I can remember my mom saying when I was a kid, “If your friends jumped off a bridge, it doesn’t mean you have to too”, In fact, I think my wife said that very same thing to me just last month”.
In all actuality, I’m not one to usually follow the crowd. I try to be a leader, not a minion. My schemes are sometimes very harebrained and I struggle to get people to jump on my bandwagon, but I try to lead nonetheless.
But this time around, I’m going to join the fray and do a mock draft.
But it’s not just any old mock draft, it’s a seven-round draft. And it’s not any old seven-round mock draft, it’s a seven-round mock draft complete with free agents that go undrafted and get picked up by the Steelers.
Like I tell my kids, don’t just check the box to get a task done. Try to be original. While other mockers try to prognosticate and be experts, my goal is to not take my self too serious. It’s kind of like mockery of the mock draft process. If I get one guy right out of the 18 names that I have listed below, I’ll consider that a victory and myself “BAD Exotic: Draft King”.
Here’s what I got...enjoy.
Round 1, Pick No. 18
S Minkah Fitzpatrick, Alabama
Okay, so we already know this. Trading with Miami for the second-year man, Minkah Fitzpatrick, last season is the reason that the Dolphins are picking at No. 18 and not the Steelers. But I crave draft day hype and never got to celebrate the selection of No. 39 with fanfare. So, give me this one.
Fitzpatrick plays with an intensity level higher than a Megadeth concert back in the day. He is versatile enough to play all over the field and Nick Saban calls him at the best defender that he’s ever coached. His football acumen, high character and desire to succeed should make him an early starter.
Round 2, Pick No. 49
RB J.K. Dobbins
I don’t know if Dobbins will still be available for the Steelers with their first selection, but I’ve seen him slip to them more and more recently and I’m starting to drink the Kool-Aid. That doesn’t necessarily mean that the Ohio State runner will be there, but I choose to remain optimistic. Dobbins has the body of a Greek god and plays with the power of one. He’s a one-cut, three-down runner that can share time and make an impact immediately. His biggest attribute is durability and the penchant for playing with pain. The reason he’s being considered here is the injury history of James Conner.
Alternate Reality Pick: WR Rod Tidwell - Arizona State University
Played by Cuba Gooding Jr. in “Jerry McGuire” - 1996
The Steelers scored an epic talent by selecting the dynamic and extravagant wide receiver from Arizona State and the Cardinals. However, they also may have drafted a player with the titanic ego of Antonio Brown with one very much the equal. On the field, Tidwell is quite possibly AB’s equivalent with similar numbers and should prosper with Ben Roethlisberger as his quarterback and new “minister of kwan”. Things should be fine initially, but it remains to be seen how the man that coined the phrase “show me the money” will fare at contract time and while sharing the spotlight with JuJu Smith-Schuster.
Round 3, Pick 102 (compensatory)
EDGE Bradlee Anae - Utah
Bradlee Anae is an ornery player that I originally had going in the second round. But with a deep pool at the EDGE spot, The Steelers may be able to nab the second-generation player with their third pick. The 6’3” and 265-pounder can be a real difference maker with his high motor and situational awareness. If they grab him at No. 49, it still will be a great grab.
Alternate Reality Pick: DE/LB Charles Jefferson - Ridgemont (HS) Wolves
Played by Forest Whitaker in “Fast Times At Ridgemont High” - 1982
Charles Jefferson is a combination of Ryan Shazier’s speed, Levon Kirkland’s size and Greg Lloyd’s nastiness. The Ridgemont High star can go sideline-to-sideline to punish ball carriers, as well as penetrate past the highest quality of protectors to opposing quarterbacks. In the Homecoming showcase against California-prep rival Lincoln, Jefferson viciously and mercilessly punished the team that allegedly vandalized and destroyed his Camaro Z-28 a mere days before the contest. Jefferson was alleged to have accepted the car as a gift from boosters, thus causing this once-in-a-lifetime talent to slip to the Steelers in the third round.
Round 4, Pick 124
WR Antonio Gandy-Golden - Liberty
Gandy-Golden has great size at 6’4” and very good hands. Although not a precise route runner, AGG gets separated from defensive backs and adds plenty of yards after the catch. He can be a value deep threat to add to a good stable of receivers.
Alternate Reality Pick: DB Petey Jones - T.C. Williams (HS) Titans
Played by Donald Faison in “Remember The Titans” - 2000
Petey Jones was an important cog in the machine that was the newly-integrated T.C. Williams Titans in their epic Virginia State Championship victory for Coach Herman Boone. A running back that converted to the defensive backfield, the hard-hitting Jones has the ball skills as well to play both safety and corner for Pittsburgh.
Round 4, Pick 135 (from Miami, from Tennessee)
G Solomon Kindley - Georgia
The 6’3” and 337-pound Kindley is a scrapper that pays with a nasty disposition. The Georgia Bulldog is solid in one-on-one situations and handles a bull-rush well in pass protection. Could be a good depth piece his first year in Pittsburgh with Ramon Foster and B.J. Finney no longer in black-and-gold.
Alternate Reality Pick: T Bud Kaminski - ESU Timberwolves
Played by Abraham Benrubi in “The Program” - 2003
In this round, the Steelers select the man known as Bud-Lite from Eastern State University. Kaminski known for crooning “Git along, Little dogies” at the line was tasked with protecting the T-Wolves Heisman candidate, Joe Kane. At 6’7”, Kaminski is an imposing figure but needs to add to his 270 pounds. Bud may have to rope dogies on the practice squad if he can’t work his way past Chuks Okorafor at the tackle position.
Round 6, Pick 198
S Tanner Muse - Clemson
Muse might have to be selected earlier, but he’s perfect for what the Steelers need. The 6’2” hybrid isn’t speedy, but his ability to play linebacker and cover the tight end could make him an eventual favorite in Pittsburgh. Muse has 14 breakups and seven picks as a collegian. The Clemson Tiger can come in right away and make an impact on Special Teams.
Alternate Reality Pick: RB James “Boobie” Miles - Permian (HS) Panthers
Played by Derek Luke in “Friday Night Lights” - 2004
Pre-knee injury, Miles echoed memories of Marcus Dupree as possibly the most sensational prep running back in history. But afterwards, the physical specimen known as “Boobie” could never get back on the gridiron. The confident Miles who once quipped, “You want to win, put Boobie in”, is hungry for a comeback and well worth the flier for the Steelers.
Round 7, Pick 232
OT Colton McKivitz - West Virginia
The four-year starter for the Mountaineers has spent tackle time on both the right and left sides. The 6’6”/ 306 lb. McKivitz has a blue collar mentality, gets to his blocks and can get nasty. McKivitz can add much needed depth to an aging offensive line.
Alternate Reality Pick: G/C Laikai Manumana - Texas State Armadillos
Played by Peter Tuiasosopo in “Necessary Roughness” - 1991
Legendary Armadillos play-by-play man, Chuck Neiderman, labeled the gentleman lineman from Texas State “Manumanu the Slender”. With great size and agility, the center cemented his legacy when he laid-out All-American Harlan “Flattop” Meyers of the then No. 1 Texas Colts freeing QB Paul Blake to throw the winning score in the epic upset to end their freshman season. Manumanu has a good shot at winning the backup job and adding depth to the line.
Undrafted Free Agents
S Nigel Warrior - Tennessee
The 6’ Safety has a cool name and was All-SEC and gets down in the box well on run plays.
OT Jon Runyan Jr. - Michigan
The 6’3”/321 pounder is a twice All Big 10 and an NFL legacy.
ILB Shaquille Quarterman - Miami (Fla.)
The four-year starter is a durable leader and a physical presence on the inside.
WR Maurice Ffrench (not a typo) - Pittsburgh
The from Pitt had 96 catches in 2019, breaking Larry Fitzgerald’s 2003 record by four.
CB Reid Harrison-Ducros - Duquesne
The local product has superb agility and incredible speed at 4.38 seconds in the forty.RHD had two picks in 2019.
P Alex Pechin - Bucknell
The two-time AP All-American averaged 44.5 yards-per-punt over five years. He has field goal experience too.
RB Salvon Ahmed - Washington
The scatback doesn’t have great speed, but run for 1,020 yards and 11 TDs in 2019.
DL Robert Windsor - Penn State
The Nittany Lion senior had 14 sacks (7.5 in 2018) in his four-year career.
EDGE Ron’Dell Carter - James Madison
Ninth all-time at JMU with 23 sacks.
TE Nigel Kilby - Southern Illinois
Only 13 catches as a senior, but first TE over 6’7” to run a sub 4.7 (4.66) at the combine.
QB Nate Stanley - Iowa
Stanley could get drafted, he’s been linked to the Steelers. But the 6’4” passer had average throwing stats. He did lead the Hawkeyes to a 27-12 records (3-0 in Bowls) and started all 39 games in his career.