It’s time for the final version of my Pittsburgh Steelers 2017 mock draft and I decided to release it a day early this year so I can concentrate on a few other things for the site over the course of the next several days. If you missed by previous three mocks, you can find them at the links below.
As always, I ask that you focus on the players I have mocked to the Steelers and not so much on the round. I understand that a few might go higher or lower than what I have them, but the value in doing these mocks is the overall discussion about the players and whether or not they fit the Steelers.
As usual, I like to cheat when it comes to my final mocks and by that I mean I usually include several players who had pre-draft visits with the team. As it turns out, my final mock draft this year includes seven of the eight selections having made pre-draft visits to Pittsburgh. In short and as if you didn’t already know it, the eight selections I have below certainly won’t be all correct. In fact, Ill probably be lucky to hit two picks this year. With that said, I’m happy with the finished product.
In addition to providing my guess for every round, I also included five other players I considered mocking so you can see where my head was at while putting this final one together. As usual, my primary goal is to have several of the 48 total players listed below ultimately wind up being selected by the Steelers.
I invite everyone to post their final mocks in the comments below and hope all of you enjoyed our pre-draft coverage this year. We look forward to covering the real thing for you beginning Thursday evening.
1st Round – Pick 30 – 30th Overall – Jarrad Davis – ILB – Florida
Pro Day: HGT: 6013 | WGT: 238 lbs. | 40-YD: 4.58 | 10-YD: 1.54 | 20-YD: 2.66 | BP: 23 | VJ: 38 1/2 | BJ: 10’09” | SS: 4.29 | 3C: 7.30
Pick Summary: When it comes to prospects that check all the boxes of potentially being the Steelers first-round selection this year, Davis certainly is one of them. Not only was the Florida product brought in for a pre-draft visit, general manager Kevin Colbert and linebackers coach Jerry Olsavsky both attended his pro day where he posted a 40-yard-dash time of 4.58 seconds and did 23 reps on the bench. Davis, as you can see by his numbers listed below, really had a strong showing at his pro day and it was needed as he was unable to participate at the scouting combine due to an ankle injury. Davis, who registered 205 total tackles during his career at Florida that included 20 for loss and 5.5 sacks, measured in at 6013, 238-pounds. He’s a very physical and smart player on tape and has the athleticism to drop into coverage as well. Colbert loves first round value and should Davis slide to the Steelers, it will likely be hard for him to pass the linebacker up. The Steelers lost veteran inside linebacker Lawrence Timmons during free agency and the fact that the team made a run at signing Dont’a Hightower speaks volumes, in my honest opinion. Davis would likely fit in well alongside Ryan Shazier in the Steelers defense and should be able to contribute heavily during his rookie season if he lands in Pittsburgh. The fact that Colbert has repeatedly stated how strong the depth is this year at the outside linebacker and cornerback positions in this year’s draft class has left me wondering if he might ultimately address those two positions in the second and third rounds. As you can see below, I strongly considered mocking Takkarist McKinley, T.J. Watt, Jabrill Peppers, Marlon Humphrey and Tre’Davious White as the first round pick this year and thus won’t be surprised if any of the five wind up being the pick.
Considered: OLB Takkarist McKinley, OLB T.J. Watt, S Jabrill Peppers, CB Marlon Humphrey, CB Tre’Davious White
2nd Round – Pick 30 – 62nd Overall – Derek Rivers – OLB – Youngstown State
Combine: HGT: 6035 | WGT: 248 lbs. | 40-YD: 4.61 | 10-YD: 1.60 | 20-YD: 2.66 | BP: 30 | VJ: 35 | BJ: 10’03” | SS: 4.40 | 3C: 6.94
Pick Summary: If the Steelers ultimately bypass the outside linebacker position in the first round, odds will then be pretty good they’ll address it in the second round. There’s bound to be at least one edge-rushing prospect they like in the second round and I think Rivers has as good of shot as any at being their choice as the organization has paid a lot of attention to him throughout the entire pre-draft process. River’s 132 SPARQ score fits what the Steelers look for and at 6035, 248-pounds, he can still probably stand to add a few pounds to his frame in addition to adding more core muscle. In his four seasons at Youngstown State, Rivers registered 173 total tackles that included 56.5 for loss and 41 sacks. His solid showing at the Senior Bowl showed teams that they shouldn’t be overly concerned about the level of competition that he played against during his college career. The Steelers showed last year with the selection of defensive tackle Javon Hargrave that they’re not afraid of small school prospects early in drafts. Rivers showed he can play on his feet while in college and while his pass-rush skills and counters will need to be developed at the NFL level, he certainly has the core traits needed to potentially become the heir apparent to veteran Steelers outside linebacker James Harrison. Rivers has a strong character and checks a lot of boxes.
Considered: OLB Carl Lawson, CB Cordrea Tankersley, WR Chris Godwin, OLB Tim Williams, WR Zay Jones
3rd Round – Pick 30 – 94th Overall – Shaquill Griffin – CB – Central Florida
Combine: HGT: 6oo1 | WGT: 194 lbs. | 40-YD: 4.38 | 10-YD: 1.52 | 20-YD: 2.55 | BP: 17 | VJ: 38 1/2 | BJ: 11’00” | SS: 4.14 | LS: 11.62 | 3C: 6.87
Pick Summary: Now that we know Griffin had a pre-draft visit with the Steelers, it’s a lot easier to mock him to them. Griffin, who measured in at the scouting combine at 6001, 194-pounds, ran the 40-yard-dash in 4.38-seconds and his entire trip to Indianapolis resulted in a 135.5 SPARQ score. If you remember the study that Alex Kozora did recently, Griffin and Minnesota’s Jalen Myrick both check enough boxes when it comes to what the Steelers look for in cornerbacks. At UCF, Griffin played everywhere in the secondary and in a 3-4 defense to boot. He has great character that you know the Steelers are attracted to. In addition to him intercepting 7 passes during his college career, Griffin also registered 36 total defensed passes. He’s not afraid to tackle as evidenced in his two years as a starter. If drafted by the Steelers, Griffin should ultimately find his way into the starting lineup during his rookie season. In the meantime, he should be a nice contributor on special teams. Read his back story and listen to his interviews in addition to watching his tape and I promise you’ll be rooting for the Steelers to draft him. In fact, I won’t be surprised if the Steelers trade up for Griffin in the third round if he falls close enough to them.
Considered: CB Jalen Myrick, CB Adoree Jackson, DE Tanoh Kpassagnon, RB Samaje Perine, S Marcus Maye
3rd Round – Pick 41 – 105th Overall – Joshua Dobbs – QB – Tennessee
Combine: HGT: 6033 | WGT: 216 lbs | 40-YD: 4.64 | 10-YD: 1.62 | 20-YD: 2.69 | VJ: 33 | BJ: 10’02” | SS: 4.31 | 3C: 6.75
Pick Summary: It certainly appears as though the Steelers will draft a quarterback this year and likely somewhere within the first four rounds. I think they have their eyes on either Dobbs or Miami product Brad Kaaya and thus can see either being the selection. I hope it’s Dobbs, who measures in at 6033, 216-pounds. I like his upside a little more than Kaaya’s and I am also attracted to his ability to run with the football when it calls for it. Dobbs’ mechanics need some serious work and while he won’t likely be a No. 2 in 2017, the potential is there for him to overtake Landry Jones during his second season. Personally, I’m not thrilled about the Steelers possibly taking a quarterback this year but if they do, I can live with Dobbs, who completed 63% of his passes in 2016 for 2,946 yards and 27 touchdowns in 2016. I’m not sure where Dobbs’ draft stock is right now so perhaps he can be had a round later. Regardless, I like where he fits in this mock and am attracted to his smarts and character.
Considered: QB Brad Kaaya, LB Raekwon McMillan, CB Rasul Douglas, WR Shelton Gibson, RB Wayne Gallman
4th Round – Pick 29 – 135th Overall – Kenny Golladay – WR – Northern Illinois
Combine: HGT: 6040 | WGT: 218 lbs | 40-YD: 4.50 | 10-YD: 1.58 | 20-YD: 2.64 | BP: 18 | VJ: 35 1/2 | BJ: 10’00” | SS: 4.15 | 3C: 7.00
Pick Summary: Golladay, who measured in at the scouting combine at 6040, 218-pounds, certainly appears to have the Steelers interest and especially if you believe what Dave-Te’ Thomas said during our Monday podcast. After transferring from North Dakota, Golladay was forced to sit out the 2014 season. He went on to start 24 games at Northern Illinois and recorded 160 catches for 2,285 yards and 18 touchdowns over the course of the last two seasons. Golladay’s route running needs refinement at the NFL level and that’s certainly something Steelers wide receivers coach Richard Mann should be able to help with. The Steelers brought the 23-year-old wide receiver in for a pre-draft visit and his measurables certainly fit what Pittsburgh looks for in wide receivers based on a study that Kozora did.
Considered: TE George Kittle, WR Josh Reynolds, WR Mack Hollins, CB Brian Allen, TE Jordan Leggett
5th Round – Pick 30 – 173rd Overall – James Conner – RB – Pittsburgh
Combine: HGT: 6014 | WGT: 233 lbs | 40-YD: 4.65 | 10-YD: 1.63 | 20-YD: 2.69 | BP: 20 | VJ: 29 | BJ: 09’05”
Pro Day: SS: 4.31 | 3C: 7.41
Pick Summary: Why not Conner? I must admit that I’m a bit surprised the Steelers didn’t bring more running backs in for pre-draft visits this year and that might be a sign they might address the position later in the draft if even at all. In my opinion, the 6014, 233-pound Conner, a Pittsburgh product, would be a nice compliment to starter Le’Veon Bell and a running back who can be used to wear down defenses later in games. While he’s certainly not one of the shiftiest running backs in this year’s draft class, Conner still managed to produce during his Pittsburgh career that was interrupted by him winning his battle against Hodgkin’s Lymphoma. I have a soft spot for Conner and my bias forced me to put him in my final mock and it’s really hard to ignore his 3,733 rushing yards and 52 touchdowns on the ground. Oh, and he can catch a little as well.
Considered: TE Michael Roberts, OLB Carroll Phillips, RB D’Onta Foreman, DL Carlos Watkins, S Rayshawn Jenkins
6th Round – Pick 30 – 213th Overall – Javancy Jones – OLB/ILB – Jackson State
Pro Day: HGT: 6010 | WGT: 245 lbs | 40-YD: 4.62 | 10-YD: 1.65 | BP: 26 | VJ: 32 | 09’03”
Pick Summary: There’s been a lot of buzz about Jones over the course of the last few weeks and with good reason when it comes to the Steelers potentially selecting him. Jones, who was primarily used as an edge-rusher during his college career, showed during the all-star game that he might be able to kick inside as well. Regardless, even though he’s 6010, 245-pounds, Jones is a player you draft and hope he can make your 53-man roster as a special teams demon as he develops the rest of his game. In the 44 games that Jones played in at Jackson State, Jones registered 334 total tackles and that included 21 sacks. If he can put on some weight and develop his pass rushing abilities, there’s a chance he can potentially stay on the outside. He’s hard not to root for if you know anything about him and like most players I mocked this year to the Steelers, he has a top-notch character. The Steelers were at Jones’ mid-April workout and he would have likely been brought in for a pre-draft visit had the team been able to work him into their schedule.
Considered: WR Robert Davis, OLB Keion Adams, OLB Keionta Davis, RB Brian Hill, RB Elijah Hood
7th Round – Pick 30 – 248th Overall – Montae Nicholson – S – Michigan State
Combine: HGT: 6023 | WGT: 212 lbs | 40-YD: 4.42 | 10-YD: 1.55 | 20-YD: 2.60 | VJ: 35 | BJ: 10’05”
Pick Summary: The Steelers brought Nicholson in for a pre-draft visit and that’s likely because he was a freebie due to him being considered a local product. Regardless, the 6023, 212-pound Michigan State product posted a 126.8 SPARQ score at this years scouting combine and that’s yet another reason the Steelers might have more than just passing interest in him. Primarily used as a deep safety during his two years as a starter, Nicholson registered 200 total tackles, 4 interceptions and 8 total passes defended in the 38 games that he played in of which 23 he reportedly started. He reportedly recently underwent surgery to repair a torn labrum in his left shoulder so he might be sidelined most of the offseason as he recovers. If the Steelers wait until the back end of the draft to select a safety, Nicholson could certainly be a reasonable target for them.
Considered: OLB Samson Ebukam, S, Johnathan Ford, DL Treyvon Hester, TE Jason Croom, NT Glen Antoine