It’s time for some more of my “2013 Mock Draft Analysis!” On Monday, Josh Hill of Fansided.com unveiled his new and updated 2013 N.F.L. Mock Draft. In his Mock, Hill once again projected the following player to be selected by the Steelers with the 17th overall pick in Round 1:
Johnathan Hankins, Nose Tackle, Ohio State
The Steelers have so many needs that aren’t yet dire needs. They have an aging defense that is slowly withering away, but the unit still has a few years left in it, which affords the front office to pile up replacements in the meantime. Hankins falls to the Steelers by way of some interesting moves before their pick, but you won’t hear them complaining about drafting him. Casey Hampton is 35 and by bringing in Hankins Pittsburgh won’t have to worry about a nose tackle again for another 10 years.
I know, I know. Hill seems to be sticking with the thought that the Steelers are in desperate need of help at the Nose Tackle position. Sure, Casey “Big Snack” Hampton will likely be leaving this offseason, but the Steelers still have options to turn to behind him. Steve McLendon is projected to be the starter, while 4th Round pick Alameda Ta’amu and 2012 UDFA Hebron Fangupo will likely receive chances to earn backup reps.
The Steelers have too many needs on the Defensive side of the ball, and Offensive side of the ball as well, to waste such a high draft pick on a position with young depth already there. I’ve made my thoughts clear on the matter of why I believe it would be foolish for Pittsburgh’s brass to go the “Nose Tackle Route” in Round, so for the sake of brevity I’ll link each post where I made the aforementioned argument (here, here, and here).
Even right now, I would have a hard time believing that the Steelers would burn such an important draft pick on a Nose Tackle like Hankins. Do not get me wrong, the former Buckeye was a productive and talented player in college. But the 6’3″ 325 lb. Hankins also dealt weight and “motor” issues over the course of his career. Thus, his selection would be a risky proposition for a rebuilding franchise like Pittsburgh sitting with the 17th overall pick.
In addition, I would definitely be shocked if Pittsburgh’s brass took Hankins over players who were mocked behind the Nose Tackle by Hill. Players like Wide Receiver Keenan Allen, Safety Matt Elam, Cornerbacks Johnthan Banks and Desmond Trufant, and even Guard Chance Warmack would be better fits with Pittsburgh. Plus, each player could help to upgrade positions in need of much more help than Nose Tackle.
Thoughts and musings on whether the Steelers “need” a Nose Tackle aside, let’s all agree that this weekend’s Scouting Combine (February 23rd-26th) should be entertaining to watch.