2012 NFL Draft 1st-Round Odds: Pittsburgh Steelers

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2012 NFL Draft 1st-Round Odds: Pittsburgh Steelers
Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images
Dont'a Hightower is the one for the Steelers in the first round this year.

The Pittsburgh Steelers are a team that very rarely "goes with the flow" during the first round of the draft.

They take the player they value as a first rounder and pay little attention to how other teams may value a player.

They also generally use their visits to indicate genuine interest and play few games with smokescreens or misdirection. This tends to give them a much clearer picture of first-round possibilities than a typical team in the late first round.

Which players are the most likely to be chosen by the Steelers at No. 24?

 

50 percent - Dont'a Hightower, LB, Alabama

Hightower has been strongly linked to the Steelers as far back as January, and he makes sense on every level. Need, value and fit all point to a happy marriage; the only question is whether a team like Seattle or Kansas City either trades back or reaches to land him.

He could be a surprise best player available for another team, but all signs point to Hightower joining the Steelers.

 

15 percent - Amini Silatolu, OL, Midwestern State

If the Steelers don't take the linebacker, the offensive lineman who plays with a linebacker's mentality is an interesting possibility. Silatolu would likely slide inside to guard in the pros, but Pittsburgh has needs all over the offensive line.

 

10 percent - Cordy Glenn, OL, Georgia

Glenn's legitimate potential to line up at every offensive line position except for center makes him an intriguing possibility for the Steelers. He is much less likely to be there than Silatolu.

 

10 percent - Kevin Zeitler, OG, Wisconsin 

Zeitler has the highest floor of any guard prospect not named David DeCastro. There are few holes in his game, making him appealing to a Steelers front office that values high-floor players in the first round.

 

5 percent - Dontari Poe, DT, Memphis

Just about the opposite of Zeitler, Poe is probably the biggest boom/bust prospect in the first round.

He could eventually fit as a nose tackle, but he has a long way to go. I don't see him as a match for the Steelers, but many others do, and the chances of him being there at No. 24 continue to go up.

 

5 percent - Trade Down

If Hightower is gone, the Steelers may well just decide to trade back into the second round. There will be plenty of teams looking to deal in the 25-32 range and the Steelers could offer them the chance to beat others to the punch.

 

2.5 percent - Luke Kuechly, LB, Boston College

A longshot and a dream pick, Kuechly would be a coup at 24, but I'm not 100 percent sure that he's ahead of Hightower on the team's board.

 

2.5 percent  - Courtney Upshaw, DE/OLB, Alabama 

Upshaw screams Steelers like his college teammate Hightower, and I have little doubt that they would strongly consider him at 24.

I'm still not sure they would take him over Hightower.

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