With the 2015 NFL Combine now behind us, it is now time for my mock draft. Dave Bryan and Alex Kozora have submitted their mocks after the Senior Bowl, so it is now time for my first 2015 Pittsburgh Steelers mock draft of the season.
I will do around 3 mocks before the Draft on Thursday, April 30th. Alike Bryan and Kozora, I have chosen to use Fanspeak.com for my mock draft to help avoid over or under slotting players. For my ranking selection, I have chosen the “Composite” big board.
Round 1 Pick 22 – Marcus Peters – CB – Washington – 5115, 197lbs
With Alvin Dupree off the board, I felt like there were no edge rushers worth the pick so I went forward with my process. Trae Waynes was off the board at 15 and Maxx Williams at 17. The most talented player was still on the board and I went with him. He is arguably the best cornerback in the draft and without his character issues, would be off the board by 22. I think Peters is chosen because I believe his story and his apology was sincere. He would fit into the Steelers scheme from day 1 and start day 1. Would start him opposite Cortez Allen and put William Gay back in the slot where he is best suited, even though he was great on the outside last season. With this pick, Peters must see the trend of past players who have ran into trouble and where they ended up. LeGarette Blount is a perfect example, and do you remember Chris Rainey? I believe the risk is worth the reward. Look at Tyrann Mathieu and Pacman Jones, they’re doing well. The Steelers just got a heck of a player if he could stay out of trouble.
Other players considered still on the board: P.J. Williams, Jalen Collins, Vic Beasley
Mock draft notes: Collins is probably the safer pick because he doesn’t have the strong character issues and he ran a 4.43 40-yard dash. I went with the best player available and I believe that to be Peters. Vic Beasley put on a clinic at the combine, but I haven’t seen him set the edge or be productive enough rushing the passer.
Round 2 Pick 24 – Hauoli Kikaha – OLB – Washington – 6020, 253lbs
Another Washington defensive player for the Steelers. Kikaha has a questionable injury history on his knees, but he is a football player. At the combine he was great in some drills and inadequate in others. Kikaha can set the edge and contribute quickly. Luke Shabro did a full breakdown of him so you could read that for extensive info on him. This is a position of need and Kikaha’s value is great here in the 2nd round. Would like to have longer arms at the outside linebacker spot, but he makes up for it with his athleticism.
Other players considered still on the board: Preston Smith, Quinten Rollins, Clive Walford
Mock draft notes: Love Smith’s measurables but I think he is best suited to play 4-3 defensive end. I didn’t choose Rollins because of my first selection and the need at edge rusher. Walford has value here, but I found that Kikaha had more value at this spot.
Round 3 Pick 23 – Jay Ajayi – RB – Boise State – 5116, 221lbs.
Le’Veon Bell’s backup and probable starter for the first two weeks of the 2015 season. Ajayi showed he is an all-around factor and can be the change of pace back the Steelers have been longing for since Bell’s entrance into the NFL. Ajayi did well at the combine in the drills and the vertical/broad jump. I believe he is underrated and holds excellent value in the third round. I did a full breakdown on Ajayi and he displayed his power, speed and athleticism. Steelers finally got their backup to Bell and no longer have to worry about the first two games without Bell.
Other players considered still on the board: Devin Smith, Jaquiski Tartt, David Cobb
Mock draft notes: With no need at wide receiver, I decided to pass on Smith. He is a great player and would not be here if the draft were today. He would also not start. Tartt had an excellent combine but safety is not a need and I think Ajayi holds more value at this spot than him. David Cobb ran a slow 40 and did not participate in anything else. Will need to evaluate Cobb more at his pro day, so at this point, I chose Ajayi instead.
Round 4 Pick 22 – Jacoby Glenn – CB – UCF – 6000, 179lbs
I believe Glenn will be here in the 4th for a couple of reasons. He didn’t have a great combine and weighs 180lbs. I think other corners will jump him on many boards and he will be there for the Steelers to grab. I chose to double dip at cornerback because of a couple reasons. Some insurance for Marcus Peters, the aging William Gay and the question mark of Cortez Allen. Glenn will likely make the 53 roster and play special teams his first season. Depending on Allen and Gay’s status in 2016, Glenn could play himself into a starting role in the Pittsburgh defense. I think the Steelers fan base will be happy to get two corners in this draft that have upside.
Other players considered still on the board: Josh Shaw, Steven Nelson, Jesse James
Mock draft notes: I feel like this was the right pick to make. Steven Nelson had an average combine and is a little undersized. Josh Shaw has versatility but carries character concerns and I couldn’t mock two players with such concerns. I was torn between Jesse James and Glenn and it is such a weak tight end class, I felt that the Steelers will be okay to wait until next year to pick a tight end that could fill Heath Miller’s shoes admirably.
Round 5 Pick 24 – Nick Boyle – TE – Delaware – 6044, 268lbs.
Boyle has the size and hands to contribute at the opposite tight end spot. I chose Boyle because he is a good blocker and has consistent hands to be a threat in the pass game. He isn’t fast by any means and he needs to get stronger. I don’t think he fills Miller’s shoes, but he could compete with Blanchflower to be the number two tight end if Michael Palmer and Matt Spaeth aren’t re-signed. He has long arms and big hands to be a receiving threat. His run blocking needs help and his desire to run block is questioned. If he can get quicker and put work in as a blocker, he could develop nicely into a contributor.
Other players considered still on the board: Lynden Trail, James Sample, Deontay Greenberry
Mock draft notes: Some will say Sample should have been the pick, but I feel like Mike Mitchell will produce next season and play up to his potential. Trail has character concerns and has no true position. Greenberry is intriguing but felt Boyle held greater value here.
Round 6 Pick 23 – Titus Davis – WR – Central Michigan – 6006, 196lbs.
Davis has great size and good hands. He didn’t flash at the combine but his tape spells out a different story. He was a touchdown machine at Central Michigan and will look to translate that into the NFL. I chose a wide receiver because of the departure of Lance Moore and the ability of the Steelers to select receivers in the late rounds and develop them into excellent players. People expect a lot out of Davis, who shares more than the number 84 with Pittsburgh All-Pro Antonio Brown. They went to the same college and thrived. Although it is highly unlikely that Davis will live up to Brown’s stature, would like to think they look to fill that fourth spot in the depth chart in the draft.
Other players considered still on the board: Max Garcia, Ibraheim Campbell, Erick Dargan
Mock draft notes: I went with the traditional Steelers approach and selected a wide receiver late in the draft to attempt to make him out to be an excellent player. Garcia is a center that has the ability to move to guard, but I think he is a natural center. You could make a good case for Campbell and I don’t think he will last this long, but I felt like the Steelers have faith in Mitchell and his backups to solidify that position for now. Dargan is an interesting prospect, but as I said before, I believe the Steelers are set at free safety for now.
Round 7 Pick 22 – Bobby Hart – OG – Florida State – 6050, 329lbs.
Hart has a lot of power in his lower half and can use his leverage to his advantage as he transitions from guard to tackle. He played in the ACC and could be a swingman for the Steelers as they lost theirs last season attempting to sneak Wesley Johnson onto their practice squad. Ramon Foster won’t be in Pittsburgh forever and the Steelers will be looking for a player to groom to be Foster’s successor. Hart has been compared to Foster and was a part of a successful offensive line. Hart is only 20 years old. Need to see more tape on him.
Other players considered still on the board: Marcus Hardison, Derrick Lott, Sam Carter
Mock draft notes: Hardison and Lott were available, but I believed that one of them was going to be a UDFA and it happened to Lott. There were only 10 picks left, so I took my chances. Sam Carter is an interesting prospect, but I felt that Hart and his position had greater value here. Carter also went undrafted.
Final mock notes: This draft is probably not high enough at the safety position as I am not sure what the Steelers front office believes as far as Mitchell goes. I didn’t select a five-tech because I am confident that the Steelers get another crack at Alex Carrington, who barely played at all in St. Louis.
If I could change anything, I would have drafted Jesse James instead of Glenn, and Sample instead of Boyle, but I like my selections. Sam Carter went undrafted, would offer him a contract to compete.
This is my first mock and free agency hasn’t occurred yet, so a lot will probably change from now until my last mock.
Leave your thoughts in the comments below.
My next mock will likely come after free agency begins.