With the draft now 6 days away it is time to unveil my final mock drafts of the year. This is the 7-round mock draft for the Steelers and next Wednesday will be the full first round mock draft. These projections are based solely on my own opinions and not what I think will happen. So, without further ado, here it is.
Round 1: Pick 15
The Pick: Odell Beckham-WR-LSU
Beckham is widely considered one of the best wide receivers in the draft, but he is still being underrated. I would argue that Beckham is the second best wide receiver in the draft and also a top 10 player overall. He has all of the traits needed for a wide receiver to succeed in the NFL. He is a good route runner, he has exceptional hands, can make catches in traffic, and has incredible run after the catch ability. Any wide receiver needy teem who passes up Beckham after Watkins is off the board will regret it in a few years. He would be a perfect compliment to Antonio Brown as the Steelers second receiver. He could also contribute as a punt and kick returner as a rookie.
Round 2: Pick 56 (from San Francisco)
**PIT trades pick 2(46) to SF for picks 2(56) & 3(94)**
The Pick: DaQuan Jones-DL-Penn State
Plain and simple, Jones is a perfect fit in the Steelers’ defense. He also fills a major need along the defensive line as the Steelers are currently without a starter at one of the two defensive end spots. His versatility should also make him highly coveted by the Steelers front office due to the loss of Al Woods in free agency. Jones could play either nose tackle or five technique defensive end in the Steelers’ defensive scheme. He would start immediately at defensive end, or if Steve McLendon would fit better at defensive end, he could start at nose tackle. Jones is a fantastic run defender and is no slouch against the pass either. He is not getting nearly as much buzz as he deserves and is a legitimate mid second round prospect. He would provide an instant starter along the defensive line in LeBeau’s defense.
Round 3: Pick 94 (from San Francisco)
The Pick: Dexter McDougle-CB-Maryland
For a long time I have touted McDougle as one of the most underrated players in the draft, and that hasn’t changed. I’ve even become more fond of him. I wouldn’t flinch at all if he was taken at the end of the second round by a cornerback needy team. Some people may view him as slightly limited because of his size, but at the least he’ll be a terrific slot corner in the NFL. He will also be a great fit in the Steelers’ defense because he excels in off man coverage. He also has exceptional ball skills and is also good in run defense. He would immediately be good enough to supplant William Gay as the team’s starting slot corner. If the coaches aren’t ready to commit to that, however, he would benefit greatly from a year spent watching veteran corners.
Round 3: Pick 97 (Compensatory Pick)
The Pick: Jackson Jeffcoat-OLB-Texas
Jeffcoat has recently been knocked a little in the media recently, but that doesn’t change the fact that he is a good player. I would be happy to have him join the Steelers as their third round compensatory pick. He suffered various injuries throughout college and was only able to play to his full capability the second half of his senior year. He may lack a large repertoire of pass rush moves, but he makes up for it in versatility and length. His versatility would be widely used in Dick LeBeau’s zone rushing scheme. In passing situations he could even be lined up at inside linebacker, giving the defense three edge players on the field at once. He may only be a depth player, but a team can never have too many pass rushers.
Round 4: Pick 118
The Pick: Ross Cockrell-CB-Duke
If DaQuan Jones is a perfect fit in the Steelers’ defense, then Ross Cockrell is better than perfect. He excels in off man coverage because that’s the scheme he played in college. He wouldn’t have to play immediately as he would be the team’s fifth corner in his rookie season. In the next two or three seasons he would step in as the third corner who would move outside in nickel packages in favor of Dexter McDougle playing in the slot. I would be ecstatic if Ross Cockrell was the pick in the fourth round come next Saturday. He has the potential to be one of the best #3 corners in the league when he is in his prime.
Round 5: Pick 157
The Pick: Marquis Flowers-ILB-Arizona
The more I’ve watched Vince Williams, the more he’s grown on me. He was only a rookie last season and he showed great potential as a two down linebacker. I believe that he can be a very effective two down linebacker in the NFL for a long time in the mold of Brandon Spikes. He probably won’t ever be as good as Spikes, but he could be a poor man’s version of Spikes. If Williams is a two down starter at linebacker opposite Timmons, that prompts the need for a linebacker to play on passing downs. Flowers could be that player. He excels in coverage and pass rushing. His skills in run defense fall a little bit behind, but he won’t be asked to contribute much there. He and Williams could form one of the best 2 down linebacker and nickel linebacker duos in the league.
Round 5: Pick 173 ( Compensatory Pick)
The Pick: Joe Don Duncan-TE-Dixie State
Heath Miller is winding down to the end of his illustrious career in Pittsburgh, but he was signed to an extension this offseason. That means that finding a future starting tight end isn’t as urgent, but it’s better to start the process sooner than later. Duncan will help to shore up well below average depth at tight end in his first season. He would also be able to play in the slot in two tight end sets. Had he not broken his foot during his senior season he could be in consideration for a late fourth round pick. Instead the Steelers capitalize on his value here in the late fifth.
Round 6: Pick 192
The Pick: Kerry Hyder-DE-Texas Tech
Hyder is most widely recognized as a three technique in an even man front, but he has the skills to succeed as a five technique in an odd man front as well. In the sixth round he presents value as a pass rushing five tech who could potentially wind up as a very valuable asset in passing situations. There won’t be much expected out of him this season and he may even be relegated to the practice squad as a rookie. He has upside as a situation five tech pass rusher in the future, however.
Round 6: Pick 215 (Compensatory Pick)
The Pick: Terrance Cobb-RB-Cumberlands (KY)
I was originally turned on to Cobb while watching the Small School Spotlight features on Football Gameplan. Emory Hunt, who runs the site, does a fantastic job of showcasing Cobb’s ability between the tackles and in the open field. Cobb has speed in the 4.4’s but he also comes out of a triple option college scheme in which he was the fullback. Despite his role in college, he can also catch the ball out of the backfield. He would be a fantastic addition to the roster as a change of pace runner who could also gain tough yards between the tackles if need be.
Round 7: Pick 230
The Pick: Gator Hoskins-FB-Marshall
In this scenario the Steelers have 10 picks to work with in the draft, so why not solidify the fullback position. The reason I went with Hoskins over others is because he is the type of fullback/tight end hybrid that the Steelers like to employ in their offense. Big Ben likes to target his fullbacks out of the backfield in short yardage situations near the goal line, and Hoskins would be perfect in that role. He should man the fullback position in Pittsburgh for a long time to come.
That’s it for my final addition of the 7-Round Steelers mock draft. What are your thoughts Steelers Nation? What picks did you like, and which ones didn’t you like? Feel free to leave comments in the section below.