Pittsburgh Steelers' 2014 Round-by-Round Draft Big Board
There is no place more sacred to anyone who covers the NFL than the war room. It's the inner sanctum of an NFL franchise, and it is the hive on draft day for your favorite team's collective.
It's where the biggest decisions are made and franchises sink or swim with them. Every NFL franchise outfits their war room with the big board. Every team does it a little different, but the gist is the same. It's that team's particular list of players they want to draft.
No two teams have the same board, and this makes predicting selections a daunting task. Here is a look at what the Pittsburgh Steelers' big board might look like.
The Steelers have plenty of options for their first-round selection. Whether the team wants to start rebuilding its defense or add a playmaker on offense, there will be plenty of good players to choose from with the 15th overall pick.
Another real option for the Steelers in the opening round would be to trade down. Keeping in mind the depth of positions like cornerback or wide receiver, the talent available in the late-20s of the round will be comparable to who they could get with their original selection.
- Justin Gilbert, Cornerback,Oklahoma State
- C.J. Mosley, Linebacker, Alabama
- Kony Ealy, Linebacker, Missouri
- Darqueze Dennard, Cornerback, Michigan State
- Kelvin Benjamin, Wide Receiver, FSU
- Mike Evans, Wide Receiver, Texas A&M
- Austin Seferian-Jenkins, Tight End, Washington
- Ha Ha Clinton-Dix, Safety, Alabama
- Dee Ford, Linebacker, Auburn
Depending on how the first round goes, there are several directions the Steelers could go in the second round. If the Steelers select a wide receiver in the first, they could sternly consider a cornerback or a safety here.
A sneaky pick in this round could be Stanford linebacker Shayne Skov. The Stanford product rebounded from an injury-riddled 2012 season to show himself as the top, pure inside linebacker in the draft. Skov wouldn't be the sexiest pick, but he would be very much a Steelers-like selection.
- Jaylen Watkins, Cornerback, Florida
- Allen Robinson, Wide Receiver, Penn State
- Calvin Pryor, Safety, Louisville
- Kyle Fuller, Cornerback, Virginia Tech
- Shayne Skov, Linebacker, Stanford
- Deone Bucannon, Safety, Washington State
- Odell Beckham Jr., Wide Receiver, LSU
- Stephon Tuitt, Defensive End, Notre Dame
This is where things get interesting. The Steelers should have a late third-round pick as a compensatory selection but not their original choice. That was traded to the Cleveland Browns last year. However, if the Steelers opt for a trade down in the first, this could be where that pays off.
Two third-round picks in this draft means two exceptional players. A defensive tackle like Ryan Carrethers and a wide receiver like Robert Herron would be real steals at this point in the draft.
- Stanley Jean-Baptiste, Cornerback, Nebraska
- Pierre Desir, Cornerback, Lindenwood
- Josh Mauro, Defensive End, Stanford
- Robert Herron, Wide Receiver, Wyoming
- DaQuan Jones, Defensive Tackle, Penn State
- Ryan Carrethers, Defensive Tackle, Arkansas State
- Tre Boston, Safety, North Carolina
- Kyle Van Noy, Linebacker, BYU
From the fourth round on, the Steelers need to turn their focus in one of two directions. They could lean toward bringing in highly athletic players who are a little rough around the edges, like USC safety Dion Bailey, or they could take highly productive players like Dixie State tight end Joe Don Duncan.
- Charles Sims, Running Back, West Virginia
- Mike Davis, Wide Receiver, Texas
- Telvin Smith, Linebacker, FSU
- E.J. Gaines, Cornerback, Missouri
- Dion Bailey, Safety, USC
- Joe Don Duncan, Tight End, Dixie State
- Kelcy Quarles, Defensive End, South Carolina
- Justin Britt, Offensive Tackle, Missouri
By now, the boards of every team are starting to get very thin. At this point, the Steelers should turn their attention to players who've played well in good systems. Look for players with experience who can come in and contribute on special teams right away.
The other side of the coin is to lean toward freakish athleticism. There are a lot of things you can teach a player, but you cannot teach them to have the speed and the quickness of Oregon's De'Anthony Thomas.
- Antone Exum, Cornerback, Virginia Tech
- Josh Huff, Wide Receiver, Oregon
- Aaron Lynch, Linebacker, USF
- Ben Gardner, Defensive End, Stanford
- Justin Ellis, Defensive Tackle, La. Tech
- De'Anthony Thomas, Athlete, Oregon
- Shamar Stephen, Defensive End, UConn
- Ricardo Allen, Cornerback, Purdue
- Prince Shembo, Linebacker, Notre Dame
The sixth round is the time when the Steelers look for project players, whether it's Oklahoma cornerback Aaron Colvin, who is recovering from a torn ACL, or Northwestern quarterback Kain Colter, who looks to be converted to wide receiver. Either way, the Steelers are looking at a player who would have a high risk but a much higher reward.
- Aaron Colvin, Cornerback, Oklahoma
- Cameron Fleming, Offensive Tackle, Stanford
- Dri Archer, Athlete, Kent State
- Matt Hazel, Wide Receiver, Coastal Carolina
- Kain Colter, Quarterback, Northwestern
- Dontae Johnson, Safety, North Carolina State
- Max Bullough, Linebacker, Michigan State
- Rajion Neal, Running Back, Tennessee
At this point in the draft, it's really a crap shoot of the highest order. Sometimes, players slide due to reasons the public aren't privy to, and teams snatch them up. And this year, with so many underclassmen in the draft, this could mean a productive senior could slip a little.
On the other hand, this is often a landing spot for small-school talent like running back Isaiah Crowell or Montana offensive tackle Danny Kistler Jr.
- Marcus Lucas, Wide Receiver, Missouri
- Brandon Dixon, Cornerback, Northwest Missouri
- Kirby Van Der Kamp, Punter, Iowa State
- Zach Kerr, Defensive Tackle, Delaware
- Danny Kistler Jr., Offensive Tackle, Montana
- Isaiah Crowell, Running Back, Alabama State
- Colt Lyerla, Tight End, Oregon
- Zach Moore, Defensive End, Concordia-St. Paul