Ed: Pick Should Be One of These 3 Wednesday, 24 April 2013 08:25 Written by Ed Bouchette Good morning,
From what I can determine, one or two of a trio of players the Steelers covet will find their way to No. 17 tomorrow night, provided they stay there and don’t swing a trade to move lower in the first round.
I’ve participated in two mock drafts and will do two more today, one for ESPN-TV (I’m scheduled to be on at 11:40 this morning) and one I’ll put together for Thursday’s Post-Gazette.
You’ll have to wait until I make the pick for ESPN, but in the previous two mocks, I chose two different players. In a mock for CBS, I chose Jarvis Jones. In the beat writers’ mock that took all day yesterday to go through the first round, I chose Tyler Eifert after the Saints took Jones at No. 15. In the CBS mock, the Saints took Kenny Vaccaro.
Judging by that, you might think I will pick Jones in my PG mock for Thursday. Maybe, but that mock isn’t what I would pick, or the player I think the Steelers should pick, it’s my prediction about who I think every team will pick. And if I think the Saints will choose Jones as a longtime writer in New Orleans selected for them yesterday, then I’m not going to pick him for the Steelers.
Do I think the Steelers should pick Jones over Eifert or Vaccaro, the third player I believe they would gladly take in the first round? I don’t really know or care that much, I’m just trying to figure out who they will take. I do believe they like Jones better than Eifert or Vaccaro, so if all three dropped to them, I think that’s how they’d go. I’m not SURE that’s how they’d go, but based on how they play, equal talent at outside linebacker should trump equal talent at tight end and/or safety.
But let’s make a case for all three:
--- Jones could be that rare outside linebacker who defies Kevin Colbert and makes an impact immediately in their defense. I thought LaMarr Woodley did that as a rookie too but he did not start, they pretty much used him only in certain pass rush situations. Jones would compete with Jason Worilds on the right outside to start and he would give them depth at a vital position in which they have little.
--- Eifert also could start immediately at tight end while Heath Miller heals, however long it takes. Once Miller is healthy, there’s nothing wrong with having two tall tight ends capable of becoming main targets in the Steelers passing game. Drafting Eifert also would take the pressure off getting a top wide receiver high in this draft. With those two, Ben Roethlisberger would have all kinds of choices when he drops back. And who knows if Miller, who turns 31 in October, will ever be the same after he tore his ACL, MCL and PCL in the 15th game. --- Vaccaro would be the heir apparent at one of the two safety positions, and the Steelers need two of them. Troy Polamalu is 32 and played only seven games last season because of a calf injury. Ryan Clark turns 34 in October. They also have no one behind them after Ryan Mundy and Will Allen left as free agents. Vaccaro could put in a year as a backup, as Polamalu did as a rookie, and step in to start next season.
Those are the three players I think have the best chance to be taken by the Steelers Thursday night, but they can only take one.