Nov 2, 2013; Columbia, SC, USA; South Carolina Gamecocks defensive end Jadeveon Clowney (7) stands on the sidelines during a timeout against the Mississippi State Bulldogs at Williams-Brice Stadium. The Gamecocks defeated the Bulldogs 34-16. Mandatory Credit: Jeremy Brevard-USA TODAY Sports

Pittsburgh Steelers 2014 Draft: AC’s Mock Draft 2.0 #FanSidedMock


On Sunday night at 8 p.m. I teamed up with fellow football writers and NFL Draft enthusiasts Rishi Pochiraju, Derrik Klassen, and Zachary Gardner for a two round mock draft on twitter.  We used #FanSidedMock to track the picks, but here they are in front of you.  I included descriptions for all of my picks.

 

Round 1

1. Houston Texans (Me): Teddy Bridgewater, QB, Louisville

It was a toss up between Bridgewater and Bortles for this pick.  I broke the tie with my rankings.  Bridgewater is my number two overall player and Bortles is my number nine overall player.  Bridgewater is, in my opinion, would have been the second best quarterback in the 2012 draft.  He’s as much of a sure thing as there is in the draft and the Texans would not be wise to pass him up.

2. St. Louis Rams (f/WAS) (Zachary): Jake Matthews, OT, Texas A&M

3. Jacksonville Jaguars (Derrik): Jadeveon Clowney, DE, South Carolina

4. Cleveland Browns (Rishi): Sammy Watkins, WR, Clemson

5. Oakland Raiders (Me): Blake Bortles, QB, Central Florida

I took my top rated quarterback with the first pick and now my second rated quarterback with the fifth pick.  Because of other needs, Bortles slipped to the Raiders here.  Matt Schaub shouldn’t stop anyone from taking a quarterback this early, and I wasn’t about to let him stop me from taking one.  However, Bortles isn’t completely pro-ready so Schaub will provide insurance and maybe even start for the next few years.

6. Atlanta Falcons (Zachary): Khalil Mack, OLB, Buffalo

7. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (Derrik): CJ Mosley, ILB, Alabama

8. Minnesota Vikings (Rishi): Kyle Fuller, CB, Virginia Tech

9. Buffalo Bills (Me): Greg Robinson, OT, Auburn

Going in knowing I had the pick for the Bills I was hoping to get either Robinson or Matthews, I just didn’t think would happen.  I was so happy when he fell to this pick.  Robinson’s upside is higher than anyone in the draft except for Clowney.  Offensive tackle just so happens to be a need for the Bills, too.  If the front office expects EJ Manuel to become a franchise quarterback they need to get him protection.

10. Detroit Lions (Zachary): Ha Ha Clinton-Dix, S, Alabama

11. Tennessee Titans (Derrik): Dee Ford, OLB, Auburn

12. New York Giants (Rishi): Taylor Lewan, OT, Michigan

13. St. Louis Rams (Me): Mike Evans, WR, Texas A&M

Zachary went with an offensive tackle at number two and Mike Evans was still on the board so this wasn’t a hard choice to make.  The Rams top three receivers in terms of future ability are all under six feet.  Adding Evans to the mix will give Sam Bradford another toy to play with.  Getting Matthews at two and now Evans at thirteen means no more excuses for Sam Bradford, if he doesn’t win it’s time to get a new quarterback.

Feb 22, 2014; Indianapolis, IN, USA; North Carolina Tar Heel tight end Eric Ebron gets ready to run the 40 yard dash during the 2014 NFL Combine at Lucas Oil Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports

14. Chicago Bears (Zachary): Aaron Donald, DT, Pittsburgh

15: THE PITTSBURGH STILLERS (Me): Eric Ebron, TE, North Carolina

This pick came down to three players for me, Eric Ebron, Odell Beckham, and Jason Verrett.  Losing Cotchery hurt. Bad.  The Lance Moore signing was good and cost effective, but it isn’t enough to make me not take a receiver or joker tight end in the first round.  Ebron is undoubtedly the top tight end in the draft and I wouldn’t blink an eye if ODB went in the top 10.  I considered Verrett because he is my top CB in the class bar none.  He is physical, good against the run, and the best in the class at defending the catch point.  If he was two or three inches taller he would be my seventh rated player overall.  I ruled Verrett out because I though a pass catcher would make a bigger impact and I could find a future shutdown corner in the second round.  I chose Ebron over ODB because Beckham is very similar to Antonio in his game.  I felt Ebron would have a better opportunity to make an impact because he could line up inline and in the slot.

16. Dallas Cowboys (Rishi): Jimmie Ward, S, Northern Illinois

17. Baltimore Ravens (Derrik): Odell Beckham, WR, LSU

18. New York Jets (Me): Demarcus Lawrence, OLB, Boise State

I absolutely would have gone with a receiver or tight end here, but I didn’t think there were any left on the board who were worthy of this pick.  Although the Jets had a very solid defense last year, you can never have too many pass rushers.  Lawrence is underrated way too much by the general media, and could turn out to be one of the best 3-4 outside linebackers in this class.

19: Miami Dolphins (Zachary): Davante Adams, WR, Fresno State

20. Arizona Cardinals (Rishi): Derek Carr, QB, Fresno State

21. Green Bay Packers (Derrik): Ra’Shede Hageman, DT, Minnesota

22. Philadelphia Eagles (Zachary): Jeremiah Attaochu, OLB, Georgia Tech

23. Kansas City Chiefs (Derrik): Johnny Manziel, QB, Texas A&M

24. Cincinnati Bengals (Rishi): Darqueze Dennard, CB, Michigan State

25: San Diego Chargers (Me): Louis Nix III, DT, Notre Dame

A one mister Camaron Thomas, formerly of the Chargers, signed with the Steelers a few weeks ago leaving the Chargers with a gaping hole up the middle.  While Nix isn’t an every down player, and may never be an every down player, he has the potential to be Vince Wilfork good.  The Chargers can’t pass up an opportunity to add a difference making nose tackle to replace and improve on Cam Thomas.

26. Cleveland Browns (Zachary): Brett Smith, QB, Wyoming

27. New Orleans Saints (Derrik): Jason Verrett, CB, TCU

28. Carolina Panthers (Rishi): Marqise Lee, WR, USC

29. New England Patriots (Me): Allen Robinson, WR, Penn State

I wasn’t thinking about adding anything except a receiver or tight end with this pick.  Jace Amaro was my highest rated tight end available but I didn’t think he was worthy of the pick as much as Robinson was.  I also considered Brandin Cooks with this pick, but he is too similar to Edelman and Amendola.  I ended up taking Robertson because he is a tall receiver and deep threat like the Patriots need.

30. San Francisco 49ers (Zachary): Bradley Roby, CB, Ohio State

31. Denver Broncos (Derrik): Xavier Su’a-Filo, OG, UCLA

32. Seattle Seahawks (Rishi): Jace Amaro-TE-Texas Tech

 

Round 2

33. Houston Texans (Me): Kony Ealy, DE, Missouri

Other than quarterback, I would argue that 5-tech is the biggest need on the Texans roster.  Ealy is the 18th rated player on my big board and while he isn’t a perfect fit in a 3-4 defense, he is a good enough fit to warrant a pick here.  This is probably my favorite pick that I made in the mock draft.  Ealy lining up opposite of JJ Watt will be scary for offensive lines.

34. Washington Redskins (Zachary): Pierre Desir, CB, Lindenwood

35. Cleveland Browns (Derrik): Gabe Jackson, OG, Mississippi State

36. Oakland Raiders (Rishi): Justin Gilbert, CB, Oklahoma State

37. Atlanta Falcons (Me): Zach Martin, OT, Notre Dame

There is no way Zack Martin should be available with this pick, but he is.  The Falcons also have needs along the offensive line.  The Falcons and Martin were pretty much a match made in heaven because of Martin’s versatility to play anywhere on the offensive line, his value in the early second round, and the Falcons undeniable need along the offensive line.

38. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (Zachary): David Yankey, OG, Stanford

39. Jacksonville Jaguars (Derrik): David Fales, QB, San Jose State

40. Minnesota Vikings (Rishi): Jimmy Garrapolo, QB, Eastern Illinois

41. Buffalo Bills (Me): Brandin Cooks, WR, Oregon State

I already added an offensive tackle to help protect the future of the Bills, EJ Manuel.  Now I add a weapon to give him someone to throw to besides the ho-hum foursome of  Stevie Johnson, Robert Woods, Marquise Goodwin, and Scott Chandler.  Cooks is an electrifying playmaker who I would compare to the all to familiar Antonio Brown.  If the Bills can get a player comparable to AB here, it will be a huge win.

42. Tennessee Titans (Zachary): Ja’Wuan James, OT, Tennessee

43. New York Giants (Derrik): Timmy Jernigan, DT, Florida State

44. St. Louis Rams (Rishi): Cody Latimer, WR, Indiana

Oct 26, 2013; Columbus, OH, USA; Ohio State Buckeyes linebacker Ryan Shazier (2) gets a defensive signal from the sideline against the Penn State Nittany Lions at Ohio Stadium. Ohio State won 63-14. Mandatory Credit: Greg Bartram-USA TODAY Sports

45. Detroit Lions (Zachary): Jordan Matthews, WR, Vanderbilt

46. THE PITTSBURGH STILLERS (Me): Ryan Shazier, LB, Ohio State

I know that earlier I said that I was going to target a corner here, and that’s what I was thinking at the end of the first round.  Then Ryan Shazier was still available.  He is a playmaker and difference maker at the linebacker position and that alone makes him a tantalizing prospect.  He is also very versatile.  He can pass rush, cover, and defend the run.  The one area of his game that is lacking is discipline, but on the Steelers he could roam free and make plays because he would be playing opposite Lawrence Timmons.  A Shazier and Timmons combo would be almost as nasty as the Kony Ealy and JJ Watt pair.

47. Dallas Cowboys (Rishi): Kyle Van Noy, OLB, BYU

48. Baltimore Ravens (Derrik): Dominique Easley, DT, Florida

49. New York Jets (Me): Jarvis Landry, WR, LSU

I added a pass rusher in the first round, which meant that I almost had to unconditionally go with a receiver here in the second round.  Landry was my top rated player left on my board and he was also a receiver.  A 100% match.  The recently signed Eric Decker is a flashy big play receiver, while Jarvis Landry is a tough and gritty possession receiver.  They’ll work well together.

50. Miami Dolphins (Zachary): Carlos Fields, LB, Winston Salem State

51. Chicago Bears (Derrik): Calvin Pryor, S, Louisville

52. Arizona Cardinald (Rishi): Bishop Sankey, RB, Washington

53. Green Bay Packers (Me): Lamarcus Joyner, S, Florida State

Joyner is one player who I think should be getting way more hype than he is.  He may be short and not physically equipped to play the position, blah blah blah.  I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, size is the most overrated trait in football when it comes to certain positions.  Joyner has the one ability that few others in this class have.  He’s a tough, gritty, hardnosed, throwback, get the job done football player.  That alone made this pick worth it.

54. Philadelphia Eagles (Zachary): Deone Bucannon, S, Washington State

55. Cincinnati Bengals (Derrik): Travis Swanson, C, Arkansas

56. San Francisco 49ers (Rishi): Stanley Jean-Baptiste, CB, Nebraska

57. San Diego Chargers (Me): Anthony Barr, OLB, UCLA

I was eyeing Barr for this pick once he slipped into the 40′s.  I know the Chargers have Dwight Freeney, Jarrett Johnson, Melvin Ingram, and Larry English. Whatever.  Freeney and Johnson are both on the wrong side of 30 and Larry English just isn’t good enough to be a starter.  Ingram has performed up to expectations so far, but he has been injured so he gets a pass.  Barr will play sparingly until he has two or three years of experience and is fully matured.  A healthy Ingram and fully matured Barr will be as dangerous rush combo as there is in the league.

58. New Orleans Saints (Zachary): Marcus Matin, C, USC

59. Indianapolis Colts (Derrik): Jarred Abbrederis, WR, Wisconsin

60. Carolina Panthers (Rishi): Bashaud Breeland, CB, Clemson

61. San Francisco 49ers (Me): Stephon Tuitt, DT, Notre Dame

Zachary and Rishi chose to go cornerback with the first two picks, which made my decision relatively easy.  I don’t think wide receiver is  as big of a need as it’s being made out to be and I think defensive end is a bigger need than it’s made out to be.  Tuitt isn’t remotely ready to start, but he won’t need to until Justin Smith is gone.  When the time comes he could be a very solid starter.

62. New England Patriots (Zachary): Zach Kerr, DT, Delaware

63. Denver Broncos (Derrik): Weston Richburg, C, Colorado State

64. Seattle Seahawks (Rishi): Tre Mason, RB, Auburn

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Tags: Eric Ebron Pittsburgh Steelers Ryan Shazier

  • Allison Bell

    Maniel to kc is absolutely ridiculous…..wr, dl, ol, db is our needs but thanks for playing.

    • Anthony Chiado

      They may have all those other needs, but as Derrik put it, Alex Smith isn’t going to win them a Super Bowl. I doesn’t matter who else is around him, you aren’t going to win a Super Bowl with him at quarterback. He may get you 10-13 wins a season, but you aren’t going very far in the playoffs with him at the helm and the whole reason you play is to hoist the Lombardi. I don’t think Manziel will be good enough to even get you to the playoffs but Derrik was the one that made the pick not me.

  • Joshua Giovannone

    I don’t even know where to begin, especially with the Steelers. Just no to the first rounder. Come on guys.

    • Anthony Chiado

      What’s wrong with Ebron and Shazier? They are both outstanding values at where they were being picked and they both would fill a need. That’s about all you can ask for in a draft.

      • Joshua Giovannone

        I would like them, especially the first round pick, if we were 25th maybe. We can’t pass up the two best CBs for a TE when that isn’t our biggest hole.

        • Anthony Chiado

          Who do you think are the two best corners? Because if you are talking about Gilbert and Dennard, I’d choose to pass them up at 15 ten times out of ten. Second of all, pass catcher is definitely our biggest need and Ebron was the best pass catcher left on the board.

          • Joshua Giovannone

            You’re probably one of the very few that believe there are better corners than them. And if you look at our stats, corner is our biggest hole.

          • Anthony Chiado

            Why are you citing stats? That’s the first way to tell someone doesn’t know anything about football. Corner is absolutely a big need, but it’s nowhere need as big as a pass catcher. The top 3 corners from last year are still on the roster, meanwhile our receivers are made up of AB, an aging Heath, an unproven Wheaton, an aging Lance Moore, and a bunch of guys who barely deserve to make a roster. I also know TONS of people that have at least one corner above Gilbert and at least 3 above Dennard.

          • Dom DiTolla

            Spot on AC. Gilbert is a fine corner, but he would be wasted in Pittsburgh’s defensive scheme since he struggles to fight off blocks and his tremendous ball-skills would go to waste in LeBeau’s catch-and-tackle scheme.

            Dennard’s aggressiveness is nice, but his lateral agility and the fluidness of his hips are a cause for concern. Moreover, I question how much grabbing and tugging he will get away with against receivers at the pro level on passes down the field.

            The Steelers could get more value and some better scheme fit guys at the end of round one, assuming they trade back, from the likes of Kyle Fuller, Jason Verrett or even Bradley Roby if they can work out some of his inconsistencies.

            At 15, the only player who is projected to fall who I believe the Steelers should take is Ebron. The draft is stocked with quality cornerbacks, some of whom fit better into their defensive scheme than Gilbert or Dennard, while WR still is an enormous need for the reasons you mentioned above, sir.

          • Anthony Chiado

            Yes. Thank You Dom. I also like to call Dennard “Chad Scott Jr.”

          • Dom DiTolla

            While I think there are nice aspects to Dennard’s game (aggressiveness in presss, recovery speed, ability to tackle), I think he will have trouble against bigger receivers (6’2”+) if he can’t re-route them and shiftier guys like Ty Montgomery who toasted him a couple of times in the Rose Bowl.

            I happen to like Gilbert at #15, because Pittsburgh’s defense desperately needs a cornerback with his ball-skills and play-making ability (coupled with his ability as a return man). Yet the defensive scheme they run and what they ask their cornerbacks to do would highlight his weaknesses (trying to tackle in space and playing more zone than man or off-man) more than his strengths. If anybody but LeBeau were the coordinator, I would be happy with Gilbert as a selection.

            Overall, my top five at the position would be:

            1. Gilbert (who I’d love in the secondary if they used him appropriately)
            2. Fuller
            3. Verrett
            4. Roby
            5. Dennard

            As far as scheme fit is concerned for Pittsburgh, I’d probably go with:

            1. Fuller
            2. Verrett (I know people don’t like his size, but he would be a terrific addition to the secondary)
            3. Watkins (versatility was huge at UF)
            4. Roby (if Lake can coach him up like Keenan Lewis)
            5. Dennard

            Thoughts?

          • Anthony Chiado

            I absolutely agree with you that Dennard and Gilbert both have some very nice aspects to their game, I just think that their weaknesses overshadow them a bit depending on scheme. I would actually love Gilbert at 15 if they didn’t make him start his first year and if they let him play press.
            My top five at the position are:
            1. Verrett (I don’t care if he’s small, he challenges the catch point better than any of the 6′+ corners in the class)
            2. Fuller.
            3. Gilbert
            4. Roby
            5. Dennard
            Verrett and Fuller are the only two I’d select at 15 for the Steelers, but if they trade back or wait to the second I’d take Gilbert, Roby, Dennard, Bashaud Breeland, Pierre Desir, or Watkins

          • Dom DiTolla

            Exactly. I would rather them trade down between 20-32 to find a cornerback. I would hope that Fuller, Verrett or Roby would still be on the board. Also, trading back like that would also net them either a 3rd or 4th round pick and a chance to look at other CBs in those rounds.

            Stanley Jean-Baptiste or Desir could be intriguing developmental guys, a la Ike Taylor in the third, and Louchiez Purifoy could also be a steal due to his athleticism if he falls near the end of round three. Even though they’re a bit smaller framed, I like the aggressiveness of E.J. Gaines and Rashaad Reynolds as well.

          • Anthony Chiado

            Yeah, they definitely should draft 2 corners because a fourth round guy in this class is like a 2nd or 3rd round guy in another class. I also saw a mock that had Kony Ealy going to the Steelers. What are your thoughts on that? I’d like his fit as a pass rushing defensive end who is also pretty good in run defense.

          • Dom DiTolla

            They can wait to draft an outside linebacker in my personal opinion. Not necessarily sold on Ealy as a pass-defender, which he would need to do as an OLB in LeBeau’s defense. They can pick up Kyle Van Noy in round two or even Jeremiah Attaochu then as well. Both also have experience in 3-4 schemes at the college level. I for one love Van Noy, and his versatility would make him a huge asset against the pass and the run.

            In addition, since Moats should provide some adequate depth at OLB if everyone stays healthy inside, the team could take a chance on some later round guys like Shaq Barrett of CSU (familiar w/Porter), Derrell Johnson of East Carolina, James Gayle of Va Tech if they’re looking for astrongside OLB to back Worilds up, or even roll the dice on Aaron Lynch if his supposed character concerns and lack of productivity after he
            transferred from Notre Dame don’t bother them.

          • Anthony Chiado

            I was thinking of Ealy playing 5-tech not outside linebacker. He’s already 6’4″ 273 pounds and he has the frame to easily add another 10-15 pounds. He is good enough against the run that being only around 285 won’t really matter that much and he will be an outstanding pass rusher.

          • Dom DiTolla

            I guess, but I think that’s a) way too early for a franchise like Pittsburgh to take a 5-technique and b) way too early to take a player who has almost zero experience playing a position he is being drafted to play.

            Plus, bulking up to hold firm and play a two-gap defensive end could take away from Ealy’s ability to explode attack opposing signal-callers when he is called upon to do so. I think stronger and shorter (6’3″ and below) interior linemen could do damage against him as well if he is unable to play with consistent pad level.

            The Steelers are better off letting Mitchell groom raw guys like Williams and Arnfelt. Plus, there are plenty of under-the-radar five-techniques who they could target later in the process. Brent Urban of Virginia, Josh Mauro of Stanford, Taylor Hart of Oregon and Deandre Coleman could be day three options, and Caraun Reid of Princeton could be a solid rotational player at all spots along the line like Al Woods. Will Clarke of West Virginia could be that pass-rushing five-technique if they elect to go with a guy on day two as well.

          • Anthony Chiado

            Yeah, that’s true

          • Dom DiTolla

            What do you think of Reid as a prospect? While he lacks prototypical size for a 5-tech or 0-tech, he lined up in numerous different spots for Princeton and showed flashes of being a two-gap lineman. They’ve already got two versatile guys in Thomas and McLendon, do you think they’ll try and add another one?

          • Anthony Chiado

            If they are trying to find a replacement for Al Woods, I think he would be a great value in the fourth round or even at the end of the third round. Although he’s smaller than Woods, he plays the same and has almost the same build. I also like how he played 0-tech and 5-tech at Princeton, so, just like Woods, he could be a very nice backup for both positions immediately and probably develop into a starter at 5-tech. If the defense switches form a 3-4 to 4-3 after LeBeau is gone in a few years he could hopefully start at either 3-tech or 1-tech.

          • Dom DiTolla

            Glad someone agrees with me on Reid (as well as Verrett). Some people are too hung up on the guys frames as opposed to what their particular skill-sets are and how they fit into the schemes Pittsburgh runs.

            Any late-round guys (at any position) you hope the Steelers target?

          • Anthony Chiado

            First of all, I’m glad to see that you agree with me too. I like to say that size, at certain positions, is the most overrated trait of a football player.
            There aren’t really any late round guys that I can think of that I like more that most other people. A few mid round guys I like are Avery Williamson-ILB-Kentucky, Dexter McDougle-CB-Maryland, Devin Street-WR-Pitt, and Kevin Pierre Louis-OLB-Boston College. I’d like all of those guys in the fourth round, except for Williamson who I’d take at the end of the third. Williamson is the one guy who absolutely want the Steelers to draft. He is SO underrated and could easily step in and start immediately. Watch his Louisville tape and you’ll agree with me

          • Dom DiTolla

            I like what Williamson brings to the table, especially after the type of success that Wesley Woodyard and Danny Trevathan have had at the pro level in recent seasons. Yet I’d be wary about the team taking another ILB earlier than the end of round five, especially with Garvin, Williams and even Spence possibly coming back.

            Only so many spots on the roster, and he could get snapped up if they try to put him on the practice squad. If Spence can’t return however, I hope they target that position late to try and find a prospect like Williamson (who played pretty well against Louisville, might need to get stronger to fight off blocks at the pro level though). Also, keep an eye on Marquis Flowers of Arizona. Like Garvin, he was a former safety in college who transitioned to linebacker later in his career. Could be a solid sub-package weapon for the Steelers to target late on day three or as a UDFA.

            McDougle could be in play on Day 3 as well, and I’d be down with the team taking him if his fractured scapula won’t be an issue. If Walt Aikens falls, I really hope the Steelers give him a serious look if his dismissal from Illinois doesn’t put them off. Can play safety or cornerback and possesses good size to play both in and outside the box. Kendall James of Maine might be another small-school guy the Steelers target late as well.

            While I like Street as a mid-round prospect, I really like what I have seen from Cody Latimer. Guy can play inside and outside, has untapped athletic potential and flew under the radar at Indiana. Background as a basketball player is also a serious plus if Mann can bring him along too. Steelers also seem to be doing due diligence on smaller receivers as well. Bruce Ellington was just in for a visit and Colbert raved about Robert Herron at the Senior Bowl.

          • Anthony Chiado

            I’ll definitely have to check out Flowers because I haven’t seen any of him yet. There is a lot weighing on McDougle’s injury, but I believe when healthy he’s a Day 2 corner. Walt Aikens would also be tremendous value in the fifth round if he falls that far. I love Latimer, especially in the Steelers scheme, but my fear is that he will be gone in the second round and maybe even before the Steelers pick. As for Ellington and Herron, I would take either of them our third compensatory pick if none of the top receivers are still on the board, and be thrilled with it.

          • Dom DiTolla

            If you can find anything from Flowers’ game against USC back in 2012, that would be a good place to start.

            He moved from safety to linebacker when the team went to a 3-3-5 stack scheme when Rich Rod. arrived back in 2012. Very productive and had a nose for the football (24.0 tfls, 4 ints, 3 ffs and 3 frs during two years as starter at LB). Similar frame to Garvin (6’3″ 233 lbs.) and could push for sub-package duties with pass coverage skills. Definitely worth a look.