Starting with a surprise because the whole Poe, Hightower, Zeitler thing has been talked to death. This doesn't mean I don't like some of the board favorites like Wolfe, Pead, Wagner or Zeitler...it just means that I think some of them will be gone or that some choices could have consequences where other players are concerned. So with that I say that with the 24th pick in the 1st round the Pittsburgh Steelers select...
1. Whitney Mercilus, OLB Illinois - One of the shocks of the 1st round...Mercilus falls to the Steelers. In a passing league the priority is on getting to the QB & Mercilus does that. With Harrison getting older & both his & Woodley's injuries, getting the next wave of dominant Steeler OLBs is critical. With recent picks Worilds & Carter not looking like the impact players we need, plus rumors of Worilds moving inside, we need a player that can cause havoc - especially against Flacco & Dalton.
2. Brandon Brooks, OG Miami (OH) - OL consolation prize after having to pass on Zeitler & Silatolu. A dominant run blocker, he'll have to be coached up on pass plays, but has the size & strength to compete in the AFC North...especially Baltimore.
3. Greg Childs, WR Arkansas - Another mid-round WR find, except this kid has size & strength to go with speed...& he blocks.
4. Kheeston Randall, NT Texas - Back to Texas for a NT that Joe Greene worked out personally. Low numbers but was double-teamed alot.
5. Miles Burris, LB San Diego St. - A play-making sideline to sideline OLB, who best projects as an athletic ILB.
6. Michael Smith, RB Utah St. - Sproles-like but not as good. Fast, quick & good hands...runs hard for his size.
7. Ryan Van Bergen, DE Michigan - Better than you think, experienced 3-4 DE who can get bigger & stronger.
7b. Bradie Ewing, FB Wisc. - Haley uses FBs...Ewing is strong, blocks well & has good hands...its a passing league, think John L. not Kreider.
7c. Derrick Dennis, OL Temple - The size, strength & movement are there...they just need work.
7d. Jeremy Jones, DB Wayne St. - A thumping DB/S prospect with an aggressive special-teams mentality.
- Chandler Harnish, QB N. Illinois - MAC QB with a winner's attitude, a schoolyard game & a good arm...sound familiar?
- Nate Eachus, RB Colgate - Brian Leonard-style RB...hard runner, good receiver.
- Danny Coale, WR VaTech - Grisham take 2? No...faster, bigger, hands not as good. Emergency punter with 43.5 yd. avg.
- Kris Burd, WR Virginia - A player in the Hines Ward mold...goes over the middle, catches everything, blocks everyone.
- James Carmon, OT Miss. St. - An athletic OL project with the tools to succeed if properly fmotivated.
- Carson Wiggs, K/P Purdue - Big leg, handled all kicking & punting duties, used to bad weather.
- Ryan Davis, OLB Bethune-Cookman - Size/speed prospect with a good motor.
- Myles Wade, NT Portland St. - Thickly built, muscled & built to fight in the trenches, surprising athleticism (42 BP, VL 35", BJ 9'-1").