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Friday, 10 April 2015

2015 NFL Draft: Pittsburgh Steelers Seven Round Mock

Mock drafts always bring a little chuckle to Pittsburgh fans because even in years where the team has glaring needs, the Steelers always seem to take the best player.

In 2015, that glaring need is the secondary, and in particular, the cornerback position, so naturally, most "expert" mock drafts have the Steelers selecting a cornerback with the No. 22 pick.

But as Steelers fans know, cornerback is not a position the team emphasizes in the draft, and the weakness at the position can be easily masked with a great pass rush.

Rather than targeting only needs, Pittsburgh usually takes the best overall player available, which makes it difficult to predict the Steelers' draft. Nonetheless, here is a mock draft for the entire Pittsburgh Steelers 2015 draft.

First Round (22nd Overall): Randy Gregory, Outside Linebacker, Nebraska

Again, the obvious choice here would be a cornerback because Pittsburgh was ranked 27th in pass defense last season, but with outside lineback Jason Worilds' surprise retirement, Pittsburgh also needs another pass rusher.

And it just so happens Gregory is a prefect fit for the Steelers 3-4 scheme. 

He is a top ten talent that could fall because of a failed drug test at the combine. Gregory also failed multiple tests while at Nebraska, but his ability as an edge setter and pass rusher is undeniable. Mike Mayock of NFL Network describes him as a "boom or bust" player, so he is a risky pick, but in the second half of the first round, the Steelers will find the reward worth the risk.

In addition, Pittsburgh has an unexplanable love for drafting kids from the Big 10. Every year since 2011, Pittsburgh has taken at least one Big 10 player in the first two rounds.

If Gregory is already taken or the Steelers deem him too risky to draft, the Steelers could also select Virigina outside linebacker Eli Harold or Alabama safety Landon Collins. Other experts would argue cornerbacks Kevin Johnson and Jalen Collings are also a possibility.

Second Round (56th Overall): Senquez Golson, Cornerback, Mississippi

If the Steelers don't draft a cornerback in the first round, fans should expect general manager Kevin Colbert to target the secondary with two or three later picks.

Pittsburgh found Ike Taylor, Bryant McFadden, William Gay, and Keenan Lewis all after the first round, so it shouldn't be a surprise if the Steelers once again wait on cornerback and find value at the position later.

The Steelers have met with Golson, and he should be available at No. 56. Golson has great ball skills, isn't afraid to help against the run and is a good tackler.

All those things fit the billing for what Pittsburgh likely wants at cornerback.

Third Round (87th Overall): David Cobb, Running Back, Minnesota

With a pro bowl running back already on the roster in Le'Veon Bell, this is another value pick for the Steelers. Pittsburgh does, however, need to add depth to its running back core, especially with Bell likely to miss the first three games next season due to suspension.

Cobb is a prototypical north-and-south runner. He gained 54 percent of his yardage after contact the last two seasons at Minnesota. Cobb isn't a great pass catcher and could still develop his pass blocking, but Bell is so good in those roles that Cobb could be designated to a short-yardage and goal-line role.

Throughout their history, the Steelers are known for their ferocious defense and power running game. These first three picks could go a long way in re-establishing the Pittsburgh Steelers with their old identity.

Fourth Round (121st Overall): Byron Jones, Cornerback, Connecticut

Jones played both safety and cornerback in college, so Pittsburgh will be attracted to his versatility.

Obviously, there is only one Troy Polamalu, but scouts have called Jones extremely smart and instinctive on the field while also being a leader on the field and in the locker room. Perhaps he can fill the role at safety vacated by Polamalu, who announced his retirement on Friday. More than likely, though, he will be a cornerback in the NFL.

Jones isn't as physical as the typical Steelers defensive back, but his high character and insticts will be hard for Pittsburgh to pass up.

Fifth Round (160th Overall): Erick Dargan, Safety, Oregon

After selecting a more "finesse" corner in Jones, the Steelers would love to add a physical presence to the back of its secondary, and Dargan is the perfect fit.

But not only is Dargan physical, he is also extremely intelligent and can play on special teams.

Sixth Round (198th Overall): Max Garcia, Offensive Line, Florida

Garcia might be the most versatile offensive lineman in the draft. In college, he started 17 games at left tackle, 12 games at center and seven games at left guard. The Steelers love their offensive linemen to play multiple positions, especially their reserve lineman, which Garcia will likely be in his rookie season.

The Florida Gators lineman is also a hard worker, extremely powerful, and another high-character player. Garcia will give the Steelers more depth on the offensive line while also being another great locker room presence.

Sixth Round (212th Overall): C.J. Uzomah, Tight End, Auburn

Pittsburgh is going to take a tight end at some point in this draft. Starting tight end Heath Miller will be 33 years old in October, so the team would like to begin grooming his eventual replacement.

If the Steelers wait until this pick to take tight end, Uzomah would be good value. He is a big target and willing to catch passes over the middle.

Seventh Round (239th Overall): Devin Gardner, Wide Receiver, Michigan

The Steelers almost always take a wide receiver in a later round, and at some point, they probably will again in this draft. The position isn't an immediate need, but wide receiver has been somewhat of a revolving door in Pittsburgh. Plaxico Burress, Santonio Holmes, Mike Wallace and Emmanuel Sanders are all wide receiver stars who left via free agency in the last 10 years.

Antonio Brown is signed long-term, but who knows what could happen if Martavis Bryant and Markus Wheaton develop into stars. Garner isn't ready to be an NFL receiver, but he can sit and learn behind those three receivers and wait his turn.

There you have it Steelers fans. No reason to even watch the draft now because these predictions are sure to be correct ... Ok, not really. Actually, make sure to come back after the draft and remind us how wrong these predictions were.

Did FN miss anyone? Have a different opinion than us? Let us know in the comment section below.


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