Pittsburgh Steelers Mock Draft: A Complete 7-Round Wish List

Nick DeWitt@@nickdewitt11Analyst IDecember 24, 2012

Pittsburgh Steelers Mock Draft: A Complete 7-Round Wish List

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    With the Pittsburgh Steelers officially eliminated from playoff contention after a 13-10 loss to the Cincinnati Bengals, it is time to turn attention to the NFL draft, free agency and other ways to improve the suddenly lifeless franchise.

    Here's a look at how the seven rounds of the NFL draft in April will hopefully play out for Pittsburgh.

Round 1

1 of 7

    Possible Target Positions

    Cornerback, Strong Safety, Running Back, Linebacker

    Three Players to Choose From

    Johnthan Banks, CB, Mississippi State

    Matt Elam, SS, Florida

    C.J. Mosley, LB, Alabama

    My Pick

    Johnthan Banks is the most likely of the three possibilities to land in Pittsburgh in the first round. The Steelers have struggled to handle their cornerbacks since Ike Taylor's injury. With Taylor's age a concern and Keenan Lewis no lock to stay in Pittsburgh, the Steelers may look to solidify the position.

    Banks is a big-play guy who can handle coverage assignments well. He profiles as another Taylor with more upside when it comes to making a play with his hands.

    The Steelers cannot afford to ignore their secondary. This is a deep cornerback draft, but it's time to invest a higher pick in that position.

Round 2

2 of 7

    Possible Target Positions

    Linebacker, Strong Safety, Running Back, Offensive Line

    Three Players to Choose From

    Kevin Minter, LB, LSU

    Robert Lester, SS, Alabama

    Eddie Lacy, RB, Alabama

    My Pick

    I'll take Minter here. The Steelers need to come up with a long-term solution alongside Lawrence Timmons. Larry Foote has been solid this year, but he's not a solution for more than one more year.

    Minter is a good blitzing linebacker, and he can plug up the run defense. The Steelers have been weaker in the middle than ever in the last decade. Age is playing a role there. With Casey Hampton likely to be replaced by Steve McLendon, the next move needs to be behind the line.

    Pittsburgh could opt for Lacy if he comes out as well. A big back like him would fit well for the Steelers, but linebacker is a much more pressing need.

Round 3

3 of 7

    Possible Target Positions

    Running Back, Strong Safety, Quarterback

    Three Players to Choose From

    Ray Graham, RB, Pittsburgh

    Shawn Williams, SS, Georgia

    Landry Jones, QB, Oklahoma

    My Pick

    If Jones is available still in the third round, it would be hard for the Steelers to pass on him. Pittsburgh needs to start thinking ahead at the quarterback position. Ben Roethlisberger hasn't been right since his injury earlier this season.

    The backup situation needs a serious overhaul. Jones is a mobile guy with a decent arm. He needs to improve on accuracy, but that can be done with coaching and time. He has the tools to be a successful starter.

    If he gets a few years behind Roethlisberger, he might be ready to take over if Big Ben can't extend his career. With a guy who takes that many hits, you just never know.

Round 4

4 of 7

    Possible Target Positions

    Strong Safety, Running Back, Wide Receiver, Offensive Line

    Three Players to Choose From

    Ray Graham, RB, Pittsburgh

    Shawn Williams, SS, Georgia

    Denard Robinson, WR/QB, Michigan

    My Pick

    If Graham is still on the board, the Steelers could use him. He's a bigger guy with the strength to push through small openings and get in from the goal line. The Steelers lack this with their current stable of backs, which may be due for a huge overhaul in the offseason.

    If he's not there, I wouldn't be surprised to see Robinson picked. He fits the team's historic love for guys like Kordell Stewart and Antwaan Randle El, and he could end up being another Hines Ward if the team gets lucky.

    The Steelers certainly need a dose of creativity and uncertainty in their offensive scheme. Robinson can bring that to the table.

Round 5

5 of 7

    Possible Target Positions

    Strong Safety, Offensive Line, Cornerback

    Three Players to Choose From

    Duke Williams, SS, Nevada

    Xavier Nixon, OT, Florida

    Darius Slay, CB, Mississippi State

    My Pick

    At this point, it's all about depth. Given the team's struggles defensively, Williams or Slay make the most sense. Williams isn't as good a fit, so Slay is the pick here.

    Adding Slay would give the Steelers a lot of competition for cornerback spots and will help ensure the team's success if they experience another run of injuries like we've seen late this season.

    Slay is raw, but he could develop into a good nickel corner with some time.

Round 6

6 of 7

    Possible Target Positions

    Strong Safety, Running Back, Defensive Tackle

    Three Players to Choose From

    Shamarko Thomas, SS, Syracuse

    Theo Riddick, RB, Notre Dame

    Cory Grissom, DT, South Florida

    My Pick

    Since the Steelers might have taken Denard Robinson over Ray Graham earlier in this draft, Riddick is the pick here. He's a pace-change guy who can play in the backfield or split out wide. The Steelers already have a guy like that in Chris Rainey, but Riddick might be a better receiver.

    The Steelers like versatile offensive players (Rainey, Antwaan Randle El, Hines Ward, etc.) and Riddick does fit that style. Even if they do take Graham, they could take Riddick with the same theory applied to taking Robinson.

    Whatever the Steelers do in the draft, they must better utilize their personnel in 2013.

Round 7

7 of 7

    Possible Target Positions

    Offensive Line, Defensive Tackle, Safety

    Three Players to Choose From

    Oscar Johnson, OT, Louisiana Tech

    Anthony McCloud, DT, Florida State

    Jarred Holley, FS, Pittsburgh

    My Pick

    The Steelers may have multiple picks in the round, so they really could take all three players. The Steelers can use some depth at each position.

    Offensive tackle is probably deep enough at this point, but it would help to add at tackle and move Kelvin Beachum to his natural position of guard. Willie Colon should be released, so the depth is needed there.

    The pick of Alameda Ta'amu didn't work out last year, so the Steelers may need to go back to the drawing board at the nose spot. McCloud is a disruptive guy that could be a solid backup for Steve McLendon while he develops.

    Ryan Clark is excellent, but he's older and the Steelers' backups at safety are terrible. Holley has the skill to develop into a fine player and he could certainly serve as Clark's backup while he learns the ropes.


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