With the bulk of the free agency signing period now behind us, the pre-draft visits have begun and that means it’s time for my third 2015 Pittsburgh Steelers mock draft of the offseason. As usual, I like to call my mocks educated guesses designed to inspire good draft talk about players.
If you missed my previous two mock drafts, you can find them at the links below. I again decided against using the mock draft simulator as I prefer to do these the way I’ve always done them prior to those tools being invented.
This will likely be my last mock draft before my final one and as usual, included below is my red disclaimer.
************** If you are going to comment in this post please add value to the discussion. The rounds here are not important and you are not helping the discussion exercise by saying “Player X” will not last that long or is being drafted too soon. Please add what you like and dislike about a certain player and feel free to add your own mock as well. Remember, the discussion should be centered around the players, not the rounds they are drafted. Mock drafts are never perfect, but the value of them is in the discussion about the players. If I feel you are not adding value with your comments I will simply delete them. Go elsewhere if you want to be a nuisance or a troll. **************
Round 1 Pick 22 – La’el Collins – G – LSU
Like my last mock, I’m sure to anger a lot of you with this first round selection. Just as I did last go around, I have an offensive lineman going to the Steelers in the first round. Last time it was Iowa’s Brandon Scherff and this time it’s Collins from LSU. Many of you will argue that Collins still won’t be on the board come time for the Steelers selection, but I will counter that just as I did last time with Scherff by saying that if teams don’t believe that the LSU product can play left tackle at the NFL level, he’s likely to drop out of the top 15. In my opinion, Collins’ best position at the NFL level will be left guard and he played that position early in his college career and played it well. He was a team captain, possesses a very high character and was the king of the knockdown blocks at LSU. The Steelers need to think about replacing Ramon Foster very soon and I do not believe that Chris Hubbard is the answer. I shudder to think about what might happen in 2015 if Foster were to go down injured for an extended amount of time.
Other players considered that could still be on the board: Alvin Dupree, Kevin Johnson, Marcus Peters
Mock draft notes: Nobody understands the Steelers need for an outside linebacker and cornerback more than me, but I just cant see them drafting Johnson or Peters in the first round. I guess I’ll believe it when I see it and maybe they’ll prove me wrong. That leaves Dupree as a legitimate option and I could certainly see that happening. Have at me in the comments.
Round 2 Pick 24 – Danielle Hunter – OLB – LSU
I came very close to putting Eli Harold in this spot again, but must admit that Hunter probably has the greater upside of the two. He’s an underclassman that will best fit on the strong-side in a 3-4 defense at the NFL level. At LSU, Hunter played in 38 games, starting his final 23 appearances, and he recorded 142 tackles (52 solos) that included 4.5 sacks for minus 27 yards, 21.0 stops for losses of 79 yards and seven quarterback pressures. Hunter’s lack of sacks will certainly raise some eyebrows, but I feel he has a ton of potential that has yet to be tapped. Like most tweeners, Hunter needs to work on his counter moves, hand placement, and because of his size, leverage. Hunter has long arms, but just needs to learn how to use them better. He also needs to get nastier. I think he can excel initially on special teams while linebacker coach Joey Porter works on developing his overall game. He has great measurables that should eventually show up in his play.
Other players considered that could still be on the board: Eli Harold, Nate Orchard, Breshad Perriman
Mock draft notes: As previously mentioned, I think Harold could just as easy be the pick here and Orchard probably wouldn’t be a bad consolation prize. The Steelers have shown interest in all three players.
Round 3 Pick 23 – Alex Carter – CB – Stanford
I’m sticking with Carter again in the third round. While several believe he will only be a safety at the NFL level, I think he can play cornerback in the right system. I’m not going to go in-depth here with this selection as you just need to refer back to my last mock and breakdown to see how I feel about him. The Steelers brought Carter in for a pre-draft visit, so there’s definitely some level of interest in him. If Carter had better straight-line speed, I think people might be talking about him as a second-round cornerback. In my opinion, he fits the Steelers defense.
Other players considered that could still be on the board: Jeremy Langford, David Johnson, Tyler Lockett
Mock draft notes: While I really considered taking a running back here, the need for a cornerback is obvious being as I failed to select one in the first two rounds.
Round 4 Pick 22 – Senquez Golson – CB – Mississippi
Golson is a feisty, undersized cornerback who more than likely will have to move inside at the NFL level. Despite is small stature, Golson had a nation-best ten interceptions in 2014 to go along with eight pass break-ups and 43 tackles. His play on the field resulted in him being a consensus first-team All-American and unanimous All-Southeastern Conference first-team choice. While he needs to work on his tackling technique, Golson certainly doesn’t appear to be afraid of contact. He has a nice burst and displays above average zone concepts. He best fits in off coverage, in my opinion. Like several other players listed in this mock, Golson was brought in for a pre-draft visit. While the Steelers will need to look into his character, I think they’ll be able to move past anything that they find.
Other players considered that could still be on the board: Jesse James, David Cobb, Lorenzo Mauldin
Mock draft notes: I shied away from running back again in this round as I believe the Steelers need to make sure to load up on cornerbacks in this draft.
Round 5 Pick 24 – Adrian Amos – S – Penn State
Is Amos a strong safety or a free safety at the NFL level? In my opinion, that’s a good problem to have as he certainly has the skill-set to play both positions. So why can’t Amos, who is 6 foot tall and runs a 4.37 in the 40-yard dash, play cornerback? It’s probably because of his inability to smoothly transition out of the flipping of his hips. It should be noted that Amos started 13 games at left cornerback at Penn State before moving to strong safety for his final 35 starts. I doubt that Amos is a secret, so the fifth round might actually be too late for him. Can I see the Steelers taking him in the fourth and pushing off a second cornerback to the fifth round? Absolutely, so don’t get caught up with the round that I have him in.
Other players considered that could still be on the board: Blake Bell, Craig Mager, Chris Conley
Mock draft notes: I’m not sure when Bell will come off the board, but if he’s still around in the fifth round, he would be hard to ignore, in my opinion. Conley is another player that has great upside and the same goes for Mager, a small school product.
Round 6 Pick 23 – Matt Jones – RB – Florida
We’ve written and talked about Jones quite a bit already, so you should already know quite a bit about him. He’s a big, back that often doesn’t run with the power that he should. He’s had some knee problems in the past, so I’m sure the doctors were all over him at the combine. He’s a one-cut runner that needs to refine his running style and ability to break tackles. In reality, he more than likely would start the season on the Steelers practice squad if drafted.
Other players considered that could still be on the board: Kyle Emanuel, Bobby McCain, Darren Waller
Mock draft notes: Emanuel, McCain and Waller are all intriguing prospects and there are a few tight end projects that could also potentially fit. If the Steelers don’t take an offensive lineman in the earlier rounds, you could see one drafted here as well.
Round 6 Pick 36 – Max Valles – OLB – Virginia
By now, you’ve probably seen the breakdown of Valles that Alex Kozora put together for you. The Steelers had the Virginia product in for a pre-draft visit, so they obviously have some level of interest in him. He would certainly be a project and would really have to excel on special teams in order to stick on the 53 man roster as a rookie. Warts and all, at least Valles has some upside to him and that’s all you can ask when it comes to late-round draft picks.
Other players considered that could still be on the board: See previous pick.
Mock draft notes: See the notes from the first sixth-round selection.
Round 7 Pick 22 – C.J. Uzomah – TE – Auburn
Uzomah is a developmental tight end that looks the part on paper when it comes to his measurables. He wasn’t used extensively in Auburn’s offense over the course of the last two seasons, however, and that will hurt his draft stock. His blocking and route running need a lot of improvement but he has shown that he catch the football and get open against SEC competition. Like most seventh-round draft picks, Uzomah will likely struggle to make an NFL roster out of training camp.
Other players considered that could still be on the board: Justin Coleman, Deon Simon, Wes Saxton
Mock draft notes: I like Uzomah’s upside more than Saxton’s. Coleman is another player I have been paying close attention to all offseason and if the Steelers need a second cornerback in the final round, he would have my vote.