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Armchair GM – 2017 Steelers Mock Draft – Playoff Addition

January 15, 2017
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Armchair GM – 2017 Steelers Mock Draft – Playoff Addition

Yes, we’re in the playoffs but soon football will be gone for FAR too long and the next thing we have to look forward is April 27th and NEW STEELERS!!! According to ‘Over the Cap’ the Steelers may not be getting as many compensatory picks as originally thought even though we lost some starters and a number of other players. They have us just picking up additional 5th and 7th round draft choices.

Given the way the Steelers Defense came around late in season, we may be, for the first time in years, NOT 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.

So, with no further ado!

Steelers Mock Draft 2017

1st Rd – Outside Linebacker/Edge Rusher – T.J. Watt – Wisconsin – 6′-4″  243#, 40/4.65 – Watt has decided to declare. We need a successor to the Great James Harrison. I think it would be wise for the Steelers to bring back James for one more 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.

In 2016 Watt had 59 tackles with 14.5 tackles for a loss, 10.5 sacks, three passes broken up and one forced fumble. In 2015, he was a reserve having 8 tackles with 3 passes broken up. 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, he could have Kevin Greene-like potential.

2nd Rd – Quarterback – Patrick Mahomes – Texas Tech – 6′-3″, 220#, 40/4.62  – Okay, I know what you’re saying, ‘Why do we need a QB? Ben, ya know???’ Well, even 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 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 period.

Yes, this may be a reach but in this QB starved NFL I don’t think he’d make it past the 3rd Rd. I also think our ‘D’ stepped up so big at the end of season we don’t have any desperate needs there other than an additional edge rusher.

3rd Rd – Wide Receiver, Taywan Taylor, Western Kentucky – 6′-1″ Weight: 195# – 40/4.42. And I know what you’re saying here, too, “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 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. Taylor has averaged around 17 yards per catch his entire career. He’s sure handed, good route runner who tracks the ball well and a big physical guy who fights for the ball. He also has good straight line speed. Taylor had a big 2016. He caught 98 passes for 1,730 yards with 17 touchdowns. He will be going to the Senior Bowl so we will get a chance to see how he does against top CB talent. His junior year stats were big as well, 86 passes for 1,467 yards with 17 touchdowns.

4th Rd – Running Back, Kareem Hunt – 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.

5th Rd – Corner Back , Des Lawrence, North Carolina –  6′-1″, 185#, 40/4.55. – Even with the emergence of Artie Burns and the development of Ross Cockrell the Steelers are a little short on talent and depth at cornerback. Lawrence flashes good makeup speed with field awareness and is a scrappy tackler. He’s large enough to hang with the bigger NFL wide receivers Lawrence tallied 37 tackles with 10 passes broken up and one sack in 2016. Teams tended to throw away from him in his Senior year. His junior year was even more impressive with 14 passes broken up, two interceptions and 59 tackles. Lawrence is a three year starter and had 71 tackles, three breakups and one interception as a sophomore.

5th Rd (Compensatory pick) – 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 – OT, Brad Seaton, Villanova – Height: 6′-5″ 325# – 40/5.10 – Seaton has excellent size and good physicality. He ‘could end up being a steal in the 2017 NFL Draft’, according to WalterFootball.com. Seaton is a mean run blocker who likes nothing more than to drive his opponent into the ground. His pass blocking technique needs 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.

7th Rd (Compensatory pick) –  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.

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

What do you think? 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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