That being said, I know a lot of people don’t see the point and seem to hate them. I expect to be wrong 95% of the time.
An expression about opinions seems to apply to mock drafts as well… Everyone has one, and they all stink.
Last season I hit the first round pick (Jarvis Jones), and thought I had the second rounder with Eddie Lacy on the board but they went with Bell instead. After that, it fell apart.
All that being said, I enjoy it, and it’s a talking point so here’s my first edition of my Steelers mock for the year. I expect the Steelers to grab a couple of compensatory picks, but I won’t include that until we know what round they’re in.
Also, remember that the Steelers don’t currently have a 3rd round pick, because it was traded to Cleveland.
1. Kelvin Benjamin, WR, Florida State
I see there being bigger needs on the defense, but think that Benjamin is just too good to pass up. I could definitely see myself needing to change this pick closer to the draft if his stock shoots up. Benjamin is a one year wonder, which is why he’s not being talked about as a top 10 pick (yet).
Benjamin needs to work on things like his route running and not using his body to catch the ball as much, but from a physical standpoint he’s impressive. Benjamin has the tools to be an A.J. Green, Julio Jones, Dez Bryant, type of impact receiver. Hey may take a little longer to figure things out than Mike Evans or Marqise Lee would, but he should be an immediate weapon in the red-zone.
2. Stanley Jean-Baptiste, CB, Nebraska
If you’ve read up on the senior bowl at all you’re aware of the rise of Jean-Baptiste. He’s similar to Benjamin in that he’s a late bloomer, and his physical traits are starting to translate to production on the field. It’s a copycat league, and SJB looks like he could fit right in with Seattle’s Legion of Boom.
SJB is fluid in his backpedal and what I like about him is he’s shown he can play off the line of scrimmage (but he also has a good jam when playing in tight), which the Steelers do a lot of. His straight line speed is a question mark, and his 40 time will really determine how high he climbs during the draft process. Some have said he could also be a FS in the NFL. Personally I’m not sure he’s a a good enough tackler for that, but if so, that’s not a bad thing considering it’s also a position of need.
4. Ben Gardner, DE, Stanford
Gardner is a guy that’s dropping because injury issues, but prior to a torn pectoral muscle Gardner looked like a second round pick to me. As a Cincinnati alum, I was a big fan of Derek Wolfe a couple years ago, and Gardner reminds me of him.
Gardner was used all over the line at Stanford, and could probably fit in a lot of different schemes, but looks like a 3-4 DE for the Steelers. He’s very well rounded could set the edge, as well as provide some pass rush for the Steelers. Gardner’s also a very smart player and future team captain type of player.
5. Aaron Lynch, OLB, USF
Lynch is a guy I’m having a hard time figuring out where he goes. He started his career at ND and looked like he’d be a top 10 pick in the future. He ended up transferring to USF and sitting out a year. Some say he was home sick, and other say he had an attitude problem.
Lynch played DE for USF and didn’t look nearly as good as his freshman season. He came on strong near the end of the season though. He’d be a project for the Steelers, and there are rumors of effort concerns, but he could be a steal if he regains any of his form from his freshman season.
6. De’Anthony Thomas, RB, Oregon
I’ve seen thomas projected as a first rounder, and a 7th rounder depending on what website you look at. The consensus is that he should have returned to school for his senior season because he had a down year.
I don’t like the idea of taking 175 lb. RB’s early in the draft, but at this point it’d be ok. The Steelers need depth at the position, and need a return man. Haley has shown that he loves backs like Thomas. Chris Rainey didn’t work out, but Thomas may prove to be a dangerous return man, and change of pace back.
7. Andrew Jackson, ILB, Western Kentucky
I wanted Vontaze Burfict in the 7th round so bad in the 2012 draft, and he’s now a pro bowler.
Jackson reminds me of Burfict. He’s a fiery, hard hitting, tackling machine. He toes, and probably crosses the line as far as intensity goes. He was suspended his senior season for unknown team rules violations.
I’ll admit Jackson’s game is a mess in a lot of areas. He has speed, but often gets out of position because he’s too aggressive both in the run game and in pass coverage. He punishes runs up the middle though, and at worst could be a special teams standout, with the potential to contribute down the road if coaches can control his aggressiveness. It’s worth a shot this late.