennard. With a lack of depth at OLB and a need to improve the pass rush in the first place, Barr makes a lot of sense for the Steelers. Also, many of you may remember that I was (and still am) against signing Worilds to a long term deal after only a year of decent production. Taking Barr would give the Steelers the option of letting Worilds prove himself for another year, and then decide whether to resign him to a long term deal.
You can read Neal's thoughts and join the discussion of the pick, here.
On a side note, I think I may have screwed the Titans over in taking Barr. They traded back with Dallas, probably hoping to still take Barr and get an extra pick (Dallas took Taylor Lewan at 11). Tennessee then had to settle for RaShede Hageman at 16.
Moving to the second round, I had set up a trade with the 49ers prior to the draft. The terms were his 56 and 94 (2nd and 3rd rounds) for my 46 and 192 (2nd and 6th). However, I told him there were a couple of guys who I would take at 46 if they fell. Those guys were Hageman, Stephon Tuitt, and Kelvin Benjamin, and sure enough Benjamin fell to me at 46. I was very tempted to take the trade anyway, but ultimately took Benjamin.
In hindsight, I might go back and take the trade. My taking Benjamin started a run on WRs, with 7 taken between picks 46-59. Trading back would've put me at the end of that run, so I doubt Benjamin or even Jordan Matthews would've been available, but I could've maybe gotten Donte Moncrief or Martavis Bryant and still picked up a late 3rd round pick.
In the third, I obviously couldn't move since 97 is a comp pick. I had to watch Pierre Desir and Phillip Gaines go off the board, but I was still able to get Ross Cockrell of Duke, which was a nice consolation prize. That ended the action on Saturday, with the 4th round starting on Sunday. I nearly traded up to ensure getting Brent Urban, but wasn't able to get anything done. I got lucky, though, and took him at 118.
Then in the 5th I got hosed a bit. For whatever reason, they enforced a trade deadline at the end of round 4. I saw Walt Aikens falling so at the last minute I traded up as high as I could, eventually reaching a deal with the Vikings to send 156 and 230 (5th and 7th) for 148 overall. However, because of the deadline there were still 8 picks between the end of round 4 and where I was picking at 148. The Colts took Walt Aikens with the pick right before mine, leaving me to scramble for another option. I took Jemea Thomas based on his visit with the Steelers and the hope that he could develop into William Gay's replacement.
With my last 3 picks, I took Ryan Carrethers, Rob Blanchflower, and Austin Wentworth with 173, 192, and 215, respectively. All were pretty good value on our big board, and should be able to compete for roster spots as early as this year.
I have to say if those first 4 picks come true, I would be ecstatic. They hit our four biggest needs, in my opinion, and are all great value. My last 4 picks were admittedly not as strong, but I think they still fill needs and were pretty good value, with maybe the exception of Thomas.
So, what do you all think? Let me know your thoughts in the comments, and thanks again for letting me represent the best fan base in the NFL!