NFL Draft

Kozora 2017 Steelers’ NFL Mock Draft – Version 5.0

I know we just did one last week but we’re reaching the point where we’re beginning to have an idea of who the Pittsburgh Steelers are actually interested in. With more news on visits, Pro Day trips, and dinners with the Steelers’ brass, the picture is never clear but it is clearer.

So we’re taking another dive into the team’s draft with a lean towards who the team has shown interest in and who fits their style.

If you missed my last mock, check it out at the link here.

Round One (30th Overall): Carl Lawson/OLB Auburn – 6’1/6 261

Though I just drooled over Jarrad Davis today, and you can’t discount cornerback – watch out for Clemson’s Cordrea Tankersley – Lawson is the name I can’t quit. There’s obvious interest in him and he’s an SEC kid at the team’s biggest need. He does carry some risk but still teeming with upside and that’s the type of guy the Steelers have gravitated towards.

Others Considered: CB Cordrea Tankersley, OLB T.J. Watt, ILB Jarrad Davis

Lawson Scouting Report

Round Two (62nd Overall): Cam Sutton/CB Tennessee – 5’11/2 188

Sutton’s lack of elite athleticism does worry me but the Steelers are in desperate need of a slot corner. And frankly, there aren’t a ton to choose from here in Round Two that are a logical fit for the team. Not much interest shown in Adoree’ Jackson – the name I gave them the last time – or Desmond King, who is a worse athlete and didn’t have Mike Tomlin or Kevin Colbert at his Pro Day (did the Steelers have any coach?). That’s why I go Sutton, who I do think is a better athlete than he tested and can play in the slot.

There is also potential for him to be a free safety, a theoretical replacement for Mike Mitchell whenever that is. Four year starter who has a better chance than most to see the field at some point in Year One. Tough position to learn though.

Others Considered: CB Quincy Wilson, CB Desmond King, S Marcus Maye 

Sutton Scouting Report

Round Three (94th Overall): Brad Kaaya/QB Miami (FL) – 6’3/7 214

You know me giving this team a QB is not a thing that makes me happy; a lump of coal in the stocking, not the pony I always wanted. But the Steelers are holding up a megaphone to yell their interest in Kaaya. They met with him at the Combine, had Colbert at his Pro Day and met with Kaaya before his workout. I’m pretty confident the Steelers won’t draft a QB without Tomlin and/or Colbert watching them throw in person. Just feels like a requirement for someone they think could be their next franchise QB.

I still don’t know if he’s the best fit in this offense but hey, it doesn’t really matter what I think, does it?

Others Considered: CB Ahkello Witherspoon, RB Wayne Gallman, TE Jordan Leggett

Kaaya Scouting Report

Round Three (105th Overall): Rasul Douglas/CB West Virginia – 6’1/5 209

The Steelers need two cornerbacks; they really only need one outside linebacker. Sutton is their future in the slot, Douglas could be the future on the outside. He really seems to fit what the Steelers want even if his athletic profile is sub-par.

He’s tall, long (32 3/8 inch arms), with great hands/ball skills, picking off eight passes last year, just his second year playing Division One football. Carnell Lake was at his Pro Day. If he isn’t ready to start right away, that’s fine. Ross Cockrell can man the LCB spot and as the second third round pick, there isn’t as much an obligation to get him on the field immediately. Especially when Lawson definitely will contribute heavily and Sutton has a decent chance to.

Others Considered: RB Marlon Mack, DE Carlos Watkins, OLB Joe Mathis

Round Four (135th Overall): Alex Anzalone/ILB Florida – 6’2/7 241

I’ve had Anzalone rattling around in my head for awhile now and had him in my last mock draft, too. Sitting in that 4th to 5th round range, he’s a good athlete for how big he is, his run fits are strong, and though he missed a metric ton of time in his college career, he was there at the Senior Bowl and looked really good.

Have casually watched him on tape too because I’ve been watching basically every Florida game this side of Chris Leak over the last month, checking out Wilson, Davis, Maye, you get the idea, and he’s been impressive when the trainers weren’t peeling him off the field.

Others Considered: TE George Kittle, SS Rayshawn Jenkins, OLB Dawuane Smoot

Round Five (173rd Overall): Samaje Perine/RB Oklahoma – 5’10/5 233

Another popular pick of mine, Perine is back in this mock. Shouldn’t be any surprise the Steelers are going with a bigger back and Perine certainly fits the bill. Becomes the #2 behind Le’Veon Bell. Nothing wrong with taking a running back higher, I’d start thinking about it in the third, but the benefit of waiting a bit is the likelihood Bell is going to play 90% of the snaps in 2017.

Others Considered: OLB Carroll Phillips, TE Jonnu Smith, RB James Conner

Perine Scouting Report

Round Six (213th Overall): Michael Roberts/TE Toledo – 6’4/3 270

Waiting longer for a tight end than I’d like here but unless you’re not double-dipping at corner, a risky move in itself, one position is going to fall. This time, it’s tight end. Roberts isn’t the hyper-athlete I’ve mocked before, falling into the more conventional mold. Big, long blocker but an accomplished receiver a year ago, leading the NCAA with 16 touchdowns. James Daniel met with him at the Rockets’ Pro Day so there’s a connection element at play, too.

I’m losing out on my hybrid pick so the Steelers better choose Roberts and make me look good.

Others Considered: ILB/S Josh Harvey-Clemons, ILB/S Nate Gerry, NT DJ Jones

Round Seven (248th Overall): Javancy Jones/OLB Jackson State – 6’1 245

Could go in a million different directions for this final pick. I’ll go with one the Steelers have interest in, bringing Jones in for a visit, scheduled for sometime this week. He’s built low to the ground and was productive last year despite missing time to take care of his mom. It’s a late double-dip at OLB but a double-dip nonetheless.

Others Considered: ILB/S Paul Magloire Jr, WR Chad Williams, NT Tyson Fernandez 

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