With the NFL Draft fast-approaching, it's that time of the week where I bring to you my latest mock draft of the 2016 mock draft season (107th, overall).
Who will the Steelers pick in the first round on April 28, and what needs will they look to fill in subsequent rounds, as they try to find the final pieces to their seventh Lombardi trophy?
Won't you join me?
Round 1 (31st, overall): Tyler Boyd, wide-receiver, University of Pittsburgh
That's right, in my latest mock draft, I have the Steelers being aggressive and going after a position of need. With Martavis Bryant out for the entire 2016 season for violating the NFL's substance abuse policy, Markus Wheaton entering the final year of his contract and Antonio Brown approaching his late-20s, it's time for Pittsburgh to upgrade at the receiver position. CBSSports.com currently has Boyd as the fifth rated receiver and 43rd ranked prospect, but I have him number one and seventh in my latest Defeo's Draft Diary. I think Boyd's 4.58 speed will translate to the pro level quite well, and I believe he will make people forget about Bryant fairly quickly, as he also competes with No. 84 for targets.
And nabbing Boyd in the first round isn't the only bit of good news to come out of my latest mock draft; I have Pittsburgh (who was originally slated to draft 25th) moving six slots down and swapping first round picks with the Broncos, in-exchange for Denver's sixth round pick in this year's draft (219th, overall).
Round 2 (58th, overall): Joe Dahl, guard, Washington State
With veteran guard Ramon Foster a fixture on the left side, the Steelers will need to look for David DeCastro's replacement, as the Pro Bowl guard will be entering the final year of his contract. With that in mind, Dahl, at 6'4" and 304 pounds, could be the answer. Rated as a top-15 guard on most draft boards--including 13th in my Diary--Pittsburgh would be getting great value with the 58th pick if Dahl were to fall that far.
Round 4 (99th, overall): Robert Aguayo, kicker, Florida State
With Chris Boswell missing three field goals a year ago and Shaun Suisham shanking a combined eight from 2012-2014 before injuring himself last preseason, Mike Tomlin and Co. seriously need to get the kicking game stabilized.
And what better way than with Aguayo, the top-rated kicker in the draft, according to both WalterFootball.com and my Defeo's Draft Diary?
In another aggressive move, the Steelers acquire the rights to draft Aguayo by trading their third round pick (89th, overall) to the Browns in-exchange for the first selection of the fourth round. But it's OK because Pittsburgh still has its original fourth round pick (123rd, overall), and yet another chance to infuse its budding championship roster with even more talent.
With that in mind...
Round 4 (123rd, overall): Curt Maggitt, outside linebacker, Tennessee
With Bud Dupree only having one year under his belt, the Steelers need someone to challenge him for playing time. What better way than with a top-25 linebacker prospect, someone who played at a big-time college in a big-time conference like the SEC?
Round 6 (219th, overall): Devin Bass, cornerback, Ohio
There's reason to rejoice in Steeler Nation, as Pittsburgh takes further advantage of the Day 1 trade with the Broncos and addresses a major need here with the selection of Bass. A top-100 corner, he's this week's Defeo's Draft Diary Sleeper to Not Sleep On, and, at 5'9" and 190 pounds, Bass will fit in quite well in Pittsburgh's secondary.
Round 6 (220th, overall): Cody Quinn, cornerback, Kentucky
Double your pleasure. Double your fun. After spending all spring wondering if the Steelers will draft a corner, the team goes back-to-back in Round 6 and gets a player of great value in the 5'10", 176 pound Quinn.
Round 7 (222nd, overall): Jacob Coker, quarterback, Alabama
The Steelers seriously need to think about finding the heir apparent for Ben Roethlisberger. That's why I have Pittsburgh aggressively trading its two seventh round picks to move up to the very first slot of the final round in-order to nab Coker, who helped lead the Crimson Tide to a National Title last year, an intangible that might translate to the pro level. With Marcus Mariota under contract, there is no need for the Titans to aggressively pursue Coker. Therefore, it should be an easy sell to convince Tennessee's front office to snatch up two valuable seventh round selections.