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NFL 2014 Mock Draft: Steelers biggest hole is filled

It won't come as much of a surprise at who the Steelers would grab if the 2014 NFL Draft fell in the order things sat before Week 5.


1. Jacksonville Jaguars - Teddy Bridgewater QB, Louisville

2014 team needs: QB/DE/OT/LB/LG/DT/OC

Blaine Gabbert nor Chad Henne are the answer at quarterback for Jacksonville. They might be tempted to go for Jadeveon Clowney but they simply have to take Teddy Bridgewater or else Gabbert will sink GM David Caldwell's career much like he did for Gene Smith.

2. Tampa Bay Buccaneers - Jadeveon Clowney DE, South Carolina

2014 team needs: DE/TE/SLB/DT/OT

Tampa Bay pulled the trigger on releasing Josh Freeman so now Greg Schiano's career is tied to Mike Glennon for better or worse. Tampa Bay has burned multiple early round picks on the defensive line, most of which haven't panned out, so they will be forced to do so again after being unable to retain Michael Bennett. Jadeveon Clowney is a once a decade talent and could give TB the type of pass-rush they sorely lack.

3. Oakland Raiders - Louis Nix DT, Notre Dame

2014 team needs: QB/DE/DT/WR/OG/RB

Terrelle Pryor is actually showing signs of life as a potential future starting QB. Plus Oakland has rookie Tyler Wilson as well. Watch for Oakland to trade back in 2014 like they did in 2013. They were seriously considering Sharrif Floyd then and will definitely be interested in Louis Nix should/when they trade back.

4. Pittsburgh Steelers - Jake Matthews OT, Texas A&M

2014 team needs: DE/CB/S/OT

If the Steelers are drafting in the top ten they will use that pick on an offensive tackle as long as Jake Matthews or Taylor Lewan are available, and yes even if for some reason Clowney were still on the board. The offensive tackle play so far this season has been atrocious, prompting the Steelers to trade for Arizona's Levi Brown who is just about the worst pass-blocking tackle in the NFL not named Mike Adams.

Some may point to the youth and inexperience of Mike Adams and Marcus Gilbert, combined with a new blocking system, as a valid reason to bypass taking another tackle so early. Or they could point to the simple fact that both Adams and Gilbert were early rounds busts so why waste another early pick on another potential bust, but none of those are reasons to stop searching for a future cornerstone to protect our battered QB.

Unlike Adams and Gilbert, Jake Matthews is not a second or third tier offensive linemen for his draft class. Had he chosen to enter the 2013 draft he would've been a mid-first round pick. His decision to stay in school was the right choice as he has proven himself worthy of being one of the top prospects in 2014. He has the size, skill, and the bloodlines to become one of the better offensive tackles in the NFL and can finally shore up what has been an uphill battle for the Steelers in terms of protecting Big Ben.

5. New York Giants - Taylor Lewan OT, Michigan

2014 team needs: LG/LB/CB/S

The Giants love spending early picks on pass-rushers so with Justin Tuck and Linval Joseph's pending free agency they could take any numbers of options but if they are drafting this high it would almost certainly have to be an offensive lineman. Or perhaps they will finally address their lack of talent at linebacker and take Anthony Barr.

6. St. Louis Rams - Cyrus Kouandjio OT, Alabama

2014 team needs: S/OT/RG/DT/#3CB

This might be a little early for the Rams to take Cyrus Kouandjio but he fills their biggest need, plus he has a very high upside. Jake Long just isn't the player he used to be. The Rams will also have to contend with Rodger Saffold's free agency in 2014 so a tackle in the first round makes too much sense.

7. St. Louis Rams (via Washington Redskins) - Ha'Sean Clinton-Dix S, Alabama

2014 team needs: S/OT/RG/DT/CB3

With St. Louis have two early first round picks they could afford to reach for a player they really like. Next to offensive tackle the safety position is their biggest need. HaHa C-Dix is very good and would fill a huge hole for the Rams but they could trade back into the middle of the first round and should be able to still get him.

8. Philadelphia Eagles - Sammy Watkins WR, Clemson

2014 team needs: CB/NT/OC/S/WR

Given all of the issues the Eagles have had at wide receiver, namely Riley Cooper's racism and Jeremy Macklin's ACL tear in the final year of his contract, they could definitely be in the market for a WR like Sammy Watkins. While they could go for someone like Mike Evans who would bring size to the receiving corps, someone like Watkins or Marqise Lee would be a better fit for Chip Kelly's offense.

9. Minnesota Vikings - Tajh Boyd QB, Clemson

2014 team needs: QB/OG/SS/DE

QB is the big issue on this offense. If Christian Ponder or the newly signed Josh Freeman can't handle the duties for the rest of the season then the Vikings will be looking to spend another first round pick on a QB. Their second biggest issue is Jared Allen's pending free agency. It's likely that he will command top dollar on the market and because the Vikings have Everson Griffen behind him they will not likely resign Allen which will leave their pass rushing depth depleted. They'll also have to contend with Kevin Williams' free agency as well. Given their affinity for Notre Dame products they will seriously consider Louis Nix and Stephen Tuitt.

10. New York Jets - Anthony Barr OLB/DE, UCLA

2014 team needs: WR/ROLB/S/RT/TE

It's now the Geno Smith era in NY and he'll need some weapons going forward. They lost Dustin Keller to free agency, Santonio Holmes has an injury history and is getting long in the tooth, and Stephen Hill hasn't developed yet. The Jets were going to draft Tavon Austin had he been available in the draft. The perfect option would be TE Austin Seferian-Jenkins or even WR Marqise Lee, but the Jets and Rex Ryan are a defensive-minded team and Anthony Barr should be the top player on their draft board and a perfect replacement for Calvin Pace at ROLB.

11. Carolina Panthers - Mike Evans WR, Texas A&M

2014 team needs: CB/S/RT/RG/WR/WLB

Carolina needs loads of help in the secondary as well as receiving weapons for Cam Newton so this pick should come down to Mike Evans or Bradley Roby. They also need to upgrade the offensive line and plan for the future at left tackle beyond Jordan Gross and could take Justin Hurst or Antonio Richardson.

12. Buffalo Bills - Austin Seferian-Jenkins TE, Washington

2014 team needs: OG/TE/WLB/S/RDE

The Bills released Mark Anderson because he was a disappointment but now that means they'll go into the 2013 season with a hole at the RDE position. On offense they could use another receiving weapon, especially at TE. AFJ is a match-up nightmare similar to Gronk, Jimmy Graham, and Vernon Davis.

13. Cleveland Browns - Johnny Manziel QB, Texas A&M

2014 team needs: QB/RB/CB/WR/ILB

The Browns are a team on the rise, unfortunately they are also stuck in a division with the Ravens, Bengals, and Steelers and until they can find a franchise QB they will be stuck in the AFC North cellar. The front office doesn't seem sold on Brandon Weeden and Brian Hoyer was playing like Joe Montana before going down with a torn ACL. Manziel has some maturity problems but would be a good fit for Rod Chudzinki and Norv Turner's offense.

14. Arizona Cardinals - Khalil Mack OLB, Buffalo

2014 team needs: QB/OT/OLB/S

The offensive line has been the Achilles heel of the Arizona offense for some time now. Unfortunately there isn't an offensive lineman worth taking at this point. On the other side the Cards could definitely use an upgrade at OLB. Playing for small school Buffalo Khalil Mack wasn't going to get many chances to shine this season but was very impressive against Ohio State. His stock could soar even higher depending on the combine and if he decides to play in the Senior Bowl.

15. San Diego Chargers - Marqise Lee WR, USC

2014 team needs: OT/WR/OG/RB/TE/LOLB/SS

The Chargers have two big issues offensively at tackle and at wide receiver. D.J. Fluker was a nice addition but he doesn't have the lateral quickness to protect a QB's blind side. Danario Alexander is just the kind of WR the Chargers love but he tore his ACL in camp and has had serious injury issues throughout his short career and Malcolm Floyd is out for the year as well with injury.

16. Atlanta Falcons - C.J. Mosley ILB, Alabama

2014 team needs: RT/TE/DT/ILB

The Falcons have perhaps the worst linebacking corps in the NFL right now, and their defense as a whole is pretty brutal as well. Getting Sean Weatherspoon back from injury next season will help but they need someone like C.J. Mosley to be the field general for them on defense.

17. Tennessee Titans - Loucheiz Purifoy CB, Florida

2014 team needs: OT/QB/S/CB/DE

Tennessee should have a much improved offensive line in 2013 with the additions of Chance Warmack and Andy Levitre but may possibly have issues at tackle with David Stewart being a free agent in 2014 and Michael Roos in 2015. One big free agency issue they face is with Alterraun Verner. If they can't afford to resign him they need to find a suitable replacement.

18. Chicago Bears - Marcus Roberson CB, Florida

2014 team needs: CB1/CB2

Chicago is going to have a lot of issues at cornerback in 2014 as both Charles Tillman and Tim Jennings will be free agents. They are both on the wrong side of 30 and the Bears were rumored to have almost taken Desmond Trufant in the first round of the 2013 draft so in 2014 they should draft a CB early.

19. Baltimore Ravens - Bradley Roby CB, Ohio State

2014 team needs: LT/CB/WR/OLB

As usual the Ravens will simply draft the best player available. Their biggest needs are at wide receiver and in the secondary. They could go with any number of options at WR but Roby has the potential to be a true lock down CB so getting someone of his talents this late is a steal. He comes with some character concerns but that's never bothered the Ravens in the past.

20. Houston Texans - A.J. Johnson ILB, Tennessee

2014 team needs: ILB/NT/RT/FS

The Texans would love for C.J. Mosley or A.J. Johnson to be available as a starter next to Brian Cushing. In the 2013 draft the Texans were set to take Arthur Brown in the second round until the Ravens swooped in ahead of them. I'm sure they would also be interested in Lache Seastrunk given Arian Foster's injury concerns and Ben Tate's pending free agency. One issue that's plagued the offense is at right tackle. They've tried to use mid-round picks to solve it in the past but either Antonio Richardson and especially James Hurst may be too good to pass up.

21. Miami Dolphins - James Hurst OT, North Carolina

2014 team needs: DT/LT/TE/CB/FS

Jonathan Martin doesn't look like he's going to be able to handle the left tackle duties, although he did fill in for Jake Long in his rookie season and performed admirably so maybe he can turn things around. If not it's back to the right side for him and the Dolphins could take James Hurst who would be a good fit for their blocking scheme. A big issue they will face is that both starting defensive tackles Paul Soliai and Randy Starks will be free agents in 2014. It's unlikely that they will be able to resign both and will need a replacement.

22. Detroit Lions - Aaron Colvin CB, Oklahoma

2014 team needs: OT/CB/RDE/SLB/WR

As usual one of the biggest issues the Lions will face is on the offensive line but as we've seen time and time again they've eschewed those issues. None of the CB's they've drafted recently have seemed to pan out and as such it'll be an issue yet again.

23. Cincinnati Bengals - Trent Murphy DE, Stanford

2014 team needs: SLB/MLB/RDE/OC

On paper the Bengals have one of the most loaded teams in the league and as the 2013 draft showed they are in a position to simply take the best player available. Michael Johnson is a pending free agent and after signing Carlos Dunlap and Geno Atkins to extensions the Bengals will probably let him walk.

24. Dallas Cowboys - Anthony Johnson DT, LSU

2014 team needs: RT/DE/OG/S/DT

When the next free agency rolls around Jerry Jones will have to try and hammer out a deal with Anthony Spencer yet again, or he could try and sign Jared Allen. If he can't do either he'll have to draft a defensive end because Spencer's backup Tyrone Crawford will be coming back from an Achilles tear. They also have a big need at tackle as well.

25. San Francisco 49ers - Kyle Van Noy DE/OLB, BYU

2014 team needs: WR/NT/CB/OC

With Aldon Smith going to rehab the 49ers have to potentially look for a long-term replacement. Regardless of what happens with Smith though, at this point Kyle Van Noy is the best player available. They could also take a CB to groom behind Carlos Rogers.

26. Kansas City Chiefs - Stephen Tuitt DE, Notre Dame

2014 team needs: QB/OG/DE

Tyson Jackson will be a free agent in 2014. He has had a solid if unspectacular career in K.C. but given his lofty draft status he is viewed as a bust. The Chiefs will need to find his replacement and can pick a prefect fit in Stephen Tuitt.

27. Green Bay Packers - Antonio Richardson OT, Tennessee

2014 team needs: ILB/OT/OC/SS

With Bryan Bulaga's ACL tear Green Bay shows why they spend so many picks on offensive linemen. Defensively they need help at ILB and safety so if C.J. Mosley, A.J. Johnson, or Ha'Sean Clinton-Dix were available they would all be options.

28. Cleveland Browns (via Indianapolis Colts) - Lache Seastrunk RB, Baylor

2014 team needs: QB/RB/CB/WR/ILB

Why not use the pick Cleveland received in the trade for Trent Richardson on someone to replace him? While I have no idea what the Browns were thinking when they traded arguably their best offensive weapon, other than intentionally tanking the season to draft a new QB, Seastrunk has the potential to be a much better fit for their offense than was Richardson.

29. New England Patriots - Colt Lyerla TE, Oregon

2014 team needs: TE2/DT/S/CB

The Patriots biggest need will be at CB. Aqib Talib will be a free agent expected to command a lot of money. Belechick has been known to use early round picks on DB's before so they could take a number of players from the second tier of CB prospects. But given the headache of Aaron Hernandez and Gronk's injury history the Patriots may be looking for a pass-catching TE early in the draft. Colt Lyerla is extremely athletic and is only beginning to scratch the surface of his potential. His stock is low because he was underutilized at Oregon before leaving the program but will likely blow people away at the combine.

30. New Orleans Saints - Jackson Jeffcoat DE/OLB, Texas

2014 team needs: OLB/S/OT

Clearly the Saints biggest issue, and really their only issue, is at OLB. This is a little early for Jackson Jeffcoat but he'll fill a huge need and has the talent to be a star provided he can stay healthy.

31. Denver Broncos - Cyril Richardson OG, Baylor

2014 team needs: RDE/DT/WLB/ILB/SS

This is clearly Peyton Manning's team and as such Denver should be using the draft to build around him. The one weak link on the offensive line is Zane Beadles and he'll be a free agent. Richardson can play both guard and tackle in case Ryan Clady takes a while to come back from his Lisfranc injury.

32. Seattle Seahawks - Brandon Coleman WR, Rutgers

2014 team needs: RT/RG/WR/TE/LDE

On offense the Seahawks need upgrades on the right side of the line, tight end, and at wide receiver. They traded for Percy Harvin but he has injury issues and this will probably be Sidney Rice's last season in Seattle. Defensively they may need to replace Michael Bennett if they fail to resign him. Brandon Coleman is a monster wide receiver who would be a mismatch for any cornerback.

Round 2:

33. Jacksonville Jaguars - Cameron Erving OT, Florida State

After trading Eugene Monroe to Baltimore and shifting rookie Luke Joeckel to LT the Jags now have a big hole at RT.

34. Tampa Bay Buccaneers - Eric Ebron TE, North Carolina

With Greg Schiano's career firmly hitched to Mike Glennon's success he had better do everything in his power to make sure Glennon succeeds. Luke Stocker has been a disappointment and it's time to upgrade at TE.

35. Oakland Raiders - De'Anthony Thomas RB/WR, Oregon

The Raiders will be moving on from injury-prone Darren McFadden in 2014. The ghost of Al Davis will be pleased with the offering of De'Anthony Thomas. The Raiders also need another CB and could take Thomas' teammate Ifo Ekpre-Olomu.

36. Pittsburgh Steelers - Ra'shede Hageman DT/DE, Minnesota

During the Kevin Colbert era in Pittsburgh which began in 2000 the Steelers have spent at least one and in most cases two of their top two picks on offensive linemen and front seven defensive players. There have been a couple of exceptions, most notoriously (or should I say dubiously) of which is in 2008 with Rashard Mendenhall and Limas Sweed.

Having drafted an offensive tackle in the first round it's unlikely they would take another lineman here because they would essentially be drafting for depth purposes, of which the Steelers would still need a lineman versatile enough to play both guard and center.

The two starting issues facing the Steelers in the front seven are at end and inside linebacker. Larry Foote will be 34 years old next season and the Steelers are still holding hope that Sean Spence recovers from his knee injury, plus rookie sixth round pick Vince Williams has been holding his own as much as he can in the complex defense that the Steelers employ. If they do go with an ILB FSU's Christan Jones would be an excellent option.

At DE both aging stalwart Brett Keisel and maddeningly inconsistent Ziggy Hood will both be free agents at the end of the season. Because he's still playing at a high level Keisel might come back if the Steelers can reach a modest short-term deal with him. Hood meanwhile may have worn out his welcome in Pittsburgh unless he finally lives up to his first round billing. Even still, if he does play well the Steelers won't be able to afford him. Behind them Al Woods hasn't shown nearly the same potential that he did in the preseason and the Steelers can't count on seventh round rookie Nick Williams or UDRFA Brian Arnfelt to assume a starting role going forward. At this point they are long-term projects at best. Ra'shede Hageman is a beast and if he impresses at the combine could end up as a first round pick.

If the Steelers deviate from the norm or if they resign Brett Keisel, Ziggy Hood, or both they could look at WR and CB. Both Virginia Tech's Kyle Fuller and Antone Exum have the length that the Steelers prefer in their CB's. At WR Odell Beckham has the frame and speed that the Steelers have seemed to prefer recently while Jordan Matthews or Donte Moncrief have the size and physicality that the Steelers Nation has been clamoring for.

37. New York Giants - Will Sutton DT/DE, Arizona State

The Giants love to collect pass-rushers. If Sutton were a little bigger, he's listed at 6'1" and 288 pounds, he would be a surefire first round pick. He's an effective and relentless pass rusher but in the NFL he probably won't be anything more than a situational player.

38. St. Louis Rams - Ka'Deem Carey RB, Arizona

The Rams desperately need an upgrade at RB.

39. Washington Redskins - Jason Verrett CB, TCU

David Amerson is the only CB on the roster guaranteed a spot in 2014.

40. Philadelphia Eagles - Ifo Ekpre-Olomu CB, Oregon

Philly needs lots of secondary help. If IEO were a little bigger he would be a guaranteed first round pick.

41. Minnesota Vikings - Scott Crichton DE, Oregon State

The Vikings may lose Jared Allen in free agency.

42. New York Jets - Jordan Matthews WR, Vanderbilt

The Jets will need multiple weapons for Geno Smith going forward.

43. Carolina Panthers - Kyle Fuller CB, Virginia Tech

Having drafted a WR in the first round Carolina should take the top CB or S here.

44. Buffalo Bills - Morgan Breslin DE, USC

The Bills have to replace Mark Anderson.

45. Cleveland Browns - Gabe Jackson OG, Mississippi State

The Browns are so desperate at OG they traded for John Moffitt.

46. Arizona Cardinals - Zach Mettenberger QB, LSU

Even if Carson Palmer makes them a better team he will still be 35 years old in 2014. Bruce Arians needs a tall, strong-armed QB to direct his vertical offense.

47. San Diego Chargers - Vic Beasley DE/OLB, Clemson

They need a pass-rusher to pair with Melvin Ingram.

48. Atlanta Falcons - Ryan Shazier OLB, Ohio State

Atlanta double-dipped at CB when they needed to in the 2013 draft, now they need to do the same thing at linebacker.

49. Tennessee Titans -Taylor Hart DE, Oregon

The Titans may release Kameron Wimbley and could use some depth.

50. Chicago Bears - Deshazor Everett CB, Texas A&M

Cornerback will be a big enough issue for Chicago that they will need to double-dip at the position.

51. Baltimore Ravens - Odell Beckham Jr. WR, LSU

It's obvious that the Ravens needs more WR's.

52. Houston Texans - Christian Jones LB, Florida State

Houston finally gets an ILB to pair with Brian Cushing.

53. Miami Dolphins - Ego Ferguson DT, LSU

Paul Soliai and Randy Starks will be free agents in 2014 so Miami could take Ferguson, Timmy Jernigan, or the mammoth Daniel McCullers.

54. Detroit Lions - Jared Abbrederis WR, Wisconsin

Detroit is always looking for a number two opposite of Megatron.

55. Cincinnati Bengals - Brian Stork OC, Florida State

The one weak link on the Bengals line is at center.

56. Dallas Cowboys - Ben Gardner DE, Stanford

If Dallas can't sign Anthony Spencer long-term they'll need depth behind George Selvie.

57. San Fransisco 49ers - Dominique Easley DE, Florida

San Fran takes the best player available. Just like with Marcus Lattimore, they have the depth to let Easley sit and heal.

58. San Fransisco 49ers (via Kansas City Chiefs) - Dion Bailey S, USC

Donte "Hitner" will be a free agent.

59. Green Bay Packers - Denzel Perryman ILB, Miami

G.B. needs an upgrade at ILB and could take Perryman or UConn's Yawin Smallwood.

60. Indianapolis Colts - Daniel McCullers DT, Tennessee

McCullers is a monster at 6'8", 360 lbs and would be a great long-term solution at NT

61. New England Patriots - Timmy Jernigan DT, Florida State

New England needs to get younger at DT.

62. New Orleans Saints - Henry Anderson DE, Stanford

N.O. continues to build their 3-4 defense.

63. Denver Broncos - Yawin Smallwood ILB, Connecticut

Denver needs to upgrade at WLB and ILB.

64. Seattle Seahawks - David Yankey OG, Stanford

Seattle needs upgrade at RG and RT.

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