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Armchair GM – 2017 Steelers Seven Round Mock Draft – Final Addition

April 24, 2017
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Armchair GM – 2017 Steelers Seven Round Mock Draft – Final Addition

The Draft will be here in no time. This year I’m going against the conventional wisdom that has the Steelers going heavy on Defense again this year. I think Ben’s foot dragging about whether he would play this year was a not so subtle hint of which way he thinks the Draft should go. He needs more weapons.

The team is VERY shallow at all the offensive skill positions and they could stand to have some competition there. And yes, I know we have a bunch of Wide Receivers but none of them except Martavis Bryant, who is on very thin ice, can draw the heat away from Antonio Brown.

The team could actually add three running backs, one ‘every down’ back with pass catching ability, one Scatback/Wide Receiver hybrid and a Third Down/short yardage bruiser. And though I’m a believer in Jesse James, there is too much talent at Tight End in this year’s Draft not to consider adding one.

I’ve got to put some qualifiers in here, if Patrick Mahomes is available in the 1st Rd the Steelers should pull the trigger. I don’t see Mahomes making it past Bruce Arians, though. Arians thinks he was responsible for Ben’s success and Mahomes’ game is very similar. Arians won’t be able to resist the urge to feel good about himself. With it being a deep Draft for Edge Rushers there will still be plenty of talent available. In the 2nd Rd DE/OLB Jordan Willis is the name to watch.

Some have Mitch Trubisky falling out the First Rd but they are dingbats. If San Francisco doesn’t take him, Chicago or New York will. I see nothing exciting about DeShaun Watson or DeShone Kizer’s game. They both look like the New Geno Smith, to me. The only other QB I would draft would be Davis Webb and it was a tough decision between him and the QB I ultimately picked. When Webb’s on, he looks very good. He has a lot of bad habits, though.

Given the way the Steelers Defense came around late in season, we will, for the first time in years, NOT be drafting from a position 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.

This should be a very exciting Draft.

Steelers Mock Draft 2017

1st Rd – Outside Linebacker/Edge Rusher – T.J. Watt – Wisconsin – 6′-4″  243#, 40/4.65 – We need a successor to the Great James Harrison. I think it was wise for the Steelers to bring back James for at least another year while they break in the new prospect. We wouldn’t want another Jarvis Jones debacle.

Watt looks tough and plays tough. He fights on every play and has a sureness about him that borders on cockiness. In the pass rush he shows a nice rip move, some speed and good hand use. Against the run Watt’s technique is very solid and he slips blocks well. He also displays great game awareness and knows when to drop back into coverage. Wisconsin moved Watt all over the place which would get him good match ups. He would give Coach Butler another wildcard player to move around the field along with ILB, Ryan Shazier and the developing SS, Sean Davis. Takkarist McKinley would be my second choice and I’d have almost the exact same thing to say about him.

In 2016 Watt had 59 tackles with 14.5 tackles for a loss, 10.5 sacks, three passes broken up and one forced fumble. And while there’s not that much tape on T.J., he has a pedigree, as he is the younger brother of J.J. Watt and Derek Watt.

Watt would be perfect fit for the Steel City. With a little more strength conditioning and coaching up by Peezy and Deebo, he could be next big thing.

2nd Rd – Wide Receiver – Chris Godwin – Penn State –  6′-1″, 209# – 4.42/40 – 19/250# reps – Godwin caught 59 passes for 982 yards for a 16.6 yard average and 11 touchdowns in 2016. Penn State’s big and strong wide receiver wowed everybody with his forty time. Godwin runs good routes and climbs the ladder for jump balls. He’s very good in the Red Zone and was frequently targeted with jump balls, back shoulder fades and throws underneath the coverage. He knows how to come back for the ball and put his body in front of his defender. Tracks the ball very well and has the speed to blow the top off a defense. Most importantly, on a Mike Tomlin team, Godwin is very sure-handed. He takes his blocking assignments seriously and is big and strong enough to man up against a Linebacker. Godwin surprised people at the Combine with his speed, strength and agility.

Godwin reminds me of an Anquan Boldin type with much more straight line speed. Martavis Bryant is on his last strike and who knows if Sammie Coates will ever get out Tomlin’s doghouse. Rogers and Hamilton are possession receivers and not much more. The Steelers need a long term, complimentary Wide Receiver to Antonio Brown and Godwin could be just that.

3rd Rd – Quarterback – Brad Kaaya – Miami – 6′-5″ – 215# -. Kaaya can make all the throws. He’s shown the ability to make a few eye popping passes a game with very accurate back shoulder fades and long drops in the bucket. He has confidence in his ability to fit the ball in a tight window and shows real potential to be an ‘anticipation thrower’ who puts the ball where his receiver is going to be, rather than the standard college ‘see it and throw it’ passer. Kaaya’s a natural pocket passer and though not a scrambler can be very elusive under pressure. He doesn’t get ‘happy feet’, pat the ball or have any other bad habits. Because of the ‘Canes pro-style offense he will have less time adjusting to the NFL.

Kaaya played behind a crummy O-line most of his career with the Miami Hurricanes. He also had a revolving door of Head Coaches, Offensive Coordinators and offensive systems. Even still, he made few mistakes throughout his college career and in his Senior year enjoyed a high QB rating and only 7 interceptions. He’s gotten knocks for not handling pressure well but that’s not what the film shows. If anything Kaaya stands tall in the pocket and displayed an admirable toughness, hanging on to the ball and delivering it even when he knew he was going to get blasted. He famously had a tooth knocked out on one hit that he carried off the field so it could be repaired.

When his feet are set Kaaya is extremely accurate. When they aren’t he can throw some ugly passes but that doesn’t happen often. Kaaya is a natural for Todd Haley’s version of the West Coast Offense. He’s a real student of the game and a very hard worker. This is a good spot to draft Kaaya, it gives the Steelers brass some room if he doesn’t develop. The team really needs someone better than Landry Jones as their backup and starting/bridge QB. Kaaya could be that and maybe more. The more video I watch and the more I learn about this young QB, the more I like him. Kaaya had 261 comp, 421 att, 62.0% acc, 3532 yds, 27 td,  7 Int, 150.3 QB rating.

“Rhythm passer comfortable working in timing-based passing attack. Schooled on mechanics of the position since he was eight years old. Uses well-timed climbs and slides to maneuver away from pressure. Footwork is consistent and well-rehearsed. Ball stays tucked under his ear until he cuts it loose with relatively quick wrist flick. Throws on balance with easy delivery.” NFL.com

3rd Rd – Running Back – Marlon Mack – South Florida – 5′-11″, 213#,  4.50/40 – 125 in. broad jump – Mack looks bigger than his listed size. He’s a smooth runner but can also lower the shoulder pads for extra yards. His pass catching role was expanded in 2016 with Mack often lining up as a wideout. He tracks the ball well and is a hands catcher. In his Senior year Mack had 174 att., 1187 ys, 6.8 avg, 15 TDs and 28 rec. for 227 yds. As a Junior he was less of a factor in the passing game but put up 210 att., 1381 yds, 6.6 per carry with 8 TDs and 16 receptions for 111 and one 1 TD. His broad jump shows a burst that should be good in short yardage and goal line situations. Projects as an every down back for the NFL.

Mack is very much in the Le’Veon Bell mold and would fit seamlessly into the Steelers offensive scheme.

“Looks like he has ball bearings in his hips. Able to swivel in multiple directions. Can tilt and slalom around defenders on the second and third level and is able to string moves together. Explosive burst carries him into his getaway gear. Able to run away from tacklers. ” NFL.com

4th Rd – Tight End – George Kittle – Iowa – 6-4. Weight: 247#, 4.52/40 – I really hope the Steelers pick this guy. Seeing Kittle in his Steelers lookalike Iowa jersey, he totally reminds me of Heath Miller, only much, much faster. The resemblance doesn’t end there. Kittle is a very strong blocker. Haley would LOVE what he brings to the run game. He runs good routes, has very good hands and can find the soft spot in coverage. His speed and agility surprised people at the Combine. He had 22 receptions for 314 yards with 4 touchdowns in 2016 in an offense that undervalued the TE as a receiving position. They did run a pro-style offense, so Kittle should be ‘plug and play’.

“Blocks with good technique and has footwork to get to reach blocks and combos. Hands are confident and sure with just one drop against 48 catches. Able to make sudden body adjustments to poorly thrown balls. Flashes vertical speed to become a seam worker. Physical runner after the catch with more wiggle than you would expect.”

“Blocks with good technique and has footwork to get to reach blocks and combos. Hands are confident and sure with just one drop against 48 catches. Able to make sudden body adjustments to poorly thrown balls. Flashes vertical speed to become a seam worker. Physical runner after the catch with more wiggle than you would expect.”

5th Rd – Corner Back – Shaquil Griffin – Central Florida – 6′-0″, 194#, 4.38/40 – Griffin blew up the Combine with a blazing 40 time and high marks in agility and explosiveness. Even with the emergence of Artie Burns and the development of Ross Cockrell, the Steelers are short on talent and depth at cornerback. Griffin flashes good makeup speed with field awareness and is a scrappy tackler. He’s large enough to hang with pass catching Tight Ends and the bigger NFL wide receivers. Is said by NFL scouts to be a good fit for a Cover Two Defense. Playing speed didn’t always marry up with his 40 time. Griffin is not a finished product, you are drafting the measurables and potential for growth. He had 49 tackles,  2.5  tackles for loss, 4 int., 15 pass deflections in 2016.

“Has good size and strength. Has a disruptive punch and feet to impede in press coverage. Loose and athletic in his movement. Able to flip hips and match receivers without giving up much early separation in his transition. Allowed just 32.9 percent of throws his way to be completed. Possesses plus ball skills. Uses well-timed leaps and strong hands to challenge at the catch point.” NFL.com

6th Rd – RB/Scatback/WR – T.J. Logan – 5′-9″, 195#, 4.37/40 – Very fast, versatile and agile, Logan fits the Scatback mold perfectly. He didn’t get a lot of carries at N.C. State and he doesn’t project as an every down back. He is sturdy enough to run between the tackles, though. A perfect player for specialized packages that take advantage of his short area quickness and ability to make something happen after he gets the ball. Logan had 120 att. for 650 yards for a 5.4 yard average and 7 TDs with 29 receptions for 244 and 3 touchdowns in 2016.

Logan is an outstanding kick returner with a 32.2 yard average in 2016 and 5 touchdowns for his career. So, he can contribute on special teams, immediately, while the offense figures out other  ways to use him.

The team has been looking for this type of player for years. Logan is a lot sturdier than Barron Batch or Dri Archer so he has much better potential for his game to translate to the NFL.

“Contain-buster who has a nitrous gear that rockets him to and around the corner on sweeps. Accesses top gear quickly when bursting downhill and can make defenses feel it if he’s untouched into second level. Has rhythmic feet to make directional changes without much change in his pace.”

7th RdFree 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 in 2016. Cox is a capable center fielder who covers a lot of ground. He keys off the run game a bit too much at this point in his career but that may be what he was coached to do. Bottom line, he knows how to play the position.

He played corner for the Spartans in 2015 and was productive against the ground game, as well as being reliable in pass coverage, which shows scheme versatility. Cox had 3 interceptions, 7 passes broken up and 79 tackles his Junior year.

Cox would have gone higher but he got drunk and punched a taxi driver. Other than that incident he has been an ultra high character guy and is loved and respected by his coaches and teammates. I can’t count the stupid things I did in college.

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. FS 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.

So, that is it! Soon if will be Draft Day. Stay tuned to Pittsburgh-Blitz for coverage of ALL the rounds and ALL the NEW STEELERS!!!!

Go Stillers!!!

Jeffrey Burton

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One Comment

  1. mm JBSteel

    Love T.J. Watt!!!