Another mock draft to get you set for this lovely Monday. To be honest, I had no intentions of doing another mock until after the Combine when we had a better sense and more complete feel for these prospects. Then the news came in that the Pittsburgh Steelers were given a third round compensatory pick which totally blew my mind. So you guys wanted to see a mock updated with that info and I’m here to oblige. My second crack at a mock. If you missed the first, hit it up at the link right here.
Round One (30th Overall): Carl Lawson/OLB Auburn – 6’2 235
Analysis: No changes here. The edge group is full of talent and you could go in a lot of different ways here. I was tempted to swap out Lawson for Youngstown State’s Derek Rivers but I’ll hold off until after the Combine and if the Steelers have any more reported interest, a key if you’re going to slot them a small school player.
Lawson has the pedigree, the production, and the variety of ways to win while holding his own against the run that will have the Steelers interested. Of course, this is still their biggest need on the board. So it makes sense all around.
Others Considered: OLB Derek Rivers, LB/S Jabril Peppers, CB Tre White
Round Two (62nd Overall): Jourdan Lewis/CB Michigan – 5’10 188
Analysis: Changing things up here and shifting to Lewis. I like his fit and projection a bit better than Cam Sutton. Sutton’s position is still a bit vague while Lewis is a slam dunk slot corner. He’s got impressive tracking ability, hands, and ball skills, and is certainly willing to come up and support the run. He will sit behind William Gay for a year, take over in 2018, and never look back.
Others Considered: CB Cameron Sutton, CB Rasul Douglas, WR Carlos Henderson
Round Three (94th Overall): Gerald Everett/TE South Alabama – 6’2/6 227
Analysis: Consider him your Ladarius Green clone, minus the history of concussions. You have to understand who Everett is and how he wins – he’s a big receiver and the farthest thing from an in-line tight end. But the Steelers were generally ok with that when they signed Green to big money. Jesse James has shown enough strides to be the in-line blocker and that’s where he’s best suited anyway.
Everett may have small hands but they are one of his stronger traits and he’s fluid in space. He averaged at least 14 yards per catch the last two years at South Alabama, transferring there from UAB. He’s the big receiver who can help provide as an insurance policy and be a focal part of the passing game if the Steelers struggle, for whatever reason, to identify a #2 receiver like they did in 2016.
Others Considered: TE Jake Butt, CB Chidobe Awuzie, DE Chris Wormley
Round Three (105th Overall): Jordan Willis/OLB Kansas State – 6’3/6 255
Analysis: This might be the most controversial pick. I don’t even know how exactly I feel about Willis but I think the team will be interested in him. He’s got a strong resume with 39.5 TFL and 25.5 sacks in his career. He’s just a guy who, pardon the cliche, just gets the job done. Not a great athlete. His bend isn’t the best. But the guy produces and he had a stellar Senior Bowl with two sacks and a pair of forced fumbles.
He’s regarded as a high character and high IQ person and pass rusher which will certainly interest any team, including the Steelers.
Maybe the team has learned their lesson or changed their philosophy but he’s got a – hopefully better – Jarvis Jones feel. Not saying you need to love the pick but you should recognize the dot-connecting.
Others Considered: OLB Dawuane Smoot, RB Kareem Hunt, QB Nathan Peterman
Round Four (135th Overall): Corey Clement/RB Wisconsin – 5’10/2 221
Analysis: Sticking with what I had before. Clement is an explosive stop-start runner who almost always gets positive yards. Great feet and vision to find the hole and a decent enough pass protector. He has the size the Steelers usually target when they’re looking for a true running back and not a scat back.
Others Considered: WR Ryan Switzer, CB Corn Elder, CB Damontae Kazee
Round Five (173rd Overall): Josh Reynolds/WR Texas A&M – 6’2/6 197
Analysis: Reynolds fits the height/weight/speed trifecta the team looks for. Reynolds’ play is spotty but he’ll make some absurd catches downfield. That showed up in the stat sheet averaging 17+ yards per catch the last two years and ending his college career with 30 touchdowns. If he makes the team, great. If he has to go to the practice squad for a year, that’s fine too. But there’s the vision for him to become a #2 receiver in the future.
Others Considered: WR KD Cannon, CB Marquez White, OLB Carroll Phillips
Round Six (213th Overall): Jerod Evans/QB Virginia Tech – 6’2/3 238
Analysis: Gotta go with an underclassmen here, given that the rest of these guys are seniors. I’m not really sure if this team is taking a quarterback. Less confident after hearing Kevin Colbert’s comments. If I had to guess, I think at some point they do take one, and Evans is worth a flyer. He’s pretty raw, spending one year at Virginia Tech, but will develop behind Ben Roethlisberger for a couple years (though don’t mistake that for being young, he just turned 23).
He’s a big body with the ability to be a threat running beyond the line of scrimmage, rushing for 846 yards and 12 touchdowns. And his completion percentage was high, over 63%, for a guy coming into a system and big-time college football for the first time.
Others Considered: S Leon McQuay III, WR Travin Dural, NT Stevie Tuikolovatu
Round Seven (248th Overall): Isaac Rochell/DE Notre Dame – 6’4/3 282
Analysis: Sticking again with Rochell. A classic five-tech prospect with a relentless motor, he’s a strong stash-and-develop player who, who knows, could beat out Ricardo Mathews, provided Mathews is brought back. I’d make that an open competition and feel fine with whoever won it. In his career at Notre Dame, Rochell recorded 21 TFL and 4.5 sacks. At worst, he’ll make the group more competitive.
Others Considered: ILB Ben Gedeon, S Damarius Travis, OLB James McFarland