A Look at the Pittsburgh Steelers NFL Draft Options

Curt Popejoy@@nfldraftboardContributor INovember 7, 2013

CHAPEL HILL, NC - OCTOBER 17:  Eric Ebron #85 of the North Carolina Tar Heels during their game at Kenan Stadium on October 17, 2013 in Chapel Hill, North Carolina.  (Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images)
Streeter Lecka/Getty Images

The Pittsburgh Steelers are going to have some serious decisions to make this offseason. This is a franchise that has robbed Peter to pay Paul for the past several seasons. It has reaped the benefits of three trips to the Super Bowl and two championships.

No complaints about that, but now that it's time to rebuild this roster, the 2014 NFL draft is the beginning and it is key.

Sep 21, 2013; College Station, TX, USA; Texas A&M Aggies offensive lineman Jake Matthews against the SMU Mustangs at Kyle Field. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports
Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

There are really two options the Steelers can explore on draft day. If we assume that the Steelers will continue to struggle, a top-five or top-six pick is all but assured.

From here, it's a matter of make the pick or trade the pick. There will almost certainly be teams interested in the Steelers' first-round pick, especially if there is a quarterback on the board other teams covet. For this exercise, it nets the Steelers an additional second-round pick, which would more than make up for the third-round selection traded away last year so that the Steelers could draft safety Shamarko Thomas.

So, with all that, let's take a look at two different mock draft scenarios for the Steelers based on these two different approaches.

Mock Draft, NoTrades
1Jake MatthewsOffensive TackleTexas A&M
2Kyle FullerCornerbackVirginia Tech
4Cody HoffmanWide ReceiverBYU
5Ryan GroryGuardWisconsin
6Nickoe WhitleySafetyMiss. State
7Colt LyerlaTight EndOregon

And here's a little different look at the same draft, but with a move down in the first round.

Mock Draft Two, One Trade Back w/ Extra 2nd Round Pick
1Antonio RichardsonOffensive TackleTennessee
2Eric EbronTight EndNorth Carolina
2Antone ExumCornerbackVirginia Tech
4Cody HoffmanWide ReceiverBYU
5Josh MauroDefensive End/TackleStanford
6Nickoe WhitleySafetyMiss. State
7Dakota DozierGuardFurman

While there are some similarities between the two, these drafts would yield very different groups of prospects. In the first draft, it is obviously risky to even consider Lyerla, but his talent level warrants a pick, and this late in the draft, there is almost no risk if he is unable to get his act together.

SOUTH BEND, IN - OCTOBER 20:  Cody Hoffman #2 of the BYU Cougars moves around a teammate against the Notre Dame Fighting Irish at Notre Dame Stadium on October 20, 2012 in South Bend, Indiana. Notre Dame defeated BYU 17-14.  (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Gett
Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

Both of these drafts would give the Steelers an upgrade at offensive tackle as well as cornerback right out of the box. The addition of Ebron in the second draft would give the Steelers an heir apparent to tight end Heath Miller. The addition of Hoffman at wide receiver in both drafts, would give the Steelers flexibility when negotiating with wide receivers Jerricho Cotchery and Emmanuel Sanders.

Should the Steelers chose to re-sign safety Ryan Clark, the pick of Whitley in both drafts could be replaced with a running back like Tennessee's Rajion Neal or a massive nose tackle like Zack Kerr from Delaware.

This is a draft class that looks prime for a trade back if the Steelers can swing it. There's not one player in this draft that will fix this team, and so it would be prudent if they could stockpile some picks and do their due diligence to find impact, not project, players.