It’s time for another installment of my “2013 Mock Draft Analysis!” On Monday, Josh Sanchez of Fansided.com unveiled his new and updated 2013 NFL Mock Draft. In his Mock, Sanchez projected the Steelers to select Eddie Lacy with their 1st Round pick and Gavin Escobar with their 2nd Round pick:
The Steelers need offensive weapons at every position. At least one running back has been drafted in the first round of every NFL draft since 1963 and the Steelers will continue a trend with a physical runner who fits their mentality perfectly.
(Sanchez failed to do a write up on Escobar)
First of all, let me state that if Pittsburgh’s brass select Eddie Lacy or any running back in Round 1, especially at #17 overall, I will definitely question their collective sanity.
Make no mistake, Lacy had a fine career at Alabama (2012: 1,322 rush yards, 17 touchdowns, 189 receiving yards, 2 touchdowns), and he definitely performed well in Alabama’s national title romp versus Notre Dame. But Lacy also brings some durability concerns with him, and some might believe that his stats were a bit padded from running behind an offensive line as talented as the Tide’s over the last few seasons.
Moreover, the Steelers have entirely too many needs to fill on the offensive side of the ball before they can begin to think about taking a running back with the 17th overall selection (wide receiver and tight end).
I would also question why the Steelers would take a running back with Lacy’s frame (5’11” 231 lbs.), especially because the team already has two “big backs” on their roster in the forms of Jonathan Dwyer and Isaac Redman.
At least to me, what Pittsburgh’s offense really needs at the running back position is a shifty, one-cut, speed back who will compliment Dwyer and Redman, help out in the passing game, and add an element of speed to the position which hasn’t been there since the days of “Fast” Willie Parker. Heck, I’d rather see the Steelers take the raw Cordarrelle Patterson and move him to running back then to see them draft Lacy at #17, but that’s an entirely different article altogether.
In my opinion, Pittsburgh would be better served to wait until Days 2 & 3 to fill their running back need with players like Andre Ellington (Clemson), Johnathan Franklin (UCLA), Joseph Randle (Oklahoma State), Kenjon Barner (Oregon), Mike Gillislee (Florida), Jawan Jamison (Rutgers), or even Ray Graham (Pittsburgh) or Marcus Lattimore (South Carolina) if their knees are back to 100%.
While I definitely have some reservations about the Steelers taking Eddie Lacy, I would be downright ecstatic to see Colbert & Co. take former San Diego State Aztec tight end Gavin Escobar.
As a life-long Aztec fan, it would definitely put a smile on my face to see the Steelers draft a tight end who is as talented as Escobar to pair with Heath Miller. In fact, it would not shock me at all if Pittsburgh’s brass went in the “tight end direction” on Day 1 or Day 2 of this weekend’s draft.
The Steelers need a tall, physical, and athletic threat to utilize in their passing-game near the goal line and in the red zone, and a player like Gavin could be a perfect fit in that type of role. The big-framed Escobar (6’6″ 254 lbs.) was the go-to-guy for Ryan Lindley, Ryan Katz, and Adam Dingwell during the three year career at Montezuma Mesa (2010-2012: 122 catches, 1,646 yards, 17 touchdowns), and also possesses a set of the most reliable hands of any tight end in this draft class. Moreover, Gavin can not only line-up as an in-line tight end, but can also be utilized in the slot, and is definitely a “mismatch” threat for any opposing defensive coordinator.
While Escobar is far more proficient as a pass-receiver, his blocking is nothing to dismiss either. During his career at San Diego State, Escobar improved as a blocker each and every season, and definitely is a willing participant in the run-game. The Aztecs employed a “ground-n-pound” offense over the last three years, and Escobar was an important cog in San Diego State offensive lines which helped guys like Ronnie Hillman (now of the Broncos), Adam Muema, and Walter Kazee achieve so much success during that time period.
Well “Steeler Nation,” the draft is only three days away and the intrigue and suspense are still running high. With so many needs at so many different positions, the Steelers can go in a number of directions over the draft’s first three to four rounds. I am sure that Colbert & Co. will target a running back and a tight end at some point, so keep a close eye on whom is available when Pittsburgh goes on the clock this weekend.
Players Contract Info. Provided By: Spotrac.com