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It is rare that the Pittsburgh Steelers hold such a high draft pick. The norm is mid to late 20’s for the organization but this season is different and they control the 17th pick in the draft. With such a high pick and so many key players being let go the last few years the Steelers are in need of a great draft. They need impact players with leadership ability. They need guys who can become stars, not just roster fillers or trench guys at the top of this draft.
They need to find the next Troy Polamalu or Ben Roethlisberger. The type of guys they got the last few times they picked this high. Splash players who can make a difference and there are several to be had at the spot they currently hold.
I realize many may agree and many won’t agree with my 3 round mock below. Some may call me crazy and want to have me committed and they may be completely right to feel that way. So feel free to post your thoughts in the comments below after reading this post.
As stated above the Steelers need impact players, guys who can make a difference in this draft. If they can find those players in the upcoming draft then they could be well on their way back to Super Bowl favorites in no time. So here goes nothing.
With the 17th pick in the 2013 NFL Draft, the Pittsburgh Steelers select LB Jarvis Jones, Georgia.
If all of the pieces fall into place like most predict for the 2013 NFL Draft, the Pittsburgh Steelers will be selecting University of Georgia linebacker Jarvis Jones with the 17th overall pick. Jones is a two-time Consensus All-American, and a two-time All-SEC First-Team selection.
The Steelers’ number of sacks has declined over the past two seasons. From 2008-10, Pittsburgh’s defense had season totals of 51, 47, and 48 sacks respectively. In 2011, their sack count fell to 35, and the 2012 season showed minimal improvement with 37 sacks.
Jones just could be what the Steelers need. To be more specific, he could be what linebacker LaMarr Woodley needs. Last season, Woodley had a career-low four sacks. This was mainly because James Harrison, who was released in March, wasn’t playing at full strength due to lingering injuries, and all attention was put on Woodley.
There is a downside to drafting Jones this high though. He was diagnosed with spinal stenosis in 2009. A condition that could shorten his career and one that makes him a risk to draft so high. The upside to the condition is the Steelers could get him for his entire career on the cheap.
Even if he only is able to play 4-5 years, most of that would be under a easy to handle rookie deal and if he makes it to his pay day at the end of the initial pact, the condition should keep his numbers relatively low for a player of his stature. It’s a win, win as long as the team gets 4-5 years service from the young stud.
A second possibility for the 17th selection is CB Dee Milliner.
Call me crazy but this is a scenario that is very possible as Milliner seems to be slipping down the draft boards some due to a recent shoulder surgery that could keep him out of training camp and possibly the beginning of the season for whatever teams drafts him.
More than likely though, Milliner’s slide is just draft week smoke screens from teams who are in the top 10, but if he does make the slide and is on the board when Pittsburgh selects he would be a very hard prospect to pass up.
Other possible selections with the 17th pick include: WR Cordarrelle Patterson, DE Damontre Moore or WR Keenan Allen.
The Steelers could also opt to trade down from the 17th selection and add a couple extra draft picks to their arsenal. By trading to the mid 20’s they could target players such as TE Tyler Eifert, CB Desmond Trufant, SS Matt Elam or WR Justin Hunter.
With the 48th pick in the 2013 NFL Draft, the Pittsburgh Steelers select WR Justin Hunter, Tenn.
Justin Hunter is that other wide receiver from Tennessee. If not for an ACL tear during the 2011 season it’s likely that he would be considered the top wide receiver in the 2013 draft class. Unlike Patterson who only has one year of starting experience, Hunter has been a relative mainstay in the Volunteers vertical passing attack.
He was slow to start the 2012 season while shaking off the rust from his ACL injury but really started to heat up towards the end of the year and looks to be completely over the injury.
At 6-foot-4, 205 pounds Justin Hunter proved to be a true threat. With only 16 receptions he amassed 415 receiving yards and seven touchdowns. In 2011 he tore his ACL after just three games. His junior year he had 73 receptions for 1083 yards and nine touchdowns. Hunter utilized his size to climb the latter and compete for the ball. He is fast for a receiver of his size expected to run as low as a high 4.4s forty but he is also elusive for a bug receiver.
With the 79th pick in the 2013 NFL Draft, the Pittsburgh Steelers pick HB Giovani Bernard, NC.
With the loss of Mendenhall via free agency and Chris Rainey not panning out the Steelers are left with a huge hole in the backfield as incumbents Isaac Redman and Jonathan Dwyer are not true feature backs and Barron Batch is just lucky to be on the roster at this point in his career. Thus leading to the Steelers selecting Giovani Bernard in this spot.
Bernard reminds many of a Ray Rice/Doug Martin type of player (though not quite as fast as those two). At 5’8″ and 202 lbs., Bernard is a quick, stocky RB. He always seems to twist and fall forward with his thick base, and he has the balance to bounce off of potential tacklers. After tearing his ACL and sitting out in 2010, Bernard came back strong.
As North Carolina became more shotgun happy, he had to change up his game a bit, but he still managed to get over 1,000 yards rushing in multiple years. In his final year, Bernard put up 1,228 yards rushing on 184 carries with 12 touchdowns. He was also able to grab 47 passes for 490 yards and 5 touchdowns, and he also returned 16 punts for 263 yards and 2 more TDs.
Impact is a need not a want!
The Steelers need to impact the draft on the first two days. Their scouts will need to be on their game when putting together this year’s class of rookies and if they can come away with anything close to the above selections the team will be doing very good no matter who they grab on the final day of the process.
If these three young men can make their way to the Burgh then the future is bright for the Steelers and the process of retooling will be well on its way. Of course the team has many other weakness’ that they need to address, such as the future at FS and SS a future replacement for Larry Foote in the middle, depth on the oline and a decent young CB, but if they can get these three they will have pulled off another great day in April.
Do you agree or disagree with the picks we project? Tell us what you think of these picks by commenting below.
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