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Armchair GM – 2017 Steelers Mock Draft 2.0 – Pre-Combine Addition

February 28, 2017
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Armchair GM – 2017 Steelers Mock Draft 2.0 – Pre-Combine Addition

In this version of my Mock we totally reshuffle the cards and think to the future while dealing with some immediate needs.

We are coming up on the yearly college talent show known as the Combine. The NFL Combine will be taking place from Feb. 28th to March 6th, on the NFL Network, so set your DVRs and get ready to watch Rich RUN!!! After that the next thing we have to look forward is April 27th and NEW STEELERS!!! We now know the Steelers will be getting only one compensatory pick BUT that pick will be a 3rd Rounder, so at least it is quality. Much better than a few 3rd day picks.

Given the way the Steelers Defense came around late in season, we may be, for the first time in years, NOT drafting from a place of immediate need in most positions. This will give the Steelers’ Brass a chance to do for the Offense this year what they did for the Defense, last and still add some Defensive personnel.

So, with no further ado!

Steelers Mock Draft 2017

1st Rd – Quarterback – Patrick Mahomes – Texas Tech – 6′-3″, 220#, 40/4.62 (former pick OLB T.J. Watt) – I’ve got a few reasons for this pick:

1) Mahomes could be another Favre/Rodgers. He might be that special. 2) Ben’s retirement speculation. (Although I had him picked for the 2nd even before Ben made that statement. 3) The Steelers would be the best place for Mahomes. Here he would have a chance to develop and have an organization and fan base that will totally support him. I’d hate to see his career ruined before it can start by getting drafted by Cleveland or some terrible organization like that. 4) Due to his rawness he may still be available by this pick and if he is the Steelers must snag him.

No matter what, Ben won’t last forever and Patrick Mahomes has a great upside but will need time to develop. By his 3rd year he might be getting ready and that will be the time, sadly, Ben will be in his declining years. He had a 66 percent completion rate in 2016 for 5,052 yards with 41 touchdowns and an incredibly low, considering Tech’s run and gun style, 10 interceptions in 591 attempts. He also ran for 12 touchdowns. Even with Texas Tech’s exotic, spread, pass happy scheme he has shown to be a good pocket passer, who can control his urge to run and stand tall in the pocket.

Mahomes is a real gunslinger. He reminds me of a Brett Favre or Aaron Rodgers type in the making. He’s got a great arm and even with his horrendous footwork he can flick a forty yard pass off his back foot. He’s very mobile and intelligent. He’s also a great team guy and really good kid. He has a very ‘street ball’ game that will remind a lot of people of Big Ben. Still, he’s very raw and will need time to fulfil his potential and the Steelers have that time. We will need a true developmental QB to have on the roster in the post-Landry Jones era.

Yes, this may be a reach but in this QB starved NFL I don’t think he’d make it to where the Steelers draft in the 2nd Rd. I also think our ‘D’ stepped up so big at the end of the season we don’t have any pressing needs there other than an additional edge rusher. And with James Harrison returning for another year, this time as the starter, we afford to take a chance with a lower Draft pick and/or wait ’til next year.

2nd Rd – Wide Receiver, Zay Jones – East Carolina – 6′-1″, 20240/4.45. (former pick QB Patrick Mahomes) And I know what you’re saying here. “Martavis Bryant will be back! What about Sammie Coates, Eli Rogers, Cobie Hamilton and DHB???” Well, Bryant is already on his 3rd strike, Sammie is in Tomlin’s HUGE Doghouse reserved for people who drop passes in the endzone. Rogers and Hamilton (weren’t those those composer guys??? jk) are possession receivers and not much more and DHB is a dependable occasional deep ball threat but not starting material.

Antonio Brown needs a real vertical threat to compliment him and draw double teams away. Jones had inflated production numbers playing in one of the many pass happy college spread offenses that inflates numbers but that doesn’t mean he can’t also be a standout as a pro. His Senior year, he had 158 receptions for 1,746 yards with eight touchdowns. Jones had quality production his entire career: Junior he was 98 catches for 1,099 yds 5 tds, sophomore went 81-830-5 and as a freshman was 62-604-5. Jones broke the NCAA record for receptions, beating the total previously held by former teammate Justin Hardy.

Zay Jones has star potential and could be an immediate contributor. If he develops as he should he would give the Steelers some possible trade options to thin out their crowded but maybe not 1st rate quality receiving gaggle.

“Jones was phenomenal at the Senior Bowl and really helped his draft stock. He showed a quick burst off the line with the speed to get separation. Jones also ran good routes with excellent hands and showed a knack for getting away from the secondary late. He plays bigger than his listed numbers and has functional size for the NFL.” Walter Football

3rd Rd – Edge Rusher/OLB, Ejuan Price, Pittsburgh, 6′-1″. 255#, 40/4.90. (former pick WR Taywan Taylor) Scrappy is the word that comes to mind when I think of Ejuan Price. He’s a fast edge rusher, with a number of spin and rip moves. While he’s short for the position and looks small on the field, Price has functional strength and a very good pop. He can move bigger Offensive Tackles back on their heels and frequently required double teams . He reminds me a lot of Elvis Dumervil. He gave opposing teams fits in the pass rush as a Senior with 13 sacks, 45 tackles, 23 tackles for a loss, three force fumbles and one broken up pass.

“As a pro, Price might fit best as a 3-4 outside linebacker. He has speed off the edge with functional strength to fight off blockers, but he has a crippling lack of length. Some team sources aren’t convinced there is a good position for him in the NFL.” Walter Football.

This is a good spot to draft Price. At the very least he should develop into a solid situational pass rusher but he might become much more.

3rd Rd – Running Back, Kareem Hunt – (compensatory pick) Toledo – ‘6-0″ 225″ – 40/4.57 – The Steelers don’t have much after LeVeon Bell and DeAngelo Williams and seeing as they both missed games this year there is a need for another back. Also Bell is entering a contract negotiation and it would be good idea to have a Plan ‘B’ should things go south. DeWill can’t last forever and the Steelers have nothing should anything happen to those two. Hunt would give the Steelers another duel threat. He follows his blockers well, has an impressive cut move and bounces quickly to the outside if he’s got nothin’ in the middle. He’s also big and tough enough to lower his shoulder and deliver a hit when players close on him. He averaged 5.6 yards per carry this year for 1,475 yards with 10 touchdowns in the MAC. Hunt is also a good check down receiver with nice moves after the catch and had 41 receptions for 403 yards and a touchdown. He wasn’t asked to block much but puts in a good effort when called upon.

Though Hunt was out for four games during the 2015 season, he still had 5.5 yards per carry for 973 yards with 12 touchdowns. He had a great year as a sophomore when he averaged a whopping 8 yards per carry for 1,631 yards with 16 touchdowns. Hunt even saw action as a freshman and had an impressive 6.3 ypc, for 866 yards and 6 TDs. Hunt was a standout in the East-West Shrine game against the step up in competition from the MAC.

4th Rd – Cameron Sutton, CB, Tennessee – 5′-11″ 182#, 40/4.51 – (former pick RB Kareem Hunt) Sutton didn’t have much production in 2016 due to only playing three games because of a broken bone in his ankle. This may cause him drop in the Draft. He’s a physical defender who plays tough against the run and can play man coverage. He also returns punts and went 46 returns, 657 yds, 14.3 yd avg and 3 touchdowns. Sutton did some kickoff return duty with 21.5 yard average per return, as well, so, he would have immediate use in special teams.

Sutton has great field awareness and teams tended to throw away from him. He had 28 tackles, one interception and six passes broken in 2015. In 2014 he recorded 37 tackles with three interceptions, 13 passes broken up and four tackles for a loss. A four year starter Sutton was a standout freshman cornerback racking up 39 tackles, seven passes broken up and two interceptions. Sutton’s game speed is good and he plays tough against the run. He projects as a solid slot prospect who has potential to play outside, as well.

5th Rd – Free Safety – Demetrious Cox – Michigan State – 6′-1″, 198#, 40/4.53. – As team captain, Cox recorded 55 tackles with five passes broken up and one interception returned 30 yards for a touchdown. Cox is a capable center fielder though he might key off the run game a bit too much at this point in his career. He played corner for the Spartans in 2015 and was productive against the ground game, as well as being reliable in pass coverage. Cox had 3 interceptions, 7 passes broken up and 79 tackles his Junior year.

Sean Davis has seemed to come around now that the Steelers have given up on using him in coverage. Anybody who watched Davis’ college footage could see he was a disaster in that regard. Davis has blossomed playing ‘in the box’, so Strong Safety seems to be in good hands. Mike Mitchell on the other hand seems too preoccupied with delivering the big hit so he can strut around after, than doing the core work of a Free Safety. So, someone to challenge him can only be a good thing. We also need some fresh blood to challenge Robert Golden and Jordan Dangerfield.

6th Rd – DT/DE, Jake Replogle, Purdue – 6′-5″, 290# – Replogle is real blue collar, hard worker in the true Steeler mode. He plays mean and has a good motor. He shows some pass rush moves and good hand use, slips blocks well in the run game and doesn’t give up on plays. He garnered Honorable Mention All-Big 10 honors in 2015 and 2016, with 60 tackles, 14 tackles for loss and 2.0 sacks.

Replogle’s versatility and toughness fits well with what the Steelers like to see from the ‘D’ Line depth players.

7th Rd – G/OT, Greg Pyke, Georgia – 6′-6″, 313# – 40/5.20 – Pyke played Right Tackle for the Bulldogs, but is a more natural fit at guard in the NFL. He is surprisingly fleet of foot and was used extensively as a lead blocker on screens. Also showed good pulling and trap blocking ability. Pyke is solid but unspectacular in pass blocking which should be better served if he moves into the interior. He has the sort of versatility the Steelers like in their swing players.

Priority Free Agent – Running Back, James Conner, Pittsburgh – 6′-2″, 250#, 40/4.62 – Connor is a very powerful back, who runs hard and has surprising speed and elusiveness. Conner is very talented but he may go undrafted due to concerns about his bout with cancer and a torn ACL. Conner with deemed cancer free and In his 2016 comeback he ran for 1,092 yards with an average of 5.1 yards per carry carries with 16 touchdowns. He was also a solid receiver out the backfield with 21 passes for 302 yards with four scores.

Conner average 6.0 ypc, 1,765 yards with 26 touchdowns as a sophomore. He had 5 receptions for 70 yards. As a freshman, Conner had 5.5 ypc for 799 yards with eight touchdowns. Conner is a sentimental favorite for sure but he could be an incredible addition to the Steelers’ backfield, a definite 3rd down back and could be something special.

Priority Free Agent – OT, Brad Seaton, Villanova – Height: 6′-5″ 325# – 40/5.10 – I had Seaton for a possible 7th Rd comp pick. We didn’t get it but he’s too good not to list and NOBODY seems to know about him. Seaton has excellent size and good physicality. The tape on him is impressive. Seaton is a mean run blocker who likes nothing more than to drive his opponent into the ground. His pass blocking technique needs some work but he mirrors well and usually stays in front of his man. He seems like the sort of player Coach Munchak would like to mold into the player he could be.

So, that’s it. Thanks to NFL Draft Scout and Walter Football, as usual for their great scouting work.

What do you think? Do you think it’s too soon to Draft a Quarterback? Are there any positions you think need tended to or players you’d love see with the Steelers that didn’t show up here?

Go Stillers!!!!

Jeffrey Burton

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