Armchair GM

Armchair GM: Steelers 2015 Mock Draft

January 5, 2015
12 minutes read
Armchair GM: Steelers 2015 Mock Draft

Armchair GM – 2015 Mock Draft and No, Cornerback isn’t the First Round.

Angry Steeler Nation Villagers,

Okay, before the torches and pitchforks get broken out, let me explain. I realize the need is there for a #1 CB even though William Gay has a emerged as veteran presence and solid cover corner and we’ve got a very good young player in the 5′-9″ Antwan Blake and a very pleasant surprise in Bryce McCain. Ike Taylor is done, it’s been coming on in the last couple years but that day has arrived. Ike will be considered one of the best at the position to ever play for the Steelers. If he didn’t have hands of granite he would have been a perennial Pro Bowler and shoo-in for the Hall of Fame. Now, to the situation at hand.

The Steelers brass for years haven’t deemed the CB position worthy of a 1st Rounder and our secondary play has reflected that. They’ve been, well, (expletive deleted). Then there’s the mystifying case of Keenan Lewis and Cortez Allen. They let Lewis walk who had proved himself  as a starter and in 2014 had an impressive 13 PDef with the Saints and then make the untested Cortez Allen the 26 Million Dollar Man, only for him to lead the league in face guarding and turning your back on the pass before getting burned and benched. So the need is there. Unfortunately, the talent isn’t, not in this Draft class.

The Steelers let two of the best Corner Back classes in recent years go without addressing the situation with a high round pick. This year’s crop it’s difficult to find good tape or even two different scouts that agree that any of them should be a lock on a 1st Round pick. There’s a lot of conditional language being used. If he can get better-stronger-improve his man coverage-cut down on mistakes-put on more weight-etc.

There is no ‘Must Have’ candidate out there. If one does get drafted in the 1st Rd there will be one of equal value in the second. That being said I had to make a choice that on the surface seems like a head-scratcher, even to me.

So with no further ado, (hand flourish) I give you the 2015 Draft (if I was put in charge):

1st Rd – Vic Beasley, OLB, Clemson 6′-3′. 235#, 4.69/40, 11 sacks, 34 tackles, 21.5 tackles for a loss, 2 passes batted and 3 forced fumbles in 2014

Beasley looks like what the Steelers hoped Jarvis Jones would be. I know some people don’t agree with me but I’ve watched the film (in slow motion) and I’m convinced Jones is a bust. Since Harrison is starting in our play-off run while a healthy Jones sits along with the trouble he had keeping Arthur Moats off the field, it’s possible Tomlin and LeBeau have come to the same conclusion.

Beasley has the speed, leverage and strength to be a disruptive force on the weak or strong side. He is more of a natural weakside pass rusher. His low inside shoulder move is similar to Silverback’s. Coach Porter will like this guy. He is a high-motor guy and never gives up on a play. He hasn’t been challenged much as a pass defender but he has the speed, mobility and instincts.

2nd Rd – Trae Waynes, CB, Michigan State, 6′-1″, 182#, 4.43/40, 7 PDef, 3 Int. 40 tackles in 2014. Solid as a press-man. Quick and physical. Has the size and speed to hang with the big NFL receivers. Plays the ball and not the man on mid and deep patterns. Good against the run. Has all the tools to develop into a #1 Cornerback.

3rd Rd. – Anthony Harris, S, Virginia – 6′-1″. 190#, – 4.59./40, 108 tackles with 10 PDef and 2 Int. in 2014. Hard hitting and active. An instinctive and natural center fielder, Harris looks like he could play free or strong safety. It’s going to be a long row to hoe in the post-Polamalu era. Sharmarko Thomas is yet to be seen. Mike Mitchell hasn’t proven to be ‘Ryan Clark only younger’ as I once hoped. Will Allen (old reliable) seems to always be there for the claiming whenever the Steelers need him but he is a talented sub, nothing more. We need to amass talent in the secondary and Harris’ versatility will help him get on the field earlier.

4th Rd. – Jeremy Langford, RB, Michigan State, 6′-1″. 208#, 4.58/40 – 1,360 yds, 5.5 ypc and 19 touchdowns, 9 receptions for 55 yds in 2014.  Had 28 receptions, 157 yds in 2013. We like Le’Veon Bell, right? How about going back to Michigan St. and getting the back that replaced him? Langford is a strong runner who finds holes and turns it on at the line of scrimmage. He also would bring another good receiver out of the backfield.

5th Rd. Terry Williams, NT, East Carolina, 6′-1″. Weight: 353#, 5.21/40 – 29 tackles with 7.5 tfl, 1.5 sacks, 1 PDef and 2 forced fumbles this season. Low center of gravity gets explosive pop with arms and leverage. Draws and beats double teams. Slips off blocks nicely in run defense. Looks ‘Snack’ like on the line. (5th Rd is my snake bit round having selected same as the Steelers on two disappointments, the bouncey chested CB Joe Burnett and RB Frank ‘Who Tanked’ Summers, maybe better luck this time, knock wood)

6th Rd – Jamil Douglas G/OT 6′-4″, 305#, Arizona State, 4.96/40, Versatile offensive lineman, who has played at all line positions except Center. Solid form. Can pull nicely in run blocking and has good kick slide in pass protection. Could use a little more drive when blocking for the run. Coach Munchak can help with that.

7th Rd – Dallas Lewallen, C/OG, Wisconsin, 6′-6″, 322#, 5.35/40, Reliable blocker for the strong blocking Badgers. Some interior versatility for the O-line. (no video available)

Nobody has rolled their eyes more than me when it comes to Steelers ‘Shiny Object’ linebacker picks but they started something with the Jones pick that they have yet to finish and Jason Worilds late, contract season, push to get 7.5 sacks isn’t really going to cut it by itself. We have seen good time put in by the ‘miracle kid’ ILB Sean Spence who has bounced back in great form from what might have been a career ending injury. Ryan Shazier has flashed some brilliance but is now vying with Spence for playing time in the interior. I still think Shazier could be an outstanding weakside pass rusher if Coach LeBeau would try him there.

Free Agency… sort of…

If the Steelers are smart they beg James Harrison to come back next year. He definitely has proved them wrong with an outstanding return, bringing black and gold attitude back to a young floundering defense. 2015 has a ton of good NFL Cornerbacks entering free agency. It would be a good idea to try to get a quality starter. It’s unreasonable to think a rookie, even a high draft pick, will be able to handle the NFL’s biggest and craftiest receivers right out of the gate. They need to eased into the lineup. We also need to go after a veteran Offensive Tackle. The perimeter O-line was totally exposed by the Ravens pass rush. Both Beachum or Gilbert are weak against strong pass rushers and neither should have a lock on a starting spot. More on free agency in another article.

There’s others I would like to add to a ‘Reunite the Steelers Party 2015″. FS Ryan Clark 96 tackles, 3 PDef and 1 int. with the Redskins this year. If nothing else his presence would be a kick in the ass to the under-performing Mike Mitchell. The versatile veteran, C/OG Doug Legursky is also a free agent. We lost him to a starting job in Buffalo a couple years back and could have used him since then. And the strange case of RB Jonathan Dwyer who did nothing but gain yardage and make things happen when he got in that the Steelers let walk to the would be ‘Steelers-West” who pick through our castoffs and practice squad players. And btw, claiming a promising player like DL Josh Mauro off a team’s practice squad once the season has commenced is the lowest of low. Figures that numb-skull Arians would pull that punk move. ‘Coach of Year’ my ass.

So anyway, that’s my Draft, what’s yours? Knowing me, this isn’t my final. We’ll be covering the Senior Bowl, East-West Shrine Game and NFL Combine. Those events usually bring some little known players to light and produce some red flags on the higher rated prospects. I know there are plenty of thoughts and opinions out there in Steeler Nation. If you don’t have particular players, what positions do you think we need? What would be your move as GM?

Go Stillers!

Jeffrey Burton

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