1 Mike Evans WR Texas A&M
2 Stephen Tuitt DE Notre Dame
3c Keith McGill CB Utah
4 Ross Cockrell CB Duke
5 Jordan Zumwalt ILB UCLA
5c Anton Exum S Va Tech
6 Trey Millard FB/TE Oklahoma
7 Cody Latimer WR Indiana
7c DeAnthony Thomas RB Oregon
I think the B+ or A- is a fair grade. If you are on the outside looking in...B+ probably stems off a CB no being selected until 5th. Steelers didn't see CB as big of a need as the media & fans. I will say it is good to hear the Steelers are high on Blake. If he is someone they see as a contributor on the positional level...That's a pres-season battle I'm watching. Kids a specimen. Simply put...The Steelers addressed what they needed to. I'm going to be all positive on this review because every kid is a Steeler.
1st-Ryan Shazier LB / Great Pick imo. I had Mosley at 8 on my Steelers big board. That was a ranking with zero injury concerns. Steelers had more info on that. I think injury concerns & limited position flexibility dropped them on their board. I had Fuller at 13, Dennard at 14, & Shazier at 15. The Steelers must have had Shazier rated in the Top 10 on their board & too good to pass up. Should win starting spot at Mack. He will have some growing pains but his athleticism will be the difference. I do not think anticipating a "Kendrell Bell" type of rookie impact is a far reach.
2nd Stephon Tuitt DE / A healthy 2013 campaign for Tuitt & he is a Top 20 pick. Steelers are very fortunate to have him fall to them. What a future outlook on the DL. May be able to win the starting job at DE as a rookie but I think saying a 2015 starter isn't a reach. Will log valuable snaps this year.
3rd Dri Archer RB / I was one on Archer early & many dismissed him because of his size. 20 reps erased my concerns. I had him as high as 4th...Steelers liked him more. Here's why I liked him from a football standpoint. When you go "20" packages with Archer...You have a SEVERE mismatch. Archer behind Johnson is going to draw base. That's putting a LB or S on Archer. In the slot, the Steelers could utilize him as a WR & the end around. The reason why I like Archer over Seastrunk & McKinnon is because Archer caught 99 balls for 1,194 yards & 12 TDs over his college career. Seastruck caught 9 for 107 & 1 TD over his entire career & McKinnon caught 10 for 165 & 1 TD over his entire career. Archer's versatility makes him a weapon. Archer is more accomplished in the passing game & looks like a receiver in space. Seastrunk & McKinnon don't possess that type of body control in space. All three have return value but Archer is more accomplished. Archer didn't do much punt returns in college but with his receiving background...He will get work at trying to take over those duties. Archer is a more dynamic version of Stephens-Howling...So they got their guy.
4th Martavis Bryant WR / 2nd round talent that they got in the right round for production. A 4th rounder for a possible future "X" is well worth the selection. "Sweed"...Who really cares. If Sweed was a 4th...Nobody would have cared. This is tremendous ceiling value. Like it or hate it...He could push to start right away. Even if he does start...That is no reflection on Wheaton folks. Lets put it this way. Even if they both were equal in practice at understanding the offense, routes, & catching the ball...Bryant is the animal you line up with AB. That's not a knock on Wheaton...That's just what would make the offense more productive. The Steelers could have a very very STRONG & DEEP WR group. AB, Wheaton, Moore, Bryant, & Heyward-Bey is DEEP. Moye & Brown have to beat out Bey...So it could easily end up Brown to PS & Moye to streets. Moye's hill is to steep & Brown has PS eligibility...So I see that as the case unless Bey falls on his face. Bey against 3rd & 4th CBs...I don't think Brown & Moye have a good shot. Don't see them carrying 6 because Archer is you 6th.
5a Shaquille Richardson CB / In a less deep draft class Richardson is a 3rd rounder...So good value. Has the length & athleticism to mold. Like the Lake connection & with a "Lake Effect" on technique...Could replace Taylor down the road. This is a kid a little raw with a very good ceiling.
5b Wesley Johnson OL / Not a popular pick with fans but this pick Smells of Munchak. Already a solid technician. I didn't think the Steelers were looking this high for OL. Going back to look at the tape...I'm sure the Steelers had him rated in the 4th round. He has allot of "nasty" in him. He really fits the zone blocking scheme especially if the Steelers see him as a LT. Give Johnson 34"+ arms...His tape imo makes him a 2nd round talent. This is a kid I'm excited about post selection. His versatility makes him a roster gem. He will push Whimper early & may push Whimper off the roster. Worst case...A PS player for 2014. If he plays well...They may have to make a choice between Whimper & him. I'm interested to see where they play him early. Go watch the South Carolina film on him...You have to give him a look at LT. For everyone fearing the Steelers ability to lock up Pouncey...Johnson in the weight room gives the Steelers some insurance. I'm wondering if this pick is exactly that.
6a Jordan Zumwalt LB / This pick is all about value. There is really no other way to explain it. Zumwalt shouldn't still be on the board & since you can never have too many run & hit LBs in a 3-4...Great selection. The held over LBs on this roster are on notice. Inside & Out. This draft class combined with the current roster could have the Steelers on the horizon of fielding the most talented & deepest LB depth in recent memory. Can't anoint anything yet..But wow...The ceiling just flew off. Everyone keep their fingers crossed.
6b Daniel McCullers NT / Again...Value. This kid is 3rd-4th round talent. He drops because of "fit". I feel if McCullers isn't here...The Steelers draft Beau Allen. McCullers isn't going to a 4-3 team because he doesn't show enough as a pass rusher to be a 4-3 DT. Many question his ability to leverage inside as a true 3-4 NT because of his build. That is a very realistic concern...But at the end of the 6th for a player who will see the field (If a starter) 35% of the defensive snaps...Tremendous value with his ceiling. If you spend a 3rd on McClullers...You are taking a risk. Here...If you can coach him into a down & distance NT...Gem. We are talking about a possible starting NT in base as a ceiling. He has nearly 37" arms & heavy hands. Watch the tape on him. His deficiencies are all coachable & his physical stature can make him a game planning presence. With limited game reps...Here's a kid who will command double teams if a team wants to run A or B gap to him. He can be a space eater that keeps Buck & Mack clean. If he becomes a technician & learns to protect his legs against cut blocks....Sky is the limit. AND I MEAN SKY! You bookend him with Heyward & Tuitt down the road...A productive 6'7" NT...Can be a nightmare for a play action. Out of all the picks outside the 4th...This is the one that could have the most value down the road if he pans out. With Cam Thomas on the roster & his flexibility on game day...I see McCullers head to head with Fangupo...That is not a big hill to climb.
7th Rob Blanchflower TE / I would be very interested to look into a crystal ball & see where Blanchflower would be without the hernia in 2013 & if he was able to workout through the predraft process. A very capable inline blocker with a little nasty to him & good hands. He had a chance to elevate himself with a healthy 2013 campaign but we will never know what may have been. I think at the very least he applies pressure to Palmer & Paulson. Problem here is if Blanchflower has a productive camp & preseason...He may not be able to be stashed on the PS. I really haven't seen too much improvement in Paulson inline blocking. I already think Blanchflower is better at it than Paulson.
Continued from Above....
There were many in the Steelers draft I had mocked. Also...Some, I didn't think would be available but would have been my first choice. I though in the 1st, it was Evans, Gilbert, Fuller, & Dennard. Had Fuller to the Steelers. It may have been. Never thought they would pass on Dennard for another but they must have had Shazier really high & perhaps they have doubts on Spence. Maybe their doubts were in Dennard. Shazier & Dennard will ever be linked. Get ready for haters. Tuitt was actually my first choice at DE but never thought he would make it to the 2nd. Taylor Hart was my 2nd choice at DE later. I had Archer in the 4th. Liked his ability in all aspects of the game. Didn't think the Steelers would spend a 3rd on a RB. I was wrong. They must really think he is a game changer out of the box because they see him as making the 53. Actually had Bryant as high as 2nd but dropped him to 3rd because of WR depth in this draft. I think 4th is well worth the risk. Had Richardson as a 6th rounder but could see the value in the 5th. The board was pretty gapped at that point at CB..I'm ok with that pick. Never saw the OL coming. Thought for sure they were going to double dip at CB with EJ Gaines or double dip at WR with Robert Herron. After looking at the tape on Johnson...Like the pick allot. Both 6 round picks were easy. Just to good to pass up. They will find a ST role for Zumwalt. Like I said, I wasn't spending a 3rd or 4th on McCullers but had Allen in the 6th. If you put McCullers against Allen...That's a pick I'm writing on the card on the way to the podium. Had Blanchflower in the 6th so good value at 7. Allot of Heath Miller in him. Don't think he will be seam splitter but could be a good intermediate guy who develops into an every down TE.
So in conclusion...Very pleased with the draft. I think the ceiling far exceeds the floor but I also think the value offsets the selections. I think Shazier & Tuitt are at most 2 years away from starters. I think the biggest risk-reward is Archer at 3 but I also think his ceiling could produce a huge steal. I think the biggest value pick long-term if he pans out could turn out to be McCullers. I think the best risk-reward is Martavis Bryant. With some influence & coaching...He could be an X playing at a very high level & a great compliment to AB. I know allot of you want to see Harrison & Keisel back...I'm not on that wagon. The draft eliminated the need for me.
I'll give this draft a B- (which is higher than I've rated a lot of Steelers' drafts in the past 7-8 years). Hope it turns out to be an A+.
Wesley Johnson - This could turn out to be one of the better picks of the draft. He was a 4 year starter and 2 year team captain. Finished off his college career with 51 consecutive starts. He’s started at Tackle (most), guard and even center. He only allowed 2 sacks over the last 2 seasons. He was All-SEC 1st team honors from the league’s coaches and 2nd team from AP. He was named SEC lineman of the week 4 times (Vandy team record).
Coach Muncahk - pushed the team to select this kid. Said, “He’s made more than 50 starts in the SEC at all three positions, so he’s a guy we feel can come in and play either center, guard and tackle, depending on where we need him to play. And he’s battle-tested, playing in the SEC.”
I don't know what grade to give it today but the ceiling on a bunch of these guys is very high. That said it could be an A+ and that has to be promising.