Pittsburgh Steelers: 7-Round Mock Draft
By Andrew Watkins , Featured Columnist Mar 20, 2014
Authorís Note: Iíve included compensatory third- and fifth-round selections in this mock draft. Those projections are per Philly.comís Jimmy Kempski. Kempski does a wonderful job of explaining the logic behind why teams are awarded these compensatory picks.
Round 1: Darqueze Dennard, CB, Michigan State
Ideally, this pick would be Justin Gilbert, who many see as the draftís top cornerback. But with corner-needy teams like the Lions and Rams ahead of the Steelers, that doesnít seem probable.
That being said, the Steelers couldnít ask for a much better consolation prize than Michigan Stateís Darqueze Dennard. Mike Mayock says that Dennard is the draft's best corner.
Itís no secret the Steelers are interested in getting younger and better in the secondary this offseason. The team added Mike Mitchell to replace Ryan Clark, and they were also briefly courting Alterraun Verner, according to ESPN's Scott Brown.
With Verner and most other starting-caliber corners off the market, Pittsburgh will likely look to the draft for Ike Taylorís eventual replacement.
Dennard, one of the premier players on the Spartansí great defense this past season, is known for his physical playing style. He also flashed solid ball skills, with at least three picks in each of his three seasons as a starter.
Round 2: Allen Robinson, WR, Penn State
Even before the departures of Emmanuel Sanders and Jerricho Cotchery, it had long been rumored that the Steelers were in the market for a big wide receiver.
Allen Robinson, who virtually carried Penn Stateís passing game for the past two seasons, fits the bill at 6í3Ē. Robinson was considered a fringe first-rounder but may have ran himself out of the first round after posting an unspectacular 4.60 40-yard dash.
Thatís all the better for the Steelers.
Robinson tore up the Big Ten to the tune of 2,450 receiving yards and 17 scores over the past two seasons. And that was while catching passes from a walk-on in Matt McGloin and a freshman starter in Christian Hackenberg.
Just imagine what he could accomplish with Ben Roethlisberger.
Round 3 (Compensatory): Christian Jones, ILB, Florida State
After the cuts of LaMarr Woodley and Larry Foote, depth at the linebacker spot has become crucial to the Steelers.
With former sixth-rounder Vince Williams penciled in to start next to Lawrence Timmons, the teamís top reserves are Terence Garvin and Sean Spence.
Spence has yet to play an NFL down, and Garvinís claim to fame is a monster block on a punter.
Christian Jones is one of the few incoming rookies who boasts the athleticism to be a true three-down linebacker. Heís also been lauded for his versatility, a trait that should be highly coveted by a team lacking depth and experience amongst its linebackers.
Round 4: Ed Stinson, DE, Alabama
Defensive line wasnít considered a major need for the Steelers prior to the onset of free agency. But, with the departures of Ziggy Hood, Al Woods and the uncertainty regarding Brett Keisel, itís certainly become one.
Ed Stinson wonít offer much as a pass rusher, but fortunately he wonít be expected to either. Where Stinson really shines is in run defense, an aspect of the Steelersí game that fell off significantly in í14.
Round 5: Prince Shembo, OLB, Notre Dame
As previously mentioned, the Steelers are sorely hurting for linebacker depth. The most experienced backup at the outside Ďbacker spot is Chris Carter. Carterís yet to register a sack in three professional seasons.
Prince Shembo was inconsistent at times, but he also flashed the ability to be a quality pass-rusher at the next level. That much is evidenced by his 19.5 career sacks at Notre Dame, as well as his three games with multiple quarterback takedowns.
Round 5 (Compensatory): Storm Johnson, RB, UCF
It appears the Steelers finally found their workhorse in LeíVeon Bell during last yearís draft. However, with the suddenly alarming lack of depth in the backfield, the team will likely be targeting a back in this yearís draft as well.
Johnson was key to UFCís surprising resurgence. In his lone year as a starter, he notched 17 total scores and also flashed some receiving ability with 30 receptions.
Round 6: Ryan Carrethers, NT, Arkansas State
With the recent acquisition of Cam Thomas, the Steelers may feel comfortable at the nose tackle spot. However, if the team is considering a position switch for Steve McLendon, as ESPNís Scott Brown suggests, that could change.
Even if McLendon stands pat, Pittsburgh has a need for large, able bodies along its defensive front. At 337 pounds and mighty strong to boot (32 reps on the bench press), Carrethers fits the bill.
Round 7: Wesley Johnson, OL, Vanderbilt
The Steelers have seen David DeCastro and Maurkice Pouncey succumb to debilitating injuries in successive seasons. As a result, theyíve surely realized that thereís no such thing as too many offensive linemen.
Wesley Johnson is durable, as proven by his Vanderbilt-record 51 starts. Heís also versatile, with experience at every position along the offensive line. Both qualities should appeal to the Steelers.