Mock drafts can be a bit much to handle this time of year as writers need to occupy themselves with something to write about. Readers should just think of mocks as a necessary evil for sports writers to avoid starting in on politics and religion.
Since the Steelers are still considered one of the best franchises in NFL history, whatever they are doing in the drafts must be working. This mock in no way represents what the Steelers should do; it represents what our writers think the Steelers may consider.
With the moves the black and gold have made this offseason, one thing is clear; they want depth at every position. Even with one of the best offensive lines in the league, the Steelers may even add offensive linemen at some point.
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Although most may be sick of reading mock drafts by now, this will be the first for the cover32/Steelers’ writers. Depending how angry the readers get over these selections, a couple more may be written before the NFL Draft begins April 27th.
Round one(30): Tim Williams, linebacker/defensive end from Alabama
As teams continue to meet with prospects, the “Tim Williams going in the first round” discussion is gaining more steam and is a definite possibility for the Steelers. With a small list of potentially great inside linebackers presumably gone already, the Steelers opt to go for proven on-the-field production. The off-the-field issues are concerning and may be the only reason that keeps Williams out of the first round.
Round two(62): Chidobe Awuzie, corner back from Colorado
Obviously taking a corner may raise some eyebrows from Steeler Nation; that is, until they see Awuzie perform all over the field. Most of the NFL is just starting to hear about how fluid the speedy corner is as he is moving quickly up draft boards. With this selection, the Steelers will have the beat-down Chris Hogan put on their corners in the AFC Championship game fresh on their minds.
Round three(94): Jake Butt, tight end from Michigan
The four-year starter would be looked at much higher had he not injured his knee during the Orange Bowl in January. Although Butt’s rehab is ahead of schedule according to NFL.com’s Chase Goodbread, teams may pass on the tight end; allowing the Steelers to find their next “Heath Miller.”
With two picks in the third round, the team could reach in any direction they choose with the picks. This is just speculation on this writer’s behalf but any combination of tight end, receiver and running back seems highly probable after selecting Williams and Awuzie to address their defense.
Round three(105, compensatory): D’Onta Foreman, running back from Texas
The six-foot, 233 pound bruiser had some fumbling issues his last college season by losing six of seven fumbles. If the Steelers believe they can rid him of that weakness, Foreman would be a great value at the end of the third round. The Steelers have been looking for a complimentary back to pair with Le’Veon Bell and may find it in Foreman.
Round four(135): Noah Brown, wide receiver from Ohio State
As far as gambling goes, this pick would rank right up there with masticating a caramel roll and guzzling a large cup of coffee right before driving in rush hour traffic. However, the Steelers can afford to develop the tall, crisp and speedy receiver as a red zone threat Big Ben needs. The only reason Brown may fall this far would be due to his inexperience.
Round five(173): Connor Harris, inside linebacker from Lindenwood
The Steelers could either reach on a potential replacement for Ben Roethlisberger or they can get the best linebacker in the draft that no one has heard of. By the time the draft rolls around, pundits everywhere will be clamoring about Harris and his abilities. The biggest question is if Harris can make the jump from Division II college football to the NFL; his work ethic and drive say he most definitely can.
Round six(213): Joshua Dobbs, quarterback from Tennessee
There has been plenty of talk about Big Ben retiring yet nothing has been solidified either way. Most are under the assumption he returns for the chance at another ring yet the Steelers will want to find someone to groom behind the big guy. Dobbs is far from perfect; he does however posses enough athletic ability for the Steelers to be interested.
Round seven(248): Tedric Thompson, safety from Colorado
The Steelers are not usually one to double up on talent from the same school. However, few defensive back fields at the collegiate level were as dominant as Colorado’s in the 2016 season. Adding Thompson to a secondary with Awuzie just makes sense as few can predict the output teams will receive from players selected in the seventh round.
The chances the Steelers select all the prospects listed is about as possible as someone winning the lottery on the same day they predicted the NCAA tournament correctly while being struck by lightning. However, the prospects listed do fit the team’s needs and are projected to be available for the Steelers when they select in the listed round.
Will the 2017 NFL Draft shape up in a way the Steelers can draft all these players? This writer definitely hopes so, however unlikely that may seem. The above players fit the team’s needs and have the abilities to play the way the Steelers love to and that alone may send the black and gold looking in their direction.