Pittsburgh Steelers: 7 Ideal Picks in the 2013 NFL Draft

Joe Tordy@@joetordyAnalyst IJanuary 25, 2013

Pittsburgh Steelers: 7 Ideal Picks in the 2013 NFL Draft

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    It would take a little bit of luck for the Steelers to land all of these prospects in the 2013 NFL Draft.  If they do though, they'll have taken a huge step up on the Stairway to Seven. 

    Alright, fine. 

    Maybe it would take a lot of luck.

    Here’s what a near-perfect draft would look like for the Pittsburgh Steelers this year.

Round 1: Jarvis Jones, OLB, Georgia

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    This one would take some doing and would absolutely require trading up.

    However, there are some concerns that could cause Jones to slide out of the top five.

    First of all, Jones’ medical red flags are well documented.  He suffers from spinal stenosis—according to the National Center for Biotechnology Information, this means that he has a narrowing of the spinal column that causes pressure on the spinal cord.  Since doctors at USC would not clear him to play, he transferred to Georgia.

    Secondly, reports are surfacing that he lacks ideal size and weight to be a consistent force in run defense, in particular when it comes to using his hands to shed blocks. 

    Finally, he may not test out well at the combine due to his stature, which might push some teams who look for weight room warriors out of the Jones sweepstakes.

    In my opinion, the number to watch for on draft day is eight.  Specifically, the Steelers know that the New York Jets run a 3-4 defense as well and are picking at No. 9.  Jones will likely not slide past them as they, too, are seeking a pass-rusher. 

    According to Scott Wright’s Draft Countdown, for the Steelers to move up from No. 17 to No. 8 would not require a Julio Jones or RGIII-type haul of draft picks.  Buffalo might play ball with the Steelers for the right price, as they should look to stockpile picks in this draft.

    The Steelers have moved up in the first round before when they found players that they coveted sliding toward them.  Landing Troy Polamalu in 2003 required a jump from No. 27 to No. 16, while Casey Hampton and Santonio Holmes also became Steelers as a result of first-round trades. 

    If Jones gets past Arizona at No. 7, look for the Steelers to jump into the fray for this impact player.

Round 2: Eric Reid, S, LSU

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    A poor showing in the Chick-fil-A Bowl by the Bayou Bengal benefits the Steelers, as they snag a first-round talent in the second.  Capable of playing either safety position, the LSU product can lay the lumber and create turnovers as well.

    He is not as highly touted as Kenny Vaccaro or possibly Matt Elam at this point, but he is a big body with a nose for the ball, and watching all three on tape, I feel that Reid may have the biggest upside.

    If Ryan Clark and Troy Polamalu are healthy next year, it will buy Reid time to learn the defense and grow into Dick LeBeau’s system.

Round 3: Ace Sanders, WR, South Carolina

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    Pittsburgh traditionally does well taking wide receivers in the third round, with recent examples being Mike Wallace and Emmanuel Sanders. 

    Ace's knack for finding soft spots in the defense and collecting yards after the catch make him an ideal fit for Todd Haley's short passing attack. As another plus, his electric return skills call Dante Hall to mind.

    He is a high-character guy whose college production should translate well to the NFL.  He’d be a great fit for Pittsburgh here.

Round 4: David Amerson, CB, NC State

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    Many experts pegged this defensive back as a lock to be a top-15 selection in this draft before the season, but an uneven year has caused his stock to slide.

    Amerson has shown flashes of playmaking brilliance throughout his three years at NC State but hasn’t been consistent to this point.  He would be an incredible fit to contribute right away, with ideal size and ball skills. 

    His tendency to gamble will remind some of Asante Samuel, but his build and speed are reminiscent of Antonio Cromartie.

Round 5: Nico Johnson, ILB, Alabama

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    With all of the big names on Alabama’s defense, Johnson is a bit overshadowed.  However, he is stout in run support and would be a good potential successor to Larry Foote in the “Buck” linebacker role if Sean Spence isn’t ready to go.

    Johnson could be a huge steal if he is available here in the fifth round, and Steelers fans should pay close attention if he is still available in this spot.

Round 6: Michael Dyer, RB, Arkansas Baptist

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    The former Auburn Tiger has fallen from grace after character concerns ran him out of town at two different schools.

    However, his talent is undeniable, and Steelers GM Kevin Colbert has said that he won't shy away from players with character risks.  He was a huge part of Auburn's championship season as a freshman, and with the stable of backs that the Steelers already have, Dyer’s lack of experience catching passes shouldn’t be an issue.

Round 7: Sean Renfree, QB, Duke

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    A serious pectoral injury dinged Renfree’s draft stock significantly, and as a result, he’s here to upgrade the Steelers’ backup quarterback situation. 

    His record-setting Belk Bowl performance shows his potential when at full strength, and he’s been proficient in a pro-style offense throughout his career at Duke.