On the first official afternoon of free agency, we’ll conduct a final Pittsburgh Steelers 2015 NFL mock draft before everything gets shaken back up. This may only be relevant for a little bit but it’s nice to compare a pre-free agency mock to one after the dust settles.
Like the last one, this one, and my future mocks, I will use fanspeak.com’s mock draft simulator. The sim can be a little quirky sometimes but it helps me avoid picking an “ideal” mock and account for the twists and turns the actual draft will provide.
As you’ll notice, this new one will provide with some names that haven’t been commonly thrown around and ones that, quite frankly, I need to do more research on. But it’s nice to throw new names into the mix and avoid the draft process being stale and boxed in to a select group of possibilities.
Round 1 Pick 22 – Vic Beasley – OLB – Clemson – 6’3 246
I would have strongly considered Marcus Peters but he went one selection ahead to the Cincinnati Bengals. I was left with three options. Maxx Williams, Alvin Dupree, and Beasley. I’ve professed my fondness for the former two; Dupree is a freak like Beasley and Williams is a ten year starter in the NFL.
But it’s clear a dominant pass rushing linebacker is the most critical piece this Steelers’ team needs. This is a team that hasn’t won a playoff game without a double-digit pass rusher since 2004, Ben Roethlisberger’s rookie year.
Beasley is a skill set that doesn’t come along often. A bonafide playmaker with an explosive first step and nasty spin. Over the last two years, he has 44.5 TFL, including 25 sacks. That’s domination.
You can’t go wrong with any of these choices. And I still want to take a closer look at Beasley. But he gives the Steelers the ROLB Jarvis Jones was supposed to be and so far, hasn’t been.
Other Players Considered on the Board: Maxx Williams, Alvin Dupree
Mock Draft Notes: Couldn’t argue with either of those two but Beasley’s ability to change a game was too good to pass up.
Round 2 Pick 24 – Quinten Rollins – CB – Miami (OH) – 5’11 193
This one doesn’t change though my board didn’t leave me with a lot of alternative options. Oklahoma nose tackle Jordan Phillips was still on the board and was a tempting value selection. If I was allowed to trade out, I would have in a heartbeat. But there’s no place to put Phillips if I select him. It’s not like a WR or CB who I can have multiple of on the field on a given play.
Reasoning hasn’t changed much on Rollins. He has tight hips due to one year of football, but the progress he showed in one season being around the game is borderline remarkable. If Cortez Allen can get his mind right, Rollins can start the year as the #4 CB in a worst-case scenario where he really isn’t deemed ready to see the field.
Other Players Considered on the Board: Jordan Phillips, Ifo Ekpre-Olomu, Duke Johnson
Mock Draft Notes: Ifo Ekpre-Olomu was another option that crossed my mind. He could be back by mid-September from his torn ACL, but his rookie year would still probably wind up being a redshirt. Phillips has the value but at a limited position and with how much nickel teams run, just doesn’t present the need. Rare case where we go against BPA.
Round 3 Pick 23 – John Miller – OG – Louisville – 6’2/4 303
Miller is a kid I’ve been high on for quite some time. Guards aren’t flashy. Especially ones that don’t even hit the 6’3 benchmark. But Miller has impressive length at 33 1/4 inches and big, 10 1/4 hands.
With 47 career starts under his belt, Miller’s tape shows few flaws. He generates an impressive push in the run game and the upper body strength to anchor in pass protection. An ideal replacement for Ramon Foster in 2016 and who knows, maybe he challenges for a starting role in year one. Foster’s contract runs through the end of this upcoming year and there isn’t a replacement for him on the roster.
I’m of the mindset of acquiring talent and value. Miller in the third fulfills both of those areas, even if his impact may not be immediately felt.
Other Players Considered on the Board: Henry Anderson, Jesse James, Tyler Lockett
Mock Draft Notes: I’ve been high on Anderson for a few weeks now. James is a prospect most Steelers’ fans’ love and eventually, I plan to put Lockett in a mock one of these days. I will proceed to get yelled for that.
Round 4 Pick 22 – Clayton Geathers – SS – Central Florida – 6’1/5 218
Geathers is the kid I just profiled. One of the most physical safeties, he’s a taller Shamarko Thomas with perhaps more range.
Another player with a ridiculous amount of starting experience, 52 for the Knights, and has always been productive. Lacks great long speed but takes good angles to the ball in the air and uses his length to play the ball in the air.
He may not start Week One but even as a starter, was a multi-phase special teams player in 2014.
As of this writing, Will Allen has not been re-signed and the team is trying to jettison Troy Polamalu. So safety is a need, even though I’d bet on Allen coming back and the team dabbling in the market for another piece.
Other Players Considered on the Board: David Johnson, Tyler Kroft
Mock Draft Notes: Kroft’s talk has gone quiet with him nursing a high ankle sprain but I’m still a fan. Guy that was stuck in a bad scheme with an equally bad QB. David Johnson is a tremendous athlete who schooled D1 competition. Would be a fine pick and I selected him in my mock offseason.
Round 5 Pick 24 – Josh Robinson – RB – Mississippi State – 5’7/7 217
With a Maurice Jones-Drew type build, Robinson is short, not small. Distinct difference between the two. Another player I want to learn about but he was highly productive against tough competition.
He rushed for over 1200 yards and 6.3 yards per carry in 2014. That included a 197 yard outburst against LSU. Robinson made himself useful out of the backfield too, hauling in 28 receptions an average over 13 yards per grab.
Just one year of full-time starting experience but that kept his wear and tear light.
I rarely post GIFs in here but to help convince you to think about Robinson, check out this run against Kentucky. One of the best of the year.
If you lost count, that’s six broken tackles plus dragging 269 pound Bud Dupree a couple extra yards at the end of an exhausting run. If that doesn’t perk you up, nothing will.
Other Players Considered on the Board: Nick Boyle, Jeremy Langford, Joey Mbu
Mock Draft Notes: Going against Langford might seem blasphemous to some Steelers’ fans but I don’t want to box ourselves into one, mid-round running back with the Le’Veon Bell connection.
Boyle could easily work his way into one of my mocks and is a guy I want to get tape on. A type of player the Steelers are probably attracted to. Big body who is a blocker first but has some sneaky athleticism. The type of player Matt Spaeth was supposed to be. Mbu is long with a massive, strong base.
Round 6 Pick 23 – Corey Crawford – DE – Clemson – 6’5 283
Crawford needs to add weight in order to become a 3-4 DE. But you can’t deny he fits the height and length requirements, measuring in with 34 1/2 inch arms. In a class that is weak at five tech, Crawford is an appealing late round option.
Not the most eye-catching numbers but came up big against Florida State, recording two TFLs and a sack, good enough to be named co-defensive player of the game.
It will take him a little while to add 15 pounds but done the right away, he should be able to get up to 300 pounds without much issue.
Another player I want to study more. A supplemental benefit of conducting these mocks. Helps me learn about what players/positions I need to work towards.
Other Players Considered on the Board: Craig Mager, Davis Tull, Darius Philon
Mock Draft Notes: Not a lot of options I considered and another reason why I went out of left field to select Crawford. Mager is another player I want to throw tape on. Tull tested off the charts at the Combine.
Round 7 Pick 22 – Justin Coleman – CB – Tennessee – 5’10/5 185
Coleman is a player we’ve mentioned and hope to have a report of soon. His 40 time was just ok, a 4.53, but ran possibly the fastest ten split ever – a 1.42 that I can still hardly believe. Jumped 37.5 inches and had a short shuttle under four flat, one of only a handful at his position to accomplish that. Shows a lot of short area quickness, an important trait for a traditional Steelers’ corner.
Productive senior season with four interceptions and five pass breakups. Good starting experience against top competition, too.
Other Players Considered on the Board: Zach Wagenmann, Devin Mahina, Bobby McCain
Mock Draft Notes: Let Wagenmann go in this one to mix it up. Wasn’t drafted and I’d immediately contact his agent as a PFA. Same with Mahina. Tight end who isn’t getting any attention but has a draftable grade from me.
Final Notes: This is a different mock with some new names but still at the same key positions. Tight end has become tricky for me. Multiple times where I thought about it but never pulled the trigger. This is a team that stubbornly neglects the position anyway.
I fill my need at pass rusher, get a corner who could develop within a season, a guard of the future, and some intriguing measurable prospects in the back end of my draft.
Feel free to leave your input below. The final selections in a screenshot below.