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2018 NFL Mock Draft: Latest Mel Kiper Mock Draft has Steelers going OLB — again

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Could the Steelers draft another outside linebacker? Mel Kiper Jr. thinks so.

NCAA Football: Georgia Spring Game Brett Davis-USA TODAY Sports

The 2018 NFL Draft is getting closer, and with each passing day, each passing free agent acquisition, fans are clamoring to read who their favorite team will be taking when their time to pick comes.

This is where NFL mock drafts help give people their proverbial fix until the big day actually comes. Now, when it comes to mock drafts, certain analysts carry more clout than others. For instance, the ESPN duo of Todd McShay and Mel Kiper Jr. are among the most criticized analysts in the NFL Draft space.

Nonetheless, people love to hate their picks, mainly because they value their opinion in some way. In the latest Mel Kiper Jr. Mock Draft 3.0 the expert puts his spin on every NFL team’s first round draft pick.

But first, the criteria for Kiper’s method to his madness:

Two reminders before I get started, same as always:

There are no trades allowed in this projection, and several of these picks are based on who I think is the best player available. In some cases, I have identified a few needs that could be targeted.

An asterisk denotes a prospect who is an underclassman.

So, who does he have going to the Pittsburgh Steelers? An inside linebacker? Nope. A safety? No. A quarterback to eventually replace Ben Roethlisberger? No again.

Try an outside linebacker — again.

See Kiper’s justification for the pick:

28. Pittsburgh Steelers

Lorenzo Carter, OLB, Georgia

Yes, the Steelers took an edge rusher in T.J. Watt in the first round of last year’s draft, but I still think this is a position of need. Bud Dupree hasn’t quite broken out like we thought he might when he was selected on Day 1 in 2015. The reason I’m going with Carter here is because he could potentially play inside linebacker, too, taking over for Ryan Shazier. Carter showed versatility at Georgia and wasn’t always asked to rush the passer -- he had only 9.5 sacks over the past two seasons.

To Kiper’s credit, Carter does possess a tremendous amount of versatility, but to think he would be able to come in a play as an inside linebacker on Day 1 might be a bit of a stretch. In other words, taking a project, again, in the first round is a true gamble which has backfired in the past on Pittsburgh.

Of course everyone will debate this pick, and give their opinions, but I also like to state which prospects the Steelers might be targeting are off the board before Pittsburgh takes to the podium with their selection.

Off the Board:
Rashaan Evans — Dallas Cowboys (No. 19)
Leighton Vander Esch — Rams (No. 23)
Just Reid — Carolina Panthers (No. 24)

So, what do you think of the Carter pick? Worth a gamble? Or just ridiculous? Let us know in the comment section below!