Tag Archives: BTSC

BTSC 2012 Community Mock Draft Pick No. 27 — New England Patriots Select Courtney Upshaw, DE/OLB, Alabama


*** Discuss this article and more at our Pittsburgh Steelers forum ***


Photo

We get to hear from someone that's not me! Thanks go to VinnySteel for fulfilling the first appearance that our friends from Foxborough will make in the 1st round this year. Next up: Green Bay Packers and they'll be represented by barnerburner (jeez... not him again).

By the way, take note of the cool little minute-long draft profiles from SBN NFL that are embedded with these picks. It's been Michael Bean's personal project to make these videos happen, and let us know what you think of them! -barnerburner-

********************

So, as a Steelers fan representing what is likely our collective 2nd most hated franchise, I was tempted to want to spend their first round draft choice on a kicker. Any kicker. No, scratch that. I'd like them to be a really bad kicker with off-the-field substance abuse issue and suspected ties to a terrorist cell or two.

The problem is, it wouldn't matter. Somehow, some way, Belichick would figure out some strange unknown skill set for the guy and use him successfully in "the system." And even if he were a bust - do you really think the New England Patriots will not figure out some way to have two first round picks next year? Since 1990, they've managed to head into the draft with two first rounders seven times.They've only used both of these picks four times, most recently in 2004 where they selected Vince Wilfork and Ben Watson. Of course, when you're New England, you have to be doubly prepared. You could miss on the pick... or you could get caught and have one (only one) taken away by the league... but I digress.

The point is if they mess up with their pick, they'll still have more opportunities than anyone to make up for it. Of course, if they keep him, he'll marry a supermodel.

Before I get to the pick - one more piece of extraneous fluff: I live in Pittsburgh. Ironically, I am on my family vacation starting today and I'm writing this from none other than Boston, Massachusetts. When I signed up, I had no idea it would work out that I would be physically present in the city the team represents at the precise moment I "drafted". The planets are truly aligning for this pick...

With the 27th pick in the 2012 draft, the New England Patriots select... Courtney Upshaw, DE/OLB, University of Alabama.

There probably is no better proof that the Patriots are a system-oriented team than the fact that it would probably be a great challenge to find a team that made it all the way to the Super Bowl, played competitively, and yet could probably draft any defensive position and it would be in some way a position of need. Truly remarkable that they accomplished all they did last year with their defensive roster.

Most pundits say New England came within a "dropped Wes Welker pass" of winning the Super Bowl. However, I think it's more accurate to say they were a Rob Gronkowski injury away from doing so. Either way, the point is that the Patriots nearly won the Super Bowl even with mistakes and significant injuries on offense. The offense doesn't need any help, not in the first round anyway. They've prepared well for Matt Light's retirement. So, an offensive line pick is unlikely.

However, the greatest of the defensive needs would be the lack of consistent pass rush.

It's interesting to note, however, that the Patriots actually had more sacks last season (40) than the Steelers (35). Our dramatic fall was due to injuries, but not so for New England. They just did not have the personnel to do it. This was really evident in the playoffs and Super Bowl.

At 6'2" and 265 pounds, Upshaw is a lot of man. While not the laterally quickest player, he is a ferocious in-line bull rusher with great flexibility and instinct. In 13 games last season, he registered 8.5 sacks, 14 quarterback hurries, 17 tackles for loss - but he only had 56 tackles total! And he did this against college football's toughest competition. He simply has a great nose for the ball and the strength and agility to break through any wall to get there.

One other perk is that he played a hybrid end-backer at Alabama and will adjust readily to a similar system in New England.

In most mocks I've read, Upshaw is going around 16th or 17th overall. Many others have him going right here where I've picked him. Those that have him going later have New England picking a defensive player that is already off the board in our mock. That's the problem with doing a mock with Steelers fans: "Offense? Who needs offense? ... Isn't that what rounds 4-6 are for?" In all likelihood, New England will have a few more defensive options on the table than our mock has given them. However, New England might just take the dynamic Upshaw (if he's still available) regardless. He's that good and that much of a fit for what they do.

Well, it's been interesting to look at football from the perspective of Bill Belichick. And now, please excuse me while I shower and wash the stink of this dirty deed from my soul...


BTSC 2012 Community Mock Draft Picks:

  1. Indianapolis Colts -- Andrew Luck, QB, Stanford
  2. Washington Redskins -- Robert Griffin III, QB, Baylor
  3. Minnesota Vikings -- Matt Kalil, OT, USC
  4. Cleveland Browns -- Justin Blackmon, WR, Oklahoma State
  5. Tampa Bay Buccaneers -- Morris Claiborne, CB, LSU
  6. St. Louis Rams -- Dontari Poe, DT, Memphis
  7. Jacksonville Jaguars -- Quinton Coples, DE, UNC
  8. Miami Dolphins -- Ryan Tannehill, QB, Texas A&M
  9. Carolina Panthers -- Luke Kuechly, LB, Boston College
  10. Buffalo Bills -- Michael Floyd, WR, Notre Dame
  11. Kansas City Chiefs -- Brock Osweiler, QB, Arizona State
  12. Seattle Seahawks -- Melvin Ingram, DE/OLB, South Carolina
  13. Arizona Cardinals -- Riley Reiff, OT, Iowa
  14. Dallas Cowboys -- Dre Kirkpatrick, CB, Alabama
  15. Philadelphia Eagles -- Mark Barron, S, Alabama
  16. New York Jets -- Trent Richardson, RB, Alabama
  17. Cincinnati Bengals -- Cordy Glenn, G/T, Georgia
  18. San Diego Chargers -- Nick Perry, DE/OLB, USC
  19. Chicago Bears -- David DeCastro, OG, Stanford
  20. Tennessee Titans -- Stephon Gilmore, CB, South Carolina
  21. Cincinnati Bengals -- Michael Brockers, DT, LSU
  22. Cleveland Browns -- Jonathan Martin, OT, Stanford
  23. Detroit Lions -- Whitney Mercilus, DE, Illinois
  24. Pittsburgh Steelers -- Dont'a Hightower, LB, Alabama
  25. Denver Broncos -- Fletcher Cox, DT, Mississippi State
  26. Houston Texans -- Stephen Hill, WR, Georgia Tech



Source: Behind the Steel Curtain

Shop Pittsburgh Steelers Gear

BTSC 2012 Community Mock Draft Pick No. 26 — Houston Texans Select Stephen Hill, WR, Georgia Tech


*** Discuss this article and more at our Pittsburgh Steelers forum ***


Photo

I never heard from jacquavivajr, so I'm stepping in again here. Next up: New England Patriots, with the pick they acquired from the Saints for Mark Ingram last year, and they'll be represented by VinnySteel.

By the way, take note of the cool little minute-long draft profiles from SBN NFL that are embedded with these picks. It's been Michael Bean's personal project to make these videos happen, and let us know what you think of them! -barnerburner-

********************

The Houston Texans have had an offseason of interesting losses, highlighted by the following:

  • Mario Williams, DE - Six years for almost $ 100 million, $ 50 million guaranteed. (What can he do with that much money?) That's the open-market price for the former 1st overall pick in 2006, who can create and pace a pass rush for anyone (at least, that's what Buffalo hopes).
  • DeMeco Ryans, ILB - Swapping 3rd round picks and getting a 4th rounder. That was what the Eagles had to give for a former Defensive Rookie of the Year and All-Pro that has recently had some serious injuries. Williams and Ryans (2nd round, 33rd overall pick in 2006) were two fantastic defensive building blocks for what was once an awful Texans team, and now they're both gone.
  • Jason Allen, CB - The former 1st round pick by the Dolphins in 2006 was actually released by them midseason in 2010 (in what I believe was a contract year for him). The Texans immediately claimed him off waivers, and he finished out the season with them and put together a reasonably productive 2011 campaign as their No. 2 corner (4 interceptions, 45 tackles) while playing across from Johnathan Joseph, which earned Allen a two-year, $ 8.2 million contract from the Bengals (a year after they allowed Joseph to walk).

  • Mike Brisiel, G - Five years for $ 20 million from the Raiders was enough to pry away the Texans' starting RG. Brisiel's loss came just four days after the Texans decided to part ways with...
  • Eric Winston, OT - His offseason release was completely unexpected by just about everyone. Winston had been an exceptional run-blocking RT, though his pass protection isn't close to the same level, and he seemed to be a very durable starter. He had minor offseason ankle surgery, but nothing bad enough to keep the Chiefs from giving him a four-year deal for $ 22 million.
  • Joel Dreessen, TE - I think it's always interesting when a player joins up with a former division rival (Peyton Manning in Denver).

  • Needs and options:

    Parting with Ryans now doesn't leave as big a void as there would've been a couple of years ago. And with Brian Cushing as a stud at one ILB spot, they can probably find a serviceable replacement already on their roster (between Darryl Sharpton, Tim Dobbins, and FA acquisition Bradie James). Last year they also drafted two CBs - Brandon Harris (remember him?) with their second 2nd round pick and Rashad "Roc" Carmichael with their 4th rounder - so Allen's loss should be sustainable (especially if 2010 1st round pick Kareem Jackson starts to put it all together).

    Mario Williams missed time the past two years (major time this passed season with a torn pectoral), and with the Texans' defense still able to function at a pretty high level in his absence, Williams' value to them would not have been worth the price he commanded. Another OLB will be needed to rotate with Connor Barwin and Brooks Reed, 2nd round pick last year.

    Option: Courtney Upshaw

    According to the guys at Battle Red Blog (BRB - great abbreviation), Mike Brisiel was also having trouble putting together a complete 16 game season (check the second link under Winston's blurb). The combined losses of Brisiel and Winston will give them an entirely new right side for what used to be very good offensive line and they need depth to shore it up, especially if the presumed replacements - Antoine Caldwell and Rashad Butler - are not up to the task.

    Options: Mike Adams (would've been an option here, but between the baggage that he is carrying from Ohio State and the recent reports that he tested positive for marijuana at the combine, I'm willing to pass on him), Bobby Massie at OT; Kevin Zeitler at G

    Andre Johnson's injuries exposed the Texans' passing game to be reliant on him to function, though their carousel of quarterbacks - going from Matt Schaub to Matt Leinart to rookie T.J. Yates (even going so far as to acquire Jake Delhomme and Jeff Garcia for late season depth) - did them no favors either. Johnson and No. 2 Kevin Walter are both going to be 31 this year and Jacoby Jones has never put it all together, so they could definitely start to reload their passing attack for the future. Only two receivers have been picked so far, leaving enticing prospects available here.

    Options: Kendall Wright, Stephen Hill, and Rueben Randle

    In losing Dreessen, the Texans mainly lost a good blocking TE that was also a serviceable receiver. Coby Fleener apparently isn't a fully-realized crushing blocker at this point in his development, but he could get there so I'm on board with potentially taking him to pair with (and eventually supplant) Owen Daniels.

    Option: Coby Fleener

    After due consideration...

    With the 26th pick in the 2012 BTSC Community Mock Draft, the Houston Texans select Stephen Hill, WR, Georgia Tech.

    The deciding factor between Courtney Upshaw and a receiver was that since the Texans became a franchise in 2002, they've picked three offensive players in the 1st round and eight defensive players. I just think they're due for another guy on offense.

    The deciding factor between Kendall Wright and Hill/Randle was the potential for Hill/Randle (with their size) to be much better blocking assets in the running game, which will remain the Texans' bread-and-butter, while they grow into the offense.

    The tiebreaker between Stephen Hill and Rueben Randle came down to... kind of a coin-flip. Hill is 6'4, 215; Randle is 6'3, 210. Randle has more polish as a receiver right now, Hill has serious speed (4.36 40-yard time tied for tops at the combine among receivers). After spending three years at Georgia Tech, where they are far more interested in the run with their triple-option offense, I feel like Hill could really blossom with a team that wants to properly hone him as a receiver (though it's not all bad, because one report I read talked about how Hill was a "focus blocker" with some plays designed to run behind his block specifically). And since the Texans have one of the best "prototypical" No. 1 receivers in the league already on the roster, Hill will have the perfect mentor to look up to.


    BTSC 2012 Community Mock Draft Picks:

    1. Indianapolis Colts -- Andrew Luck, QB, Stanford
    2. Washington Redskins -- Robert Griffin III, QB, Baylor
    3. Minnesota Vikings -- Matt Kalil, OT, USC
    4. Cleveland Browns -- Justin Blackmon, WR, Oklahoma State
    5. Tampa Bay Buccaneers -- Morris Claiborne, CB, LSU
    6. St. Louis Rams -- Dontari Poe, DT, Memphis
    7. Jacksonville Jaguars -- Quinton Coples, DE, UNC
    8. Miami Dolphins -- Ryan Tannehill, QB, Texas A&M
    9. Carolina Panthers -- Luke Kuechly, LB, Boston College
    10. Buffalo Bills -- Michael Floyd, WR, Notre Dame
    11. Kansas City Chiefs -- Brock Osweiler, QB, Arizona State
    12. Seattle Seahawks -- Melvin Ingram, DE/OLB, South Carolina
    13. Arizona Cardinals -- Riley Reiff, OT, Iowa
    14. Dallas Cowboys -- Dre Kirkpatrick, CB, Alabama
    15. Philadelphia Eagles -- Mark Barron, S, Alabama
    16. New York Jets -- Trent Richardson, RB, Alabama
    17. Cincinnati Bengals -- Cordy Glenn, G/T, Georgia
    18. San Diego Chargers -- Nick Perry, DE/OLB, USC
    19. Chicago Bears -- David DeCastro, OG, Stanford
    20. Tennessee Titans -- Stephon Gilmore, CB, South Carolina
    21. Cincinnati Bengals -- Michael Brockers, DT, LSU
    22. Cleveland Browns -- Jonathan Martin, OT, Stanford
    23. Detroit Lions -- Whitney Mercilus, DE, Illinois
    24. Pittsburgh Steelers -- Dont'a Hightower, LB, Alabama
    25. Denver Broncos -- Fletcher Cox, DT, Mississippi State



    Source: Behind the Steel Curtain

    Shop Pittsburgh Steelers Gear

    BTSC 2012 Community Mock Draft Pick No. 25 — Denver Broncos Select Fletcher Cox, DT, Mississippi State

    Photo

    I never heard from Ram_india, so I'm stepping in again here. Next up: Houston Texans and they'll be represented by jacquavivajr.

    By the way, take note of the cool little minute-long draft profiles from SBN NFL that are embedded with these picks. It's been Michael Bean's personal project to make these videos happen, and let us know what you think of them! -barnerburner-

    ********************

    The Denver Broncos have had an offseason of interesting acquisitions, highlighted by the following:

    • Peyton Manning, QB - Five years for $ 96 million, $ 18 million guaranteed. That's the open-market price for a future Hall of Fame quarterback even after missing a season. And I'm really looking forward to 8:20 pm on Sunday, September 9.
    • Joel Dreessen and Jacob Tamme, TEs - The Broncos went out and made wholesale changes to their TE unit by signing a guy that Manning is familiar with from Indy in Tamme, and a capable No. 2 option from the Texans in Dreessen. Manning's former favorite TE, Dallas Clark, is still a free agent, and rumour has it (cue the Adele?) that Clark's career may be over.

  • Brandon Stokley, WR - Stokley was in Indy from 2003-2006, and then was in Denver from 2007-2009. He had a nondescript year in Seattle in 2010 (though he was the Seahawks leading receiver in their epic upset of the Saints in the Wildcard round), and this past season he signed with the New York Giants in mid-September and appeared in two games before being released with an injury settlement. Now he'll be reunited with one of his old QBs on one of his other old teams. And he will be 36 years old come June, in case you're curious.
  • Tracy Porter, CB - Was signed to a one-year, $ 4 million contract to start across from Champ Bailey either as an audition for a long-term deal, or as a stop-gap solution. That's enough to be notable, but what makes this properly interesting is that Porter spent the first four seasons of his career with the New Orleans Saints. And Porter just happens to be the guy that intercepted Peyton Manning and ran it back 74 yards for a TD to clinch Super Bowl XLIV with just over 3 minutes remaining.

  • Needs and options:

    I poked around a few places, and the consensus seems to be that the Broncos primary needs are at DT, CB, and RB. Let's go ahead and throw RB out of the discussion for their 1st round pick, since they can find a capable guy later in the draft, and the first two positions align much better with the value currently on the board.

    The Broncos do need an infusion of talent at cornerback, hence the Tracy Porter signing and the recent rumors that they were looking to acquire Asante Samuel from the Eagles. They could go with Janoris Jenkins here - I think this range is well within the realm of possibility for Jenkins' special combination of talent, production, and off-the-field problems. I know it's not at all an accurate comparison in terms of physical size or skill-sets, but this is just a couple of spots ahead of where Jimmy Smith went last year.

    Defensive tackle is the really big hole. They've been making do with a rotation of late-round picks and cast-offs, and at the moment, it looks like more of the same is in store for the upcoming season. Ty Warren, a former anchor on the formidable 3-man fronts that the Patriots used to run, is on the Broncos roster and could return from missing the entire 2011 season due to a triceps injury to solidify the middle of the D-line - but that's not something to try to bank on. They brought Justin Bannan back into the fold, just a year removed from dumping him and letting him go to the Rams, and are looking to bring back someone named Marcus Thomas - who I am not even remotely familiar with, but the guys at Mile High Report (MHR) seem to be interested in retaining him for at least another year or two to see if he can yet prove some worth for the long-term. They also cut into their depth by dumping Ryan McBean, who was one of their reclamation projects after he was originally drafted and dumped by us.

    The fact of the matter is that this reclamation and recycling program they have isn't really a viable M.O. in the long-run, and quite simply, the Broncos have a marked lack of high-end talent/young potential on their DT depth chart. And to resolve that...

    With the 25th pick in the 2012 BTSC Community Mock Draft, the Denver Broncos select Fletcher Cox, DT, Mississippi State.

    This isn't quite the same kind of steal that I got when I took Trent Richardson for the Jets, but I'm still very surprised to see Cox last this long (beat you to the TWSS punch!) and am happy to select him here.

    Most of the discussion on MHR seemed to be on the relative merits of Devon Still and Jerel Worthy (and even a little bit here and there about Kendall Reyes), with some pipe-dreaming about Michael Brockers falling all the way down to No. 25. I think all of that is a moot point though, when there's a guy at the same position that some draftniks consider a top-10 pick still being on the board.


    That being said though, I did have a darkhorse selection for the Broncos that I seriously considered - Coby Fleener, TE, Stanford.

    1). The free agent additions of Dreessen and Tamme do not at all mean that the Broncos have no room for a dynamic new No. 1 TE.

    2). How fascinatingly cool would it be if one of Andrew Luck's favorite targets at Stanford wound up as a go-to playmaker for the guy that Luck was drafted to replace?

    BTSC 2012 Community Mock Draft Picks:

    1. Indianapolis Colts -- Andrew Luck, QB, Stanford
    2. Washington Redskins -- Robert Griffin III, QB, Baylor
    3. Minnesota Vikings -- Matt Kalil, OT, USC
    4. Cleveland Browns -- Justin Blackmon, WR, Oklahoma State
    5. Tampa Bay Buccaneers -- Morris Claiborne, CB, LSU
    6. St. Louis Rams -- Dontari Poe, DT, Memphis
    7. Jacksonville Jaguars -- Quinton Coples, DE, UNC
    8. Miami Dolphins -- Ryan Tannehill, QB, Texas A&M
    9. Carolina Panthers -- Luke Kuechly, LB, Boston College
    10. Buffalo Bills -- Michael Floyd, WR, Notre Dame
    11. Kansas City Chiefs -- Brock Osweiler, QB, Arizona State
    12. Seattle Seahawks -- Melvin Ingram, DE/OLB, South Carolina
    13. Arizona Cardinals -- Riley Reiff, OT, Iowa
    14. Dallas Cowboys -- Dre Kirkpatrick, CB, Alabama
    15. Philadelphia Eagles -- Mark Barron, S, Alabama
    16. New York Jets -- Trent Richardson, RB, Alabama
    17. Cincinnati Bengals -- Cordy Glenn, G/T, Georgia
    18. San Diego Chargers -- Nick Perry, DE/OLB, USC
    19. Chicago Bears -- David DeCastro, OG, Stanford
    20. Tennessee Titans -- Stephon Gilmore, CB, South Carolina
    21. Cincinnati Bengals -- Michael Brockers, DT, LSU
    22. Cleveland Browns -- Jonathan Martin, OT, Stanford
    23. Detroit Lions -- Whitney Mercilus, DE, Illinois
    24. Pittsburgh Steelers -- Dont'a Hightower, LB, Alabama



    Source: Behind the Steel Curtain

    Get your Steelers Fathead!

    BTSC 2012 Community Mock Draft Pick No. 24 — Pittsburgh Steelers Select Dont’a Hightower, LB, Alabama

    Photo

    Our pick is in! Thanks go to maryrose for his assessment of a 'backer from 'Bama that has been a very hot topic around these parts for quite awhile. Next up: Denver Broncos and they'll be represented by Ram_india.

    By the way, take note of the cool little minute-long draft profiles from SBN NFL that are embedded with these picks. It's been Michael Bean's personal project to make these videos happen, and let us know what you think of them! -barnerburner-

    ********************

    Well Steeler Nation, for those of you who debate Need versus Best Player Available, or disagree on how much "need" actually weighs into the Steelers draft board, you can put all that talk to rest for a year. Pittsburgh is going to hit the daily double in 2012 by getting the best football player available at pick #24, who happens to come at a time of great need. James Farrior is gone after a wonderful career at inside linebacker for the Steelers. Larry Foote is a serviceable but fading back-up and Stevenson Sylvester may yet develop, but is still unknown. What is not unknown is that Pittsburgh's gracefully aging defense could use a youthful facelift in the middle of Dick LeBeau's chessboard.

    Welcome Dont'a Hightower, who is a prototype inside backer in the 3-4 scheme, a consensus first-team All American who played on the best team in the country (Alabama) against the best collegiate competition (SEC). Hightower was the centerpiece of the country's number one scoring defense (8.8 ppg), rush defense (75 ypg) and total defense (191 ypg).

    Hightower is 6'4", weighs 268 pounds and has 33-inch arms and 10-inch hands. You might not be able to build a better successor to Farrior if you had Dr. Frankenstein's laboratory. He is above the line in just about every aspect of the position, and is no small reason why Alabama was so incredible defensively en route to a national championship. Scouts Inc. gives him a 93 rating. Only 16 prospects have a higher rating and only one, Luke Kuechly, at the inside backer position. A thumbnail glance of Hightower's resume includes:

    • Finalist for the Lombardi Award
    • Finalist for the Butkus Award
    • Finalist for the Bednarik Award
    • Finalist for the Lott Trophy
    • Midseason All-American by CBSsports.com
    • National Player of the Week and SEC Defensive Player of the Week (Tennessee)
    • SEC Defensive Player of the Week (Mississippi State)
    • Accumulated 230 career tackles with 19.5 tackles for loss and 25 quarterback hurries while starting 41 career games
    • Eight-time Alabama Defensive Player of the Week

    The primary function of a middle linebacker in the 3-4 scheme has historically been to stop the run. The three linemen eat up blockers and the middle guys clean up the ball carrier and rack up tackling stats. Hightower is an outstanding tackler, something essential to a Tomlin-LeBeau defense. He seeks, he hits, he wraps and he closes. Whatever damage has been done, if any, will come to a halt when Hightower meets the football. Moreover, the simplicity of this formula is changing in the ever-evolving, pass-happy NFL. The new offensive formula is for teams to rack up yardage and points via the air rather than the old-school ground-and-pound game. This suits Dont'a Hightower just fine. Consider that an increasing percentage of the passes in the "new NFL" are made in west coast fashion or short-yardage fashion. Most passes are thrown and caught within seven yards of the line of scrimmage, either by designed quick-hitters, the ever popular checkdowns, or the west coast catch-and-run game. It is imperative that defenses have the antidote for this. A young buck (pun intended), stud, hungry and athletic linebacker in the middle of all that short-passing activity is just what the doctor ordered.

    Hightower's instincts and recognition are off the charts. He is quick to diagnose run or pass and has the instincts to angle to where he needs to be. He plays a disciplined game and stays within himself and the job description at hand. He is also a strong man who can shed blocks with his head on a swivel to locate the ball carrier. Hightower's hips and leverage are a linebacker's best friend and his long arms and large hands will help him add a few more tackles to his stat sheet. Hightower displays good awareness in coverage, diagnoses play-action quickly and shows a good feel in underneath-middle zone. His strength and instincts will help him to be an effective pass rusher in LeBeau's exotic zone rushing schemes. His strong, long arms allow a pretty good rip move to rush the quarterback.

    The downsides to Hightower should be mentioned in the fairness of full disclosure. Misdirection plays can sometimes fool him and he'll need some guidance from linebackers coach Keith Butler to improve in that area. He is also stronger than he is fast, so his zone coverage skills are better than defending man-to-man, and don't look for him to make many downfield tackles. His lateral agility is average at best and he sometimes leaves his feet too early. Hightower was injured twice in college, once with an ACL and once with a hand injury, both requiring surgeries. Fortunately, his conditioning and work ethic helped him bounce back from both of those setbacks.

    An inside linebacker needs to be a leader, or in the case of a rookie, needs to develop into one. Hightower was a team captain at Alabama in both his junior and senior seasons. He has a fabulous work ethic and will do "whatever it takes," (Coach Noll), to get the job done. He is tuned into all the right nutritional aspects of being a world-class athlete and takes his conditioning and training regimen very seriously. He has no off-field baggage concerns and graduated from Alabama in three-and-a-half years. What is not to like about the total package of this young man? Does he sound like a Pittsburgh Steeler to you?



    BTSC 2012 Community Mock Draft Picks:

    1. Indianapolis Colts -- Andrew Luck, QB, Stanford
    2. Washington Redskins -- Robert Griffin III, QB, Baylor
    3. Minnesota Vikings -- Matt Kalil, OT, USC
    4. Cleveland Browns -- Justin Blackmon, WR, Oklahoma State
    5. Tampa Bay Buccaneers -- Morris Claiborne, CB, LSU
    6. St. Louis Rams -- Dontari Poe, DT, Memphis
    7. Jacksonville Jaguars -- Quinton Coples, DE, UNC
    8. Miami Dolphins -- Ryan Tannehill, QB, Texas A&M
    9. Carolina Panthers -- Luke Kuechly, LB, Boston College
    10. Buffalo Bills -- Michael Floyd, WR, Notre Dame
    11. Kansas City Chiefs -- Brock Osweiler, QB, Arizona State
    12. Seattle Seahawks -- Melvin Ingram, DE/OLB, South Carolina
    13. Arizona Cardinals -- Riley Reiff, OT, Iowa
    14. Dallas Cowboys -- Dre Kirkpatrick, CB, Alabama
    15. Philadelphia Eagles -- Mark Barron, S, Alabama
    16. New York Jets -- Trent Richardson, RB, Alabama
    17. Cincinnati Bengals -- Cordy Glenn, G/T, Georgia
    18. San Diego Chargers -- Nick Perry, DE/OLB, USC
    19. Chicago Bears -- David DeCastro, OG, Stanford
    20. Tennessee Titans -- Stephon Gilmore, CB, South Carolina
    21. Cincinnati Bengals -- Michael Brockers, DT, LSU
    22. Cleveland Browns -- Jonathan Martin, OT, Stanford
    23. Detroit Lions -- Whitney Mercilus, DE, Illinois



    Source: Behind the Steel Curtain


    BTSC 2012 Community Mock Draft Pick No. 22 — Cleveland Browns Select Jonathan Martin, OT, Stanford

    Photo

    The Steelers pick is getting closer and closer, and now we've only got to get through the Lions pick (which will be up later today)! Thanks go to _ET_ for Part 2 of his Browns analysis here. Next up: Detroit Lions and they'll again be represented by JDSpartan.

    By the way, take note of the cool little minute-long draft profiles from SBN NFL that are embedded with these picks. It's been Michael Bean's personal project to make these videos happen, and let us know what you think of them! -barnerburner-

    ********************

    While making the 4th pick overall, I listed the Cleveland Browns' top needs as WR (which I addressed), RB and QB. Now that I'm back here with the 22nd pick overall, QB/RB are still big needs, but the available talent at those positions do not represent the best value available. QBs Brandon Weedon and Kirk Cousins would be big reaches at this point without bringing a substantial or even minor upgrade on the Browns depth chart. At RB position, Lamar Miller, Doug Martin and David Wilson would fill the void of the departed Peyton Hillis. However, the value available at other positions, plus the chance that one, if not all will be available at the top of the 2nd round (37th overall), makes it easier to pass on them at this point.

    That brings us to the next tier of needs the Browns have: RT and pass-rushing DE or OLB. Last year, the Browns tied for 23rd in the league with 32 sacks. Rookie DE Jabaal Sheard lead the team with 8.5 sacks and showed lots of promise. The Browns could use another player to put opposite him, such as Illinois' Whitney Mercilus or Alabama's Courtney Upshaw. Combining an outside duo of Sheard and Mercilus/Upshaw with last year's 1st round pick, DT Phil Taylor (4 sacks), could give the Browns a formidable defensive front for years to come. That was my plan until Jonathan Martin started to fall.

    With the 22nd pick in the 2012 BTSC Community Mock Draft, the Cleveland Browns select Jonathan Martin, OT, Stanford.

    While LT Joe Thomas has been a stud and a stalwart on the Browns OL, the RT position has been a revolving door for injured and/or mediocre players. Currently, journeyman (and that's being generous) Oniel Cousins is the starting RT. This is due to the release of the oft-injured Tony Pashos at the beginning of the off-season for salary cap reasons. Adding Martin at RT would give the Browns three former 1st-round picks on the OL (the other two being Thomas and C Alex Mack).

    Martin has the talent to immediately slot into the RT position from Day 1, while also providing the Browns some flexibility at the LT position should anything ever happen to Thomas. He comes from a pro-style offense at Stanford where he was a three year starter at LT. He was a strong run-blocker who was very durable. His struggles against speed rushers will be lessened on the right side of the line for the Bowns, while his strengths in technique and getting to the 2nd level in run blocking will shine.

    This pick, along with Blackmon at #4 and possibly a RB at #37, will be giving McCoy plenty of help on offense. This will either allow him to excel and show he is the QB of the future, or create a nice situation with solid supporting talent for a young QB to be drafted in 2013. As before, I checked with the Big Board at Dawgs By Nature, and Martin is the highest rated player left (I am ignoring the WRs since I already draft Blackmon).

    BTSC 2012 Community Mock Draft Picks:

    1. Indianapolis Colts -- Andrew Luck, QB, Stanford
    2. Washington Redsinks -- Robert Griffin III, QB, Baylor
    3. Minnesota Vikings -- Matt Kalil, OT, USC
    4. Cleveland Browns -- Justin Blackmon, WR, Oklahoma State
    5. Tampa Bay Buccaneers -- Morris Claiborne, CB, LSU
    6. St. Louis Rams -- Dontari Poe, DT, Memphis
    7. Jacksonville Jaguars -- Quinton Coples, DE, UNC
    8. Miami Dolphins -- Ryan Tannehill, QB, Texas A&M
    9. Carolina Panthers -- Luke Kuechly, LB, Boston College
    10. Buffalo Bills -- Michael Floyd, WR, Notre Dame
    11. Kansas City Chiefs -- Brock Osweiler, QB, Arizona State
    12. Seattle Seahawks -- Melvin Ingram, DE/OLB, South Carolina
    13. Arizona Cardinals -- Riley Reiff, OT, Iowa
    14. Dallas Cowboys -- Dre Kirkpatrick, CB, Alabama
    15. Philadelphia Eagles -- Mark Barron, S, Alabama
    16. New York Jets -- Trent Richardson, RB, Alabama
    17. Cincinnati Bengals -- Cordy Glenn, G/T, Georgia
    18. San Diego Chargers -- Nick Perry, DE/OLB, USC
    19. Chicago Bears -- David DeCastro, OG, Stanford
    20. Tennessee Titans -- Stephon Gilmore, CB, South Carolina
    21. Cincinnati Bengals -- Michael Brockers, DT, LSU



    Source: Behind the Steel Curtain


    BTSC 2012 Community Mock Draft Pick No. 20 — Tennessee Titans Select Stephon Gilmore, CB, South Carolina

    Photo

    We're picking up the pace again - and we do need to a bit to make sure we get this done before the draft kicks off on April 26. Thanks go to Dcarter for the pick and write up and his quick turnaround of it. Next up: Cincinnati Bengals (Part 2) and they'll again be represented by seton hall and the steelers.

    By the way, take note of the cool little minute-long draft profiles from SBN NFL that are embedded with these picks. It's been Michael Bean's personal project to make these videos happen, and let us know what you think of them! -barnerburner-

    ********************

    Finally! The Titans are on the clock and with the 20th pick in the 2012 NFL draft...

    The Tennessee Titans select Stephon Gilmore, CB, South Carolina.

    I will admit this pick should be CB Janoris Jenkins, but his four kids with four different women and love of marijuana will keep him falling.

    After looking over the Titans roster, there's really not many needs on this team. They're solid everywhere, so this pick came down to two players - Stephon Gilmore and DE/OLB Courtney Upshaw from Alabama (who I'm stunned is still available). A few weeks ago, the Titans supposedly had a deal to bring Asante Samuel over from the Eagles, but that fell apart and made this pick easy. After losing Cortland Finnegan to the Rams and having to go up against Reggie Wayne and Andre Johnson multiple teams each year, a tough, physical corner is needed and that's exactly what Gilmore will bring to the Titans. Gilmore, a 3-year starter for the Gamecocks, first-team All-SEC and third-team AP All American in 2010, and definitely has the potential to become a true #1 shutdown corner in the NFL.

    Gilmore's Strengths:

    • Prototypical size
    • Great speed and feet
    • Very physical player - he'll jam at the line and is a very good tackler
    • Mature player that went up against the best players in college football every year (SEC)

    The only real weakness I see is his hands - doesn't always catch the ball when he should, but I suppose if he had great hands, he's probably be a WR instead of covering them.


    BTSC 2012 Community Mock Draft Picks:

    1. Indianapolis Colts -- Andrew Luck, QB, Stanford
    2. Washington Redsinks -- Robert Griffin III, QB, Baylor
    3. Minnesota Vikings -- Matt Kalil, OT, USC
    4. Cleveland Browns -- Justin Blackmon, WR, Oklahoma State
    5. Tampa Bay Buccaneers -- Morris Claiborne, CB, LSU
    6. St. Louis Rams -- Dontari Poe, DT, Memphis
    7. Jacksonville Jaguars -- Quinton Coples, DE, UNC
    8. Miami Dolphins -- Ryan Tannehill, QB, Texas A&M
    9. Carolina Panthers -- Luke Kuechly, LB, Boston College
    10. Buffalo Bills -- Michael Floyd, WR, Notre Dame
    11. Kansas City Chiefs -- Brock Osweiler, QB, Arizona State
    12. Seattle Seahawks -- Melvin Ingram, DE/OLB, South Carolina
    13. Arizona Cardinals -- Riley Reiff, OT, Iowa
    14. Dallas Cowboys -- Dre Kirkpatrick, CB, Alabama
    15. Philadelphia Eagles -- Mark Barron, S, Alabama
    16. New York Jets -- Trent Richardson, RB, Alabama
    17. Cincinnati Bengals -- Cordy Glenn, G/T, Georgia
    18. San Diego Chargers -- Nick Perry, DE/OLB, USC
    19. Chicago Bears -- David DeCastro, OG, Stanford



    Source: Behind the Steel Curtain


    BTSC 2012 Community Mock Draft Pick No. 21 — Cincinnati Bengals Select Michael Brockers, DT, LSU


    *** Discuss this article and more at our Pittsburgh Steelers forum ***


    Photo

    The Steelers pick is getting closer and closer, but before then we've got to get through 1st round reappearances by a pair of division opponents. Thanks go to seton hall and the steelers for Part 2 of his Bengals analysis. Next up: Cleveland Browns (Part 2), with the extra 1st rounder they acquired from Atlanta in last year's trade for Julio Jones, and they'll again be represented by _ET_.

    By the way, take note of the cool little minute-long draft profiles from SBN NFL that are embedded with these picks. It's been Michael Bean's personal project to make these videos happen, and let us know what you think of them! -barnerburner-

    ********************

    The Cincinnati Bengals, as I said, have the luxury of two first round picks. That means you can fill a need with one pick and go BPA with another. In this scenario I filled the Bengals need at guard by selecting Cordy Glenn. While the Bengals still have needs at CB, RB, and S the players on the board simply don't match up with the Bengals needs. If you look at who is remaining you see a few players who stand out as clear BPA's (Best Players Available). Those are MIchael Brockers and Courtney Upshaw. Both Brockers and Upshaw are projected as top 10 to 15 picks in the draft and if one of them were here at 21 I believe the Bengals would want to take one despite being stocked on the defensive line.

    As the Giants have shown, you can never have enough defensive linemen. The Bengals use a similar scheme to the Giants and despite the Bengals being stocked at defensive line, I believe in this scenario they would follow the Giants draft history and strengthen your strengths. Ultimately, it would just be impossible to pass up on the value, talent, and athleticism of Michael Brockers. Thus...

    With the 21st pick in the 2012 NFL Draft, the Cincinnati Bengals select Michael Brockers, Defensive Tackle, Louisiana State University.

    Brockers, who is just a redshirt sophomore, flew up draft boards after an incredible sophomore season in which he had 54 tackles and 10 tackles for a loss while being routinely double teamed. He did a great job holding his ground and not backing off, which allowed LSU's talented linebackers to make a bunch of tackles. In the Bengals scheme, he will likely be used as a situational pass rusher until he develops more strength.

    Regarding the value of this pick, I took a look at 5 mock drafts and he was drafted 11th, 14th, 16th, 11th, and 9th so it is clear that this is the BPA.

    Some other options I considered here were Courtney Upshaw and Janoris Jenkins. The reason I did not choose Upshaw is because the Bengals would use him as a DE and I don't think that is where his best value is. With regards to Jenkins, it appears as if the Bengals have finally learned their lesson and are putting more emphasis on character, which is something Jenkins lacks.


    BTSC 2012 Community Mock Draft Picks:

    1. Indianapolis Colts -- Andrew Luck, QB, Stanford
    2. Washington Redsinks -- Robert Griffin III, QB, Baylor
    3. Minnesota Vikings -- Matt Kalil, OT, USC
    4. Cleveland Browns -- Justin Blackmon, WR, Oklahoma State
    5. Tampa Bay Buccaneers -- Morris Claiborne, CB, LSU
    6. St. Louis Rams -- Dontari Poe, DT, Memphis
    7. Jacksonville Jaguars -- Quinton Coples, DE, UNC
    8. Miami Dolphins -- Ryan Tannehill, QB, Texas A&M
    9. Carolina Panthers -- Luke Kuechly, LB, Boston College
    10. Buffalo Bills -- Michael Floyd, WR, Notre Dame
    11. Kansas City Chiefs -- Brock Osweiler, QB, Arizona State
    12. Seattle Seahawks -- Melvin Ingram, DE/OLB, South Carolina
    13. Arizona Cardinals -- Riley Reiff, OT, Iowa
    14. Dallas Cowboys -- Dre Kirkpatrick, CB, Alabama
    15. Philadelphia Eagles -- Mark Barron, S, Alabama
    16. New York Jets -- Trent Richardson, RB, Alabama
    17. Cincinnati Bengals -- Cordy Glenn, G/T, Georgia
    18. San Diego Chargers -- Nick Perry, DE/OLB, USC
    19. Chicago Bears -- David DeCastro, OG, Stanford
    20. Tennessee Titans -- Stephon Gilmore, CB, South Carolina



    Source: Behind the Steel Curtain

    Shop Pittsburgh Steelers Gear

    BTSC 2012 Community Mock Draft Pick No. 18 — San Diego Chargers Select Nick Perry, DE/OLB, USC


    *** Discuss this article and more at our Pittsburgh Steelers forum ***


    Photo

    Now we're leaving the SEC and moving out west! Many thanks go to BluegrassSteeler for the entertaining, informative, and thoroughly enjoyable write up here on life in AJ Smith's shoes. Next up: Chicago Bears and they'll be represented by Readarmon0.

    By the way, take note of the cool little minute-long draft profiles from SBN NFL that are embedded with these picks. It's been Michael Bean's personal project to make these videos happen, and let us know what you think of them! -barnerburner-

    ********************

    AJ Smith can't sleep.

    Sitting up in bed he looks around at the darkened room, familiar objects outlines by moonlight. He gets up and dresses with a practiced silence. He's done this so many times in the last few weeks he doesn't need to flip on a light - he has perfect knowledge of everything that surrounds him. He tip-toes down the stairs and heads to his office. After he passes through security, the guard - the same guard that's checked him in almost every night in recent weeks - shakes his head.

    "What's eating this guy?" he wonders before he goes back to checking his Tweets.

    Smith makes a fresh pot of coffee. No cream. No sugar. He makes his way down to the film room. He logs onto the computer stationed at its back - it's only called a film room as a nod to tradition, it's all digital now - and pulls up games he's watched a dozen times at least. He wants to check out David DeCastro. And Nick Perry. And Cordy Glenn. And Whitney Mercilus. And Michael Floyd too. What about Mo' Claiborne? No, no point. He'll be long, long gone by then and too expensive to trade up for. But what if... what if something happens? Anybody can drop. Maybe the Wonderlic really did scare some GMs? They're not picking in the Top-10 because they're great at evaluating talent, after all. Just a quick peek then. Just at the National Championship game. Might as well watch Upshaw and Hightower in it too. Kill three birds with one stone. Why not?

    He sits back and observes. He doesn't take notes - he knows what's coming. He's gone over and over his notes. His scouts' notes. His position coaches' notes. He just wants to make sure. He needs to be able to see what no one else can. Like he did with Shawne Merriman. And Antonio Gates. And Marcus McNeill.

    Smith is trapped by his own legend, by a drafting run that any reasonable person could see just wasn't sustainable. Everyone has misses and busts and to expect otherwise is just silly, even in the 1st round. But now everyone expects him to work some kind of magic, to see something in the film that's invisible to everyone else. Everyone expects magic, but he's no magician. No, he's just a worker; a grinder.

    So he watches some film. And the more. He sips his coffee because he has nothing else to do with his hands. Occasionally he glances down at his fingers. There's nothing special about them. They look like they could belong to any other man his age. No... all he notices is what's not on them.

    No rings.

    And all he can think of is what the sportswriters and bloggers call him: The Lord of No Rings.

    He does his best to put it out of his head though. He sips his coffee. And he grinds through more all-22 film. When he finally stops for a break, he realizes it's already lunchtime.

    ******************************************************************************************************************************

    It's no secret that this is a make or break year for both Chargers HC Norv Turner and GM AJ Smith. It's been two playoff-less seasons in a row. The Chargers used to be called underachievers. Sportswriters would regularly admit that the Chargers had the most talented roster in the NFL - with a franchise QB in Philip Rivers - and wonder when they would finally get over the hump and win a Super Bowl.

    But the sportswriters don't say that anymore.

    No, now they lament the loss of so much from a once-loaded Chargers roster. Merriman is gone, a shell of his former self. Marcus McNeill too. Vincent Jackson has landed in greener pastures in Tampa (and if you've seen his contract numbers, you'll know how green they really are). Even those still on the roster, like Antonio Gates, have faded due to both age and injury. The apple of AJ's drafting eye, Philip Rivers, has struggled to be much more than slightly above average.

    Worse yet, Smith hasn't been able to replenish the talent he's lost. Larry English has turned out to be a huge bust. Antoine Cason is an adequate corner, but not one that scares anyone. Ryan Mathews is talented, but - just as in college - he hasn't been able to stay on the field in the NFL. Rivers is asked to do more and more with less and less, and it's beginning to show in his play - he's forcing too many throws, taking too many chances.

    Norv Turner may be an uninspiring coach to most NFL fans, but he inherited a roster that was on the decline. We didn't know it at the time, but for reasons discussed above - and others that we surely don't know about - the Chargers roster that went 14-2 under Marty Schottenheimer has undergone a precipitous decline. This is a draft that AJ Smith needs to hit on in order to give Turner the best chance to at least make a Wild Card spot. If Turner can win a playoff game, it might just save both their jobs.

    AJ Smith needs impact players.

    At this juncture in the draft, there are some available. Two in particular are interesting to me (with my AJ hat on): Stanford guard David DeCastro and USC defensive end/outside linebacker Nick Perry. Cordy Glenn would certainly have been under consideration, but the Bengals nabbed him from right under Smith's nose.

    The Chargers defense was once known for its ability to terrorize QBs, but no more. The Chargers finished 23rd overall in sacks with 32 (though it should be noted, the Steelers only had 35). They now play in a division with Peyton Manning. In other words, they can't depend on Shaun Phillips to do all the pass rushing work himself. Last season they brought in Antwan Barnes and he accounted for 11 sacks, but he's a situational rusher who gets exposed against the run (and Manning is happy to run the ball straight at him if it wins games). So the Chargers signed Jarrett Johnson away from the Ravens this offseason, probably with the plan to take him off the field in obvious passing situations and rotate Barnes in. The Chargers still have Larry English - former 1st round pick from Eastern Illinois in 2009 - on the roster, but at this point, any production they get from him ought to be considered a luxury. You simply can't depend on him to give you many quality snaps. After all, he had seven tackles and two sacks last year. He's had 43 tackles and seven sacks over the course of his whole NFL career.

    Johnson is a good complimentary player, but having watched a lot of Ravens/Steelers football over the last few years, I think I speak for us all when I say that there are many Ravens defenders I worry about, but Jarrett Johnson was never one.

    (I feel bad for you son, I got 99 problems but Jarrett ain't one!)

    Shaun Phillips will be going into his 9th season and there is absolutely no one on the roster you can be comfortable with as a replacement. And USC's monster pass rusher Nick Perry is staring you in the face.

    It's tempting.

    One of the knocks against Perry is that teams aren't sure he's quite athletic enough to handle the coverage responsibilities of a 3-4 OLB. However, the Chargers employ the Wade Phillips version of the 3-4, which unlike Dick LeBeau's 2-gap version, doesn't require its OLBs to spend much time dropping into coverage. Demarcus Ware, for example, probably drops into coverage a mere handful of snaps per season. So Perry could be free to do what he does best: make offensive tackles look foolish and QBs look scared.

    Perry is a better athlete and plays with more quick-twitch explosiveness than Alabama's Courtney Upshaw. And over the course of his college carrer, he accumulated a similar stat line to Upshaw against big time college football programs as well. Perry's got serious production against major competition to go along with his obvious and considerable physical tools - this isn't Larry English from the Northern Illinois Huskies.

    However, Smith would also have to seriously consider David DeCastro. One thing many members of Steeler Nation might not realize is what a mess the Chargers OL has been over the past few years. They recently cut former Pro Bowl LT Marcus McNeill due to injury concerns (and this happened after a prolonged holdout by McNeill two years ago for a long-term contract). Their Pro Bowl and former All-Pro RG Kris Dielman recently retired due to severe concussion concerns. If you saw the video of him staggering around between plays, then you've seen one of the scarier things in football - and that led to a seizure that he suffered on the team plane after the game. They recently re-signed center Nick Hardwick, and while he's a good player, he's certainly not a top-10 NFL center and comes with his own batch of injury concerns. Finally, ask any Chargers fan and see what they say about their RT situation. Hint: they all think it's been a huge weakness for years and years.

    The Chargers did sign former Ravens and Chiefs LT Jared Gaither to a long-term deal. He's a good player - probably better than most fans give him credit for - but he's bounced around the league for a reason: teams aren't sure about his commitment to the game or on-field temperament.

    Adding David DeCastro at this point seems really natural. He could slide into Dielman's LG spot and help solidify one side of the OL. DeCastro is a good pass blocker, but an outstanding (and mobile) run blocker who could help open up things for Ryan Mathews. Norv Turner has always preferred a run-oriented offense that allows his QB to throw deep from play-action, so getting Mathews going would also help Rivers. With the signing of speedster Robert Meachem at receiver, Turner obviously wants to keep chucking it deep.

    DeCastro is tempting. Like Perry.

    At the end of the day though, pass rushers are harder to find and have a bigger impact on games than interior offensive linemen, even really good ones. And as Smith's own evaluation will tell him, this is a deep draft for interior linemen. He can grab a left guard in the second or third rounds that can almost certainly start right away.

    What he can't do is take a pass rusher in the second or third round and be confident that he'll have all the tools to develop into a terror off the edge. Despite the struggles of Rivers this past season, the Chargers offense was still very productive, ranking 6th in yards per game and 6th in points per game. The defense, as I mentioned above, is in the bottom third of the league.

    You want to help Rivers, but sometimes - and as Ben Roethlisberger surely knows - sometimes the best way to help out a QB is by building a defense that takes some of the pressure off of him. If you keep the game closer, then Rivers probably won't take as many chances - both with the ball and with himself.

    So after all the work is done, on April 28th AJ will call his representative inside Radio City Music Hall. Smith will announce the pick to him and make sure he's got it written down before he finally hangs up. And the Chargers representative will jot the name on a card and run it up to Commissioner Goodell.

    It reads: With the 18th Selection of the 2012 NFL Draft the San Diego Chargers select:

    Nick Perry - Defensive End - University of Southern California

    BTSC 2012 Community Mock Draft Picks:

    1. Indianapolis Colts -- Andrew Luck, QB, Stanford
    2. Washington Redsinks -- Robert Griffin III, QB, Baylor
    3. Minnesota Vikings -- Matt Kalil, OT, USC
    4. Cleveland Browns -- Justin Blackmon, WR, Oklahoma State
    5. Tampa Bay Buccaneers -- Morris Claiborne, CB, LSU
    6. St. Louis Rams -- Dontari Poe, DT, Memphis
    7. Jacksonville Jaguars -- Quinton Coples, DE, UNC
    8. Miami Dolphins -- Ryan Tannehill, QB, Texas A&M
    9. Carolina Panthers -- Luke Kuechly, LB, Boston College
    10. Buffalo Bills -- Michael Floyd, WR, Notre Dame
    11. Kansas City Chiefs -- Brock Osweiler, QB, Arizona State
    12. Seattle Seahawks -- Melvin Ingram, DE/OLB, South Carolina
    13. Arizona Cardinals -- Riley Reiff, OT, Iowa
    14. Dallas Cowboys -- Dre Kirkpatrick, CB, Alabama
    15. Philadelphia Eagles -- Mark Barron, S, Alabama
    16. New York Jets -- Trent Richardson, RB, Alabama
    17. Cincinnati Bengals -- Cordy Glenn, G/T, Georgia



    Source: Behind the Steel Curtain

    Shop Pittsburgh Steelers Gear

    BTSC 2012 Community Mock Draft Pick No. 17 — Cincinnati Bengals Select Cordy Glenn, G/T, Georgia

    Photo

    The back-to-back-to-back barrage of 'Bama players has been ended, but we're not leaving the SEC yet. We're finally into the second half of the 1st round, and seton hall and the steelers made the selection here for the pick that the Bengals somehow managed to fleece out of Oakland. Next up: San Diego Chargers and they'll be represented by BluegrassSteeler.

    By the way, take note of the cool little minute-long draft profiles from SBN NFL that are embedded with these picks. It's been Michael Bean's personal project to make these videos happen, and let us know what you think of them! -barnerburner-

    ********************

    The Cincinnati Bengals took a huge step in the right direction last year thanks to the play of Andy Dalton and A.J. Green. However, they are still a few pieces away from being a major threat in the brutal AFC North. The Bengals still lack a lockdown corner because Jonathan Joseph left last year to play with the Texans. They still need an upgrade at running back because Cedric Benson is just bad. However, their biggest need is at right guard. They need a first round talent to play the guard position. They have some other minor needs at safety, wide receiver, and defensive end but those should be addressed later in the draft.

    Thanks to the Oakland Raiders' stupidity, the Bengals were able to pick up an additional first round pick, which is the one they are currently slated to use. Because of the extra pick, they now have the versatility to take the best player available with their first pick and look to fill a need with their second first round pick. When I look at the draft board, I see a few players who stand out as the BPAs. Those players are Cordy Glenn, Stephon Gilmore, Courtney Upshaw, Jonathan Martin, and Fletcher Cox. Cox is by far the best player available, but also happens to play at the Bengals strongest position, defensive tackle. Upshaw is a great player, but does not fit at all in the Bengals 4-3 scheme. That leaves Glenn, Gilmore, and Martin as the three possible selections. When I look at those three players, the one who is clearly the best player is Glenn. Gilmore and Martin could both be there at 21 and in my opinion, present much better value at 21. However, Glenn is a phenomenal prospect who can play guard or tackle and with his athleticism, he could become a stud.

    Without further ado, the Cincinnati Bengals select Cordy Glenn, G/T, Georgia.

    I put a lot of thought into this selection and was furious when Trent Richardson went one pick ahead because that would have made the selection an easy one but ultimately, Glenn was a perfect blend of talent and need for the Bengals. He has all the tools to become a dominant offensive linemen at guard or tackle and will be just another piece in the Bengals build towards a championship caliber team.



    BTSC 2012 Community Mock Draft Picks:



    Source: Behind the Steel Curtain

    Need Steelers Tickets? Fulfill your ticket needs at Ticket Network or try our Steelers eBay Ticket Page.

    BTSC 2012 Community Mock Draft Pick No. 15 — Philadelphia Eagles Select Mark Barron, S, Alabama


    *** Discuss this article and more at our Pittsburgh Steelers forum ***


    PHILADELPHIA, PA - NOVEMBER 13: A Philadelphia Eagles fan shows his frustration as the Eagles lose to the Arizona Cardinals 21-17 at Lincoln Financial Field on November 13, 2011 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Rich Schultz /Getty Images)

    Back-to-back players from 'Bama come off the board! And many thanks go to LV Steelers Fan for the analysis of the cross-state "Dream Team". Next up: New York Jets and they'll be represented by steelers1963.

    By the way, take note of the cool little minute-long draft profiles from SBN NFL that are embedded with these picks. It's been Michael Bean's personal project to make these videos happen, and let us know what you think of them! -barnerburner-

    ********************

    OK, I'll admit it. I have a soft spot for the Philadelphia Eagles. Maybe it's because I was forced to watch them every Sunday growing up in Allentown, one hour away from Lincoln Financial Field. Or more likely, it's because of the infinite joy they provided me as they caused their fans(i.e. most of my friends) to go through an all-too-predictable roller coaster of emotion each and every year. Before every season, expectations were sky high. This was going to be the year that the Birds finally broke through and ended their 50 year championship drought. Then they would stumble out of the gate and everyone would jump off the bandwagon saying "Same old Eagles" while calling for Andy Reid to be fired and Donovan McNabb to be benched and/or traded. But come November, a magical turnaround would capture the imagination of the Birds' long-suffering fans, and their Super Bowl plans would be back online. Until, that is, the Eagles would lose a game in which they were heavily favored either in the last few weeks of the season or in the playoffs, and my friends would go into spiraling paroxysms of rage and despair. "I knew this would happen all along, this %$ #^@& team never changes!"

    Because of this, I was completely unsurprised when the self-proclaimed "Dream Team" had its dramatic flameout last fall. Time after time, the Eagles had their foe on the verge of defeat, only to have their defense collapse and allow a late game-winning score or 4th down conversion. Atlanta, New York, San Francisco, Buffalo, Chicago and Arizona all escaped the Eagles' clutches early in the season, and by the time they started looking like the team most had expected to see all year, it was too late.

    Defense thus has been expected to be the Eagles' focus in the 2012 draft, and the injury to All-Pro LT Jason Peters doesn't figure to change that thanks to the recent signing of Demetress Bell (who had been going by Demetrius Bell until very recently). Boston College linebacker Luke Kuechly was the trendy pick for Philly in practically every mock draft early in the offseason, but their trade with Houston for MLB DeMeco Ryans has given the Birds some flexibility at #15.

    Outside linebacker is a definite need for Philly, and both Courtney Upshaw and Zach Brown should be available at their first pick. Defensive tackle is also an interesting possibility, as picking up a Fletcher Cox or Michael Brockers could give the Eagles a fearsome defensive front when combined with Jason Babin, Trent Cole, Derek Landri and Cullen Jenkins. Where the Eagles could really use defensive help, however, is in the secondary, and more specifically at safety. 2010 draft pick Nate Allen has done a creditable job there in his first two seasons, but injuries have been a major problem. The Eagles drafted Jaiquawn Jarrett to play next to him in 2011, and the jury is still out on the Temple product. Getting a stud safety to play next to Asomugha and DRC in the secondary would go a long way towards putting the Eagles' defensive debacles from last season firmly in the past. For this reason...

    The Philadelphia Eagles selection in the 2012 BTSC Community Mock Draft is Mark Barron, safety, from Alabama.

    Barron was a three-year starter for the Crimson Tide who also played in every game during his freshman campaign, proving himself in the process to be an extremely tough and durable player. He is currently recovering from a double-hernia operation following Alabama's national championship season, and characterized himself as 80-90% at his pro day in late March. His size is superb at 6'1" and 213 pounds, and while his speed is merely adequate for an NFL safety, he runs well. Barron uses his size to his advantage, and has developed into a hard hitter who can still be counted upon to make the tackle after delivering a blow. Not surprisingly, his strength as a safety is his ability to line up inside the box and play the run like a linebacker. This would make him an excellent complement to Nate Allen (assuming Allen can stay healthy), who is known more for his coverage abilities.

    Barron's pass defense skills should not be underestimated, however. He intercepted 12 passes in his three years as a starter and has a knack for reading the quarterback's eyes and keeping plays in front of him. He demonstrated good jamming and press coverage skills at Alabama, especially against slot receivers, and proved himself to be intelligent, hard-working, and a student of the game in the film room. Barron has no character concerns, although he was arrested a year ago for a misdemeanor stemming from a car accident in his hometown of Mobile, AL.

    All in all, Barron appears to be a great fit for the Eagles. The Birds need safety help and he brings a toughness that has been lacking on the defensive side of the ball in Philly since Brian Dawkins and Jeremiah Trotter were released several years ago. To be a great team in 2012, Philadelphia does not need a great defense. They merely require one that can hold on to leads late in games. Had they done that last year they would have gone 14-2 even with all of their other problems - such as the inability of Michael Vick to remain healthy. Drafting Barron could be exactly what the Eagles and their long-suffering fans need to finally break through and win the city's first NFL championship since 1960.

    Mark Barron 2012 NFL Draft Profile (via sbnnfl)

    BTSC 2012 Community Mock Draft Picks:



    Source: Behind the Steel Curtain

    Shop Pittsburgh Steelers Gear

    Powered by WordPress