Every week from now until the N.F.L. Draft in late-April, Fansided.com’s writers will be coming out with new and updated versions of their 2013 N.F.L. Mock Drafts. During this period, I will be writing up weekly break-downs and providing analysis of every projected Pittsburgh selection in the installments (last week’s is here). Each team-themed Fansided site will be participating in this activity, and I must say that this project has the potential to be a fun and interesting experience for all of you Draft-loving readers. But enough of me babbling, let’s get to my analysis of who Fansided’s Josh Sanchez believes will be taken by the Steelers (with pick #21 of 32 in the 1st Round) his latest Mock Draft:
Alec Ogletree, Inside Linebacker, University of Georgia
The Steelers are aging on defense and no one knows as well as Dick LeBeau that you can never have too many linebackers. Pittsburgh will be looking to add a young inside linebacker early in this years draft and Ogletree could be that guy. Another name to keep an eye on would be Alabama’s CJ Mosley and you can never count out a developmental quarterback.
If the Steelers do indeed select Ogletree (or C.J. Mosley for that matter) in Round 1 next April, I will do cartwheels in my living room. As a close follower of the Steelers, I believe that Sanchez is right on the money with his assessment regarding Pittsburgh’s current situation at Inside Linebacker. Thus, a pick like Ogletree or Mosley would do this team good and would fill a tremendous need. Don’t believe me? Let’s look at Pittsburgh’s current “2-Deep” Depth Chart at the position for a moment:
- Larry Foote will be 33 years old in 2013, is a 2-Down player at this point in his career despite his fine season so far (84 Tackles, 4.0 Sacks, 2 FF’s, 2 FR’s), and will be an Unrestricted Free Agent when the 2012 campaign ends.
- Lawrence Timmons is still a stout force in the middle (73 Tackles, 1.0 Sack, 1 FF, 3 INT’s, 1 TD). However, he will likely have to transition to Foote’s “Buck/Strongside” position in a few years, and has had his fair share of issues in pass coverage Subpackages this season to boot.
- Stevenson Sylvester seems to be prone to injuries, Special Teams miscues, and will be a RFA after this season.
- Rookie Sean Spence was thought to contribute as a 3rd Down & Subpackage Linebacker until his knee was shredded during the final preseason game.
I for one am a big fan of Pittsburgh selecting an Inside Linebacker in one of the first two Rounds. In addition, I am also a fan of Ogletree, and I believe he could be a solid solution as the heir apparent to Timmons at the “Mack/Weakside” Inside Linebacker position. The former Safety has showed off some solid pass coverage skills during his stint at Georgia, and has flashed the ability to be a “3 Down” Linebacker at the professional level. Unfortunately, Ogletree has had to overcome some injury and off-field issues over the last two seasons. This year however, Ogletree has enjoyed a breakout 2012 campaign.
In only 9 games, Ogletree has already put up 99 Tackles, 2.0 Sacks, 4 Passes Defended, 1 Interception, and scored on a Blocked Field Goal return in the S.E.C. Championship game! The Bulldogs’ Tackling Machine also knows how to “lay the wood” to the opposition as well, and is already a menacing (6’3” 232 lbs.) presence in the middle of the field.
I should add of course that for the Steelers to even select Ogletree (as well as Mosley or L.S.U.’s Kevin Minter) in April, he must first forgo his final season as a collegiate player because he is a true Junior (Minter is a Redshirt Junior). It would truly be a shame for Pittsburgh if both came back for their Senior seasons as I am sure that both Ogletree and Mosley would be Top-15 picks in 2014, and likely out of the Steelers’ range at that time.
The need for help at Inside Linebacker exists for the Steelers, and it will be interesting to see what direction the team goes in if Mosley and Ogletree are on the board when Pittsburgh is ready to pick in Round 1. What Pittsburgh needs over the next few seasons is a compliment to Timmons on the Inside, and most importantly, a Linebacker who could help to form a heck of a duo with (a hopefully healthy) Spence on 3rd Downs and in Nickel & Dime packages. Whether or not the Steelers will fill the void and attempt to upgrade at the position as early as the 1st Round has still yet to be determined. But unless a top talent at another position of need falls to Pittsburgh like David DeCastro did last season, Ogletree or Mosley would be terrific BPA/Position of Need selections at Pick #21 in Round 1.
Share Your Thoughts: Do you readers like Sanchez’s projection? Is Inside Linebacker a route you would like to see the Steelers go in during Round 1? Or are there other positions of need that must be addressed? Would you rather see Pittsburgh select another future “Mack/Weakside” on Day 2 like Minter, Rutgers’ Khaseem Greene, Stanford’s Shayne Skov, or another prospect?