For those of you readers who have not noticed, a new and updated 2014 NFL Mock Draft will be published by FanSided.com every week until the momentous weekend in May. This week, Josh Sanchez published FanSided’s newest Mock Draft and projected that the Pittsburgh Steelers would select the following player at number 10 overall:
Taylor Lewan, Offensive Tackle, University of Michigan
The Pittsburgh Steelers have had plenty of issues during their disappointing 2013 campaign, but there has been no weakness more glaring than their offensive line. Between injuries and inconsistent play from their current roster of players, the team desperately needs an upgrade.
The Steelers can get just that by adding Lewan, who many believe is neck and neck with Jake Matthews as the best tackle, in the first-round and pairing him with the impressive Kelvin Beachum to create the best set of bookends that they have had in recent years.
I will be the first person to admit that the Pittsburgh Steelers might be in the market for a long-term answer at the left tackle position during the upcoming offseason.
While Kelvin Beachum has been a solid stop-gap, his best fit might be at one of the guard spots or at right tackle where he started six games for the Steelers during his rookie season of 2012. Mike Adams, the guy Beachum replaced, all but crapped the bed during his dreadful four-game stint on the blind-side at the beginning of the regular season. Marcus Gilbert has been an injury-prone underachiever during the 2012 and 2013 seasons at the right tackle spot and has yet to start a professional game at left tackle.
With two right tackles and one Swiss Army knife in the form of Beachum scheduled to be on their roster next fall, Pittsburgh’s brass could definitely stand to find an answer to their blind-side woes if they are not intrigued enough by Beachum’s recent development down the stretch.
While I am hoping that the Steelers are able to acquire Jake Matthews of Texas A&M, their 5-2 stretch in the middle of the season all but assures that they will not be drafting high enough to take the best offensive tackle of the entire class. In turn, I hope that if Lewan is still on the board that they fill their left tackle need later with another player.
Lewan might have a prototypical left tackle frame (6’7″ 315 lbs.), but lack of foot speed and short area quickness could be exploited mercilessly at the professional level when he is required to pass-protect without help. While a player with his experience at the college level at that position is hard to find, his senior campaign which has been highlighted by injuries and dirty play hasn’t helped him much either. A strong run-blocker, Lewan might actually be better suited to add another 15 lbs. to his frame and move over to the right tackle position at the professional level like Adams could be for the Steelers.
If Matthews, Cyrus Kouandjio from Alabama, or the ultra athletic Cameron Erving from Florida State aren’t available for Pittsburgh’s brass to take though, then I hope that they go with the “BPA” (Best Player Available) regardless of position instead.
In addition to their need for a long-term answer at left tackle, the Steelers must also find a large-bodied wide receiver, an athletic tight end to pair with Heath Miller, and multiple cornerbacks to shore up their secondary. With an enormous need already filled, the Steelers could wait until the second and third rounds to find a left tackle.
Make no mistake, the Steelers have plenty of needs to fill during the upcoming offseason. Yet I do not see why they need to bypass some of the aforementioned ones to add another right tackle to their roster like Lewan when they could find another left tackle later on Draft Weekend.
Like “NPC” on Facebook: Nice Pick, Cowher