Pittsburgh Steelers 2012 Mock Draft: 7-Round Final Predictions
It's like Christmas Eve for NFL fans. All of the presents are wrapped under the tree and you are just waiting to rip them open. The 2012 NFL Draft is just about here.
Fans of the Pittsburgh Steelers would really like to unwrap a guard, nose tackle or inside linebacker. A tackle or outside linebacker would be helpful as well.
Maybe the team will surprise them with a running back, wide receiver, or safety. There are numerous exciting possibilities.
Pittsburgh will select in the final quarter of the first-round with the 24th spot where should have a number of quality prospects available. In his pre-draft press conference on April 23rd, General Manager Kevin Colbert said, "It is important that the Steelers find a good player." (via Steelers.com).
“As I said many times, you can’t miss on Nos. 1, 2 or 3,” continued Colbert. “Those are premium picks. You shouldn’t miss on a first-rounder. To me, that’s a given.”
Pittsburgh has not missed on a first-round selection since Colbert came to Pittsburgh. He has produced some excellent first-round selections including Casey Hampton, Troy Polamalu, Ben Roethlisberger and Maurkice Pouncey.
Since Mike Tomlin became head coach, the Steelers have alternated selecting offensive and defensive players in the first round. They selected Lawrence Timmons (ILB-2007), Rashard Mendenhall (RB-2008), Ziggy Hood (DE-2009), Maurkice Pouncey (C-2010) and Cameron Heyward (DE-2011) over the past five drafts.
Will Pittsburgh continue this pattern and address the offense by taking a lineman or another receiving option for Roethlisberger? Or will they continue their defensive youth movement by using a pick to improve their front-7?
It is only hours till we find out so here is my final mock draft for the Pittsburgh Steelers. It has been put together based on Matt Miller's final mock draft. Any players taken prior to the Steelers' selection are not available.
So now, as the commissioner will say on Thursday, "With the 24th overall selection of the 2012 NFL draft, the Pittsburgh Steelers select..."
Round 1: Dontari Poe, DL, Memphis
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There are a lot of good players who may be available for the Steelers with the 24th pick.
Dont'a Hightower and Kevin Zeitler could both be very good at inside linebacker and guard respectively. Cordy Glenn has some upside, but I think some of the other guards are better fits.
Instead, I took a risk and went with a player who has top-15 talent and an incredibly high upside: Dontari Poe.
Poe has the size and strength that you ask of a defensive lineman. The talent is there for him to be one of the elite players in the league at his position. Other players may help the Steelers this year and in the future, but their upside is limited by comparison. Poe's work ethic can help him reach his potential.
The Steelers could slowly develop Poe this season with one of the top defensive line coaches in the league, John Mitchell. He will sit behind Casey Hampton and Steve McLendon as they man the position until Poe is ready.
The Steelers need to get younger on defense. Their defense is the foundation of their team so, for that to continue, they need a rock at nose tackle. Poe can man the middle for a long-time and help keep the Steelers' defense at the top of the league.
Other possibilities: Dont'a Hightower, ILB, Alabama; Kevin Zeitler, OG, Wisconsin; Nick Perry, OLB, USC (if available)
Previous selection: Kevin Zeitler, OG, Wisconsin
Round 2: David Wilson, RB, Virginia Tech
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The second-round took an interesting turn leaving the Steelers without any players of value available. While Mychal Kendricks was a serious option (and a player who visited the Steelers), David Wilson was too good to pass up.
Wilson has the look and numbers of an every down back. He had a monster season last year at Virginia Tech in which he ran for 1,709 yards, averaged 5.9 yards per carry and had nine touchdowns. He was a solid receiver as well with 22 receptions.
As with many rookie running backs, Wilson will have to work on his blocking. With Baron Batch as a favorite for the third-down role, Wilson can be eased into the position.
Wilson has good speed and excellent character. He will be a fine compliment to Isaac Redman in the Steeler backfield. Wilson could be a dangerous weapon should he open the door for offensive coordinator Todd Haley to run a 2-back system.
While drafting a running back this early does not fill other positions of immediate need, Wilson is a future starter who could contribute next season. Also, the Steelers are likely to be without Rashard Mendenhall for most of this year even if they decided to re-sign him.
Other possibilities: Mychal Kendricks, ILB, California; James-Michael Johnson, ILB, Nevada; Josh Chapman, NT, Alabama (if Poe is not selected in the first)
Previous selection: Josh Chapman, NT, Alabama
Round 3: Bobby Massie, OT, Ole Miss
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Bobby Massie visited the Steelers and provides great value in the third-round.
Massie was a three-year starter at Ole Miss at right tackle, but can play on both sides of the line. He could even get a shot at guard, though he is tall for the position.
Massie has ideal size at 6'6" 313 pounds and was battled-tested playing in the SEC. He is a solid run blocker and will be a work in progress with his pass protection.
Offensive line coach Sean Kugler can work with players who have upside and Massie fits the bill. He would also add another young lineman to the mix of Maurkice Pouncey and Marcus Gilbert.
If Massie can eventually solidify the right tackle position, their weakness at guard will be masked. If he wins the job, maybe this is the year we seen the oft-injured Willie Colon shift to guard.
Other possibilities: Brandon Mosley, OT, Auburn; Ladarius Green, TE, Louisiana-Lafayette; LaMichael James, RB, Oregon (if Wilson is not selected)
Previous selection: Nigel Bradham, ILB, Florida State
Round 4: Brandon Brooks, OG, Miami (OH)
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Brandon Brooks was another pre-draft invite to Pittsburgh and gives the Steelers another potential starter in round-four.
He is a mountain of a man at 6'5" 346 pounds, but moves surprisingly well. As long as he keeps his weight under control, Brooks can be a force to compete with Doug Legursky and Ramon Foster for a starting job at guard.
Brooks' best attribute is his strength which allows him to overpower defensive lineman. This is particularly importantly playing against some of the elite defenses in the AFC North.
After playing both tackle and guard in college, Brooks has the versatility that the Steelers' coaches like in their linemen.
Other possibilities: Lucas Nix, OG, Pitt; Demario Davis, ILB, Arkansas State
Previous selection: Chris Polk, RB, Washington
Round 5: Jerry Franklin, ILB, Arkansas
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There were no early inside linebackers in this mock, but instead, Jerry Franklin will provide much needed depth at inside linebacker late in the draft.
Franklin had a productive season last year with 101 tackles, 10 of them being for a loss. He added four pass defenses as well.
The Steelers are down a linebacker with the release of James Farrior and will be able to survive with Larry Foote and Stevenson Sylvester sharing time at the position this year.
Previous selection: Brandon Washington, OG, Miami
Round 6: Keith Tandy, CB, West Virginia
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The Steelers lost William Gay in free agency and need to fill his spot on the roster. Keith Tandy is a fine late-round selection to do so.
Tandy has decent size at 5'10" 197 pounds and speed, running just above a 4.5 in the 40-yard dash. Though he does not have tremendous upside, he was productive in college.
During his career, Tandy had 188 tackles, 24 pass defenses and 13 interceptions.
Tandy can play special teams as a rookie and join the talented group of Ike Taylor, Keenan Lewis, Curtis Brown and Cortez Allen. If he develops like Brown and Allen, he should be a contributor with the defense in two or three seasons.
Previous selection: T.J. Graham, WR, North Carolina State
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Case Keenum, QB, Houston
Keenum was a very productive college quarterback who could be the next long-term backup behind Ben Roethlisberger.
Previous Selection: Matt Conrath, DE, Virginia
Matt Conrath, DE, Virginia
It is always worthwhile for the Steelers to take a defensive end prospect and Conrath is a player who could develop nicely.
Previous Selection: Donnie Fletcher, CB, Boston College
Toney Clemons, WR, Colorado
A speedy wide receiver who had a pre-draft vist with the Steelers.
Previous Selection: Joe Long, OT, Wayne State
Randy Bullock, K, Texas A&M
Bullock will challenge Shaun Suisham for the kicking position.
Previous Selection: No Change
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