In this article I have attempted to do a realistic mock draft—as close to an actual real draft as I could come with my limited knowledge of the Steelers and NO knowledge of their actual plans. Also, as we all know, with each pick taken in the real draft, teams' prospect boards adjust to new possible player availabilities.
Even though I have spent more than 18 hours working on this in the last two weeks, it is an impossible task to come anywhere near the real thing. I researched prospect rankings on five different sites in order to come as close as I could to finding out what best available players might be available in each round.
Round One, Pick No. 18—ILB Rolando McClain
We won't pass him up if he falls to the Steelers. If he doesn't fall to them the most likely pick in my mind will be center Maurkice Pouncey. He is a junior. By next year he could be better and stronger at guard than Iupati. While backing up at guard he would be learning the offense and could possibly challenge at center next year.
An unlikely possibility is OT Trent Williams falling as low as pick No. 14 and the Steelers trading up to pick him.
Round Two, Pick No. 52—Best Available CB: Devin McCourty or Kareem Jackson
To the best of my knowledge, they only gave W. Gay a one-year tender and Townsend is hanging in the wind somewhere. That leaves us a possible opening for a player upgrade. Other players considered in Round Two were OT Roger Saffold and ILB Donald Butler.
Round Three, Pick No. 82—OLB Thad Gibson from Ohio State
I had a hard time trying to choose between DTs and LBs. There could be a run on one or the other because of more teams switching to the 3-4 defense this year. I decided to go with LB because of the higher talent level needed to be a better-than-average player. Also, the Steelers seemed happy with first-year DT Rashon Deharris's progress last year.
If we did actually get McClain in the first round, we could trade up here and pick the best available center, J.D. Walton or Matt Tennant. Either one would have good value in the third round. Two other players considered here were SS Major Wright and DT Geno Atkins.
Round Four, Pick No. 116—Best Available Running Back: Ben Tate, Joique Bell or Legarrette Blount
This will add competition in training camp and/or a possible No. 2 running back for the upcoming season. Also considered was QB John Skelton. Though I can't figure out why I would do that, do you?
Round Five, Pick No. 151—OT Toney Washington
Toney Washington is a very athletic OT with some let tackle potential. If Washington is not available, then we pick SS Myron Rolle or the best available FB.
Round Five, Pick No. 164 or 166—FB Rashawn Jackson
He is one of the best blocking FBs in the draft. We are going to use either pick No. 164 or 166 to trade up somewhere in the middle rounds.
Round Six, Pick No. 188—ILB Micah Johnson from Kentucky
Johnson is here in the lower rounds due to an injury last year. He always plays at 100 percent like our man Troy. If not him, then NT Travis Ivey from Maryland to compete with third-year practice squad NT Scott Paxton.
Round Seven, Pick No. 225
We will use this pick on the best available QB for a practice squad addition and more competition.
The other pick at 242 you can figure out. Good luck to us all.