Steelers Picks Rounds 4-7
119. Pittsburgh Steelers: Ryan Miller OG/OT (Colorado)
I’m a fan of Miller as a prospect because of his the versatility he could bring to a team like the Steelers that is in need of help in the trenches. Like Cordy Glenn, Miller (6’7″ 321 lbs.) has experience playing inside and outside, and started at both Right Guard and Right Tackle (48 total starts) at Colorado during his collegiate career. At 6’7” Miller would have to use his leverage a bit more effectively to fight off the shorter and more powerful DT’s in the N.F.L. if he lined up inside, and . Still, early in his career Miller could provide insurance if Willie Colon is unable to stay healthy, and could log some time at Right Tackle in addition to Right Guard as well. The athleticism and upside is there with Miller, it will all be a matter of finding a position for him and developing his game more so he can contribute.
159. Pittsburgh Steelers: Duke Ihenacho S (San Jose State)
When you peer down the depth chart past Troy Polamalu and Ryan Clark, the position’s depth is ridiculously thin. One player I really like and the Steelers might also have their eyes on is Duke Ihenacho (3x All-WAC) of San Jose State. A former Linebacker with the Spartans, Ihenacho (6′ 213 lbs.) is a tough player that has a Linebacker’s mentality when it comes to tackling and playing in-the-box against the run. Newer to the Safety position (only played there in 2009 and 2011, and missed 2010 with a broken foot), Ihenacho will likely need a season or two to work on polishing his all around game as a pass defender at the pro level, in addition to gaining some experience against some top competition. For Ihenacho’s first season or two he could contribute on Special Teams, and also push Mundy for playing time and backup reps on the back end to boot. Ihenacho has been impressing during his post-season workouts, and is beginning to move up some draft boards.
193. Pittsburgh Steelers: Miles Burris ILB/OLB (San Diego State)
Miles Burris is a kind of player that would fit in well with Pittsburgh’s Defense. He’s tough, hard-working, and most importantly: versatile. Burris (6’2″ 246 lbs.) played OLB in the Aztecs 3-3-5 Defense and emerged as one of San Diego State’s best Defensive players over his four year career. A three year starter, Burris registered 18.5 Sacks over his college career, including a career high 9.5 in 2010. Some scouts project Burris as an ILB while others see him staying as an OLB in a 3-4 scheme. Dick LeBeau Keith Butler would have to ultimately make a choice as to where Burris would fit best. Still, a guy with athetic ability and versatility like him should see the field at multiple positions and multiple sub-packages early in his career and become a demon on Special Teams as well. It never hurts to have depth and competition at a position, and Pittsburgh might want to add a pass rusher in the later Rounds this season to push Jason Worilds and Chris Carter and contribute on Special Teams as well.
231. Pittsburgh Steelers: Ryan Van Bergen DE/DT (Michigan)
With Brett Keisel aging and Ziggy Hood inching closer to Free Agency in 2014, it might be a good idea to start finding some late-Round diamonds in the rough to groom for the future and provide depth in the present. Ryan Van Bergen could very well be a late-Round prospect that the Steelers target if they are in the market for a 5-Technique. Van Bergen possesses a good frame 6’6″ and weight 291 lbs. to project to be a 5-Technique Defensive End for the Steelers, and he has experience playing outside on a 3-man line in Michigan’s 3-3-5 Stack scheme. And from a bit of research I have done, it appears that the Steelers might be interested in selecting Van Bergen next month. According to NFL.com’s Gil Brandt, Pittsburgh sent Kevin Colbert, Mike Tomlin and D-Line Coach John Mitchell to Michigan’s Pro Day a couple of weeks ago. And in an article by Michigan Football reporter Karl Meinke of Ann Arbor.com, he said that Van Bergen talked with Tomlin (the only Head Coach in attendance) after the workout where Tomlin was apparently pleased with how well Van Bergen performed that day.
240. Pittsburgh Steelers: Emil Igwenagu HB/TE (Massachusetts)
With David Johnson a UFA after this season, Weslye Saunders being suspended for the first 4 games, and Jamie McCoy without any real experience, Pittsburgh might want to hedge their bets behind Heath Miller and select a Tight End for depth purposes late in the Draft this season. One project which they might take a look at is Emil Igwenagu of Massachusetts. Igwenagu is a versatile player that performed well with the Minutemen over his collegiate career. Igwenagu lined up as a Tight End, Fullback, and even a Running Back in college, and can challenge David Johnson and/or replace him if he leaves via Free Agency next season. While he is not very large (6’2″ 245 lbs.), Igwenagu is projected to be an H-Back according to his Tight Ends Coach Damian Mincey at UMass in an article written by Mass Live.com’s Jeff Thomas during last season. Igwenagu will likely need time to adjust to the speed of the game at the pro level, and also try to add some weight and get used to blocking more. Still, he is definitely worth a late-Round pick due to his athleticism and pass catching ability.
246. Pittsburgh Steelers: Aaron Corp QB (Richmond)
Pittsburgh would be wise to get some insurance behind Ben Roethlisberger, and also acquire a somewhat project of a prospect to groom behind him. Byron Leftwich seems to be perpetually injured, Charlie Batch is a solid backup but is in his late 30’s and who knows how much longer he could be playing, and Troy Smith is no more than a #3 guy. If the name Aaron Corp sounds familiar to some of you West Coast members of Steeler Nation, it should. Corp was the starting QB at Southern Cal before next years likely #1 pick Matt Barkley took the job from him in Fall Camp after Corp went down with an injury. After transferring to Richmond after the season, Corp sustained a devastating knee injury early in 2010, and was only able to show off his skills during the 2011 season and put up a solid season where he completed 63.4% of his passes for 2,682 Yards and 17 TD’s. Gil Brandt of NFL.com reported that Corp had himself a nice Pro Day a couple weeks ago, and seems to be back healthy. In the event that Corp is fully healthy and can stay that way, he could be a real sleeper pick this year and a definite steal for a team that has the luxury of grooming a QB for a few years. Corp has the size (almost 6’4″ and 215 lbs.), the arm, and the athleticism to be a quality pro player. It wasn’t too long ago that Corp was the heir apparent to Mark Sanchez when the Trojans were dominating college football, and if the Steelers can get him late they should take a chance.
248. Pittsburgh Steelers: Josh Oglesby OT (Wisconsin)
With 3 Compensatory picks in the 7th Round, the Steelers can afford to take a chance or two on some prospects. One prospect in particular they could target late is Josh Oglesby of Wisconsin. That being said, the Steelers can afford to take a bit of a risk with a player with Oglesby’s injury history. In the event that Oglesby can pan out, the Steelers will be getting an experienced player, that has played some quality football at The Big Ten level, but most importantly can provide adequate and quality depth at a position like Tackle which has very little behind the starters. Oglesby is a road-grader as a run blocker and has the size (6’7″ 338 lbs.) that Pittsburgh has liked in its Tackles as of late and could be an effective Right Tackle at the N.F.L. level. Oglesby’s speed (5.80 40 Yard Dash at The Combine) and raw strength (22 Reps of 225 at The Combine) leave much to be desired, but his starting experience on one of college football’s best Offensive Line’s (28 starts) cannot be denied. If Oglesby is medically cleared despite sustaining injuries to both his knees in college, he could be worth a gamble.
If you are interested in other N.F.L. Mock Drafts, I highly recommend checking out Fansided’s NFL Mocks. Its got some great analysis regarding prospects and fantastic articles as well. NFL Mocks is part of the Fansided network, and few websites can measure up to their astute analysis.
In addition to NFL Mocks, be sure to check out other great sites like CBSSportsline, Walter Football, Kiper Jr. and McShay on ESPN, the boys led by Mike Mayock on NFL, and each prospects’ college football profile (i.e. click on their name on their athletic department’s website) for other draft news, prospect analysis, and interesting facts as well.
I also linked each team drafting in Round 1 with their specific Fansided site. So for those of you interested in jumping to your favorite team’s specific site, just click on the link and it will take you there.
I’ll be doing one of these drafts every week or two leading up to the big day in late April. Over time I will add more Rounds, Prospects, and account for off-season moves in Free Agency and Trades which will have a direct effect on the picks. But most of all, I’ll be doing my best to keep those of you in Steeler Nation updated and as interested as possible in the Draft.
(All team photos Courtesy of http://sportslogos.net/)