2012 NFL Draft: 7-Round Mock Draft for the Pittsburgh Steelers
As the season comes to a close, the Steelers have put themselves in playoff contention and will, as always, be a contender when it comes to crunch time. This means that the Steelers will draft late in each round, though as this is a fairly deep draft the team will still be able to pick up some elite new talent.
This is, obviously, only a prediction of what could happen, so please feel free to put forward your own selections below.
Round 1: Kelechi Osemele—OG (Iowa State)
Kelechi Osemele is a huge offensive lineman out of Iowa State, where he plays left tackle. However, at the NFL level he will most likely move inside to guard or over to right tackle.
At 6’6”, 345 lbs., Osemele has great size to complement his strength, and long arms, giving him the natural tools to be an effective interior blocker.
Osemele has great technique, bending at the knee and not the waist, and letting the defenders come onto him rather than reaching out for them while absorbing contact. He has quick feet, though not quite elite, and consistently finishes off his blocks well.
There are some small durability concerns with Osemele, as with all people his size. His weight will have to be strictly regimented to avoid him ballooning up in size (Max Starks anyone?) but otherwise he is a solid prospect who can anchor the Steelers line alongside Maurkice Pouncey for the next decade.
Round 2: Casey Hayward—CB (Vanderbilt)
Vanderbilt’s Casey Hayward is a very talented corner, but will fall due to this draft being absolutely stocked with talent, especially in the secondary. This could turn out to be to the Steelers gain if Hayward does fall to them.
Hayward is a talented cover corner who excels in the zone, but is little more than average when it comes to man-to-man. He delivers a good jam at the line and has a solid backpedal.
During his college career, he has faced and shut down elite competition, including Alshon Jeffery of South Carolina. Hayward is also great in run support, racking up over 120 tackles at Vanderbilt.
His speed is not elite, as he runs a 4.49-4.55 40-yard dash, and he does not have elite size. However, Hayward is compact and powerful and likes to play aggressive and physical against receivers, though he can get carried away with it at times, leading to a few penalties.
Round 3: Kwame Geathers—NT (Georgia)
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An absolute beast of a player who could fill the nose tackle position once Casey Hampton retires, Kwame Geathers is a true two-gap player. At 6’5”, 350 lbs., Geathers can plug up the running lanes between the tackles as the "Big Snack" has done for the last decade.
Geathers is still raw and in all honesty would be better off spending another year in college. However, as the three previous members of the Geathers family who have entered the NFL have all done so in their first year of eligibility, I will presume that Kwame will do the same.
Geathers needs some refinement of his technique, working on dropping his pad level when engaging, as well as trying to be more consistent, as he had only seven tackles in his first season at Georgia and only 13 in 2011.
Geathers is most likely a two-down nose tackle, solid against the run but not a great pass rusher. However, Steve McLendon has shown some good pass-rushing ability in limited duty and could fill this role.
Round 4: George Iloka—FS (Boise State)
George Iloka is a big, athletic free safety at 6’3” and he runs a 4.5 40-yard dash. Sitting behind Ryan Clark for a year will give him a chance to iron out any lingering technique issues and put him in position to challenge Clark as the starter.
Iloka has over 200 tackles in his college career, showing a knack for finding the ball carrier. With seven interceptions so far at Boise State, including four as a freshman, Iloka is also a capable ball hawk.
However, as a converted wide receiver, Iloka still has work to do on his form tackling, as he's missed quite a few, despite his tackle total. He is also not refined enough in zone coverage to be an immediate starter, which will take work once getting to the NFL level, though Carnell Lake will have plenty of time to work with him.
Round 5: George Bryan—TE (N.C. State)
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Bryan has shown himself to be a well-rounded tight end while at North Carolina State. With the Steelers running more and more two and three-tight end sets, depth and talent at the position is becoming ever more important.
At 6’5”, 265 lbs., Bryan has good size for an NFL tight end and displays good technique when blocking. He beats the press well and likes to get physical with defenders while bringing the ball in with his natural hands.
Despite good acceleration off the line, Bryan lacks top-level speed, with a predicted 40-yard time of around 4.8 seconds. This causes a lack of separation when running routes.
Round 6: Andre Ellington—RB (Clemson)
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Mewelde Moore has not played well this season, and it could potentially be his last in the Black and Gold. Baron Batch is an in-house replacement, but being placed on Injured Reserve as a rookie means that the coaches will need to reevaluate Batch to see if the injury has any lingering effect.
For this reason, Pittsburgh should take the opportunity late in the draft to get a player as an insurance policy in case Batch is unfit to return and take over as the Steelers third-down back. Andre Ellington is a perfect fit for that role as a dynamic playmaker who is a big-play threat whenever the ball is in his hands.
Ellington does not have elite speed, but is quick enough to outrun most players. His hands are good coming out of the backfield, and he also offers potential as a kick returner should the Steelers choose to keep Antonio Brown exclusively as a receiver.
Ellington is not a good blocker and this will take work. While he catches the ball well, he gets his body angle wrong when trying to catch the ball in the flats, making it harder to get his head around to locate the ball, which leads to some easy drops.
Round 7: Derek Moye—WR (Penn State)
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Derek Moye escapes from the scandal at Penn State and into the seventh and final round of this mock draft. Moye is a tall-but-wiry receiver at 6'5" and weighing 210 lbs. This would give Pittsburgh a tall target for Ben Roethlisberger to throw to who would be a good complement to the Steelers current receiving corps.
Moye is not an elite athlete and does not explode off of the line, but does have good speed when downfield. Moye has a 16.4 yards-per-catch average on the season, though his long strides slow his acceleration off the line.
After making a catch, Moye covers the ball well and lowers his pad level for contact. As a red-zone receiver, Moye works the inside well and is capable of catching the ball consistently in traffic, showing good potential as a big-bodied possession receiver and a solid red-zone target.
Moye needs to extend for the ball when going across the middle. He also needs to work on catching the ball away from his body, as he often traps the ball against his pads. He can be jammed at the line by a good press corner and could do with adding some more weight to his frame.