Visit NFL from the sidelines on the new Observer-Reporter site: http://www.observer-reporter.com/section/BLOGS08

Friday, May 02, 2014

Steelers first-round odds

With a week left to go to the NFL draft, here's my rundown on who I think will be the team's No. 1 draft pick based on players I feel have a chance to be available.

I'll be releasing my final mock draft early next week.

1. Darqueze Dennard,CB, Michigan State. I think Dennard is the frontrunner, provided he's available. I'd peg those chances at about 50-50 right now.

2. Kyle Fuller, CB, Virginia Tech. He fits the Steelers' style and if they trade back even a few picks, he could be gone. A nice fallback option at corner if Dennard is gone.

3. Odell Beckham, Jr., WR, LSU. At 5-11, 198, Beckham isn't one of the big receivers in this draft. But he's a polished route runner who has drawn comparisons to Antonio Brown. Would it be a bad thing to have two Antonio Browns?

4. Anthony Barr, LB, UCLA. This could be a value pick. Barr is still learning the position and would probably be a top-10 pick in any other year given his athleticism. Jason Worilds is signed only for this season at this point, though I feel a long-term deal is in the works once the Steelers get past the draft.

5. Justin Gilbert, CB, Oklahoma State. I know he tests off the charts in terms of speed and he's an outstanding return man, but Gilbert doesn't play very physically. In my opinion, Dennard and Fuller will be better pros. Gilbert could be dynamic as a return man, however.

6. Eric Ebron, TE, North Carolina/Zack Martin, G, Notre Dame. A pair of fallback options if everyone else on this list is gone, which is unlikely.

Targets for a trade back 10 or so picks

1. Jason Verrett, CB, TCU. Tough and physical. At 5-10, 189, doesn't have the size of the top three guys, however.

2. Marquise Lee, WR, USC. Polished and talented. He dropped in this draft due to some injury issues in 2013. But a talented receiver, nonetheless.

3. Louis Nix, NT, Notre Dame. I know fans would be upset if the Steelers took him at 15, but if the Steelers grabbed him at, say, 25, and picked up an extra third-round pick, would anybody complain?

4. Ryan Shazier, LB, Ohio State/C.J. Mosley, LB, Alabama. Both have injury issues that could cause them to fall. Both are talented prospects. Are they worth the gamble?

21 comments:

Jakey said...

Someone always falls every year. What if it's Evans, or Donald? Do the Steelers still go cb?

marc said...

does it mean anything that the steelers have gone defense in the first round in back-to-back years only twice since 1968 (77-78, 87-88)? probably not, but that is quite an amazing statistic nonetheless.

I'm thinking they go defense again this year unless a higher profile WR falls to them at 1.15.

Anonymous said...

Your thoughts?
Rd 1: Kyle Fuller
Rd 2: Davante Adams

Both guys are proven athletes that have showcased their talents on the field. And both fill obvious positions of need. I think they would both contribute immediately.
It would be even better if they could drop down a few picks in the 1st and pick up an extra pick in the 3rd and still nab Fuller.

BNR said...

Jakey if Evans falls he will be the pick, Donald doesn't fit our scheme unless they tailor it to him

Marc they went back to back LB with Timmons and Woodley...

Fuller/Adams would be nice

marc said...

BNR,
I am referencing first round picks from year to year, not back-to-back rounds.

Michael Frazer said...

There's been a lot of chatter -- and I've been pounding this drum loudly -- about Donald if he makes it past the Giants and Bears. I know he's not the prototype 3-4 DE but with the Steelers spending so much time in sub packages I think he would help this line become dominant again. Besides, he's built a lot like Heyward (albeit a little shorter), so I think he'd be a much better fit than people think. And when you have that kind of talent available, you FIND ways to get them on the field.

Anonymous said...

The Steelers have so many needs it would not make sense to take an OLB at 15. But if Evans, Gilbert, Dennard, and Fuller are gone how do you pass on Anthony Barr. Don't trade the pick to San Fran. Trade Worilds!

Dave Nelson said...

I wouldn't take any of the trade back picks you listed in the 1st round Dale. Nix especially. If he's there for their 2nd round pick, fine, but no way in the first, even if they trade down all the way to the end of the round.

With Lee, it wasn't just injury concerns, but all the drops. No thanks to a USC receiver. Same goes for Alabama defenders with the beatings they take in college, so no thanks to Mosley as well (in the 1st).

Anonymous said...

i'm not interested in the Steelers drafting any more UCLA pass rushers

Michael Frazer said...

@Anonymous(12:00PM): Long live Bruce Davis?

Dale Lolley said...

If somebody falls this year, Jakey, it will be a quarterback, not Evans or Donald

datruth4life said...

Dale, when do you take the Pro Bowler vs. the need player?

Charlie Casserly of NFL.com is pounding the table on Mosley, saying he is similar to Luke Keuchly from the Panthers except that Keuchly has better instincts (he gave Keuchly a 10 in that area and said Mosley is a 9). He did, however, say that Mosley is stronger and a better player in coverage than Keuchly. We know he's had injuries at Alabama, but if the doctors sign off on him, what about Mosley for this D?

Fuller is my preferred CB for this D. However, I'm not as down on Gilbert as most people are. I think you take a player with that type ability, size and speed and show him how you want him to play as a CB in this defense. Great hands and 4.37 speed are great hands and 4.37 speed, any which way you cut it. And besides, when is the last time the Steelers had a ballhawk at CB with speed and size? After consecutive 8 and 8 seasons, maybe it's time to try something different.

My preferences of players who I like at pick no. 15 and who I believe will be there are:

1) CB Fuller - Starter in the nickel rookie year, gunner, and starter in 2015.

2) CB Gilbert - Play in sub pkgs, no. 1 KR & PR, Lake's project to get him up to speed in playing more physically but also let him use his god-given ability to make plays.

3) WR O. Beckham - Will play in O sub pkgs learning the X, Y, Z positions this year and will compete to start in 2015. Will serve as the no. 1 KR/PR this year. Great value in a first rounder. Gil Brandt said he will be a star.

4) ILB Mosley - Will be ready to start early on in his first year. A 4-down ILB that is clearly more talented than anything the Steelers have on the other side of Timmons. Out of the 4 players mentioned above, he could be the first to make the Pro Bowl and the one who makes the most Pro Bowl trips. I think a 3-4 D is at its best when you have 4 LBs who never have to come off the field. Mosley is a baller.

datruth4life said...

If I could trade back to say pick #18 or #19, pick up a 3rd rd pick, and still select C.J. Mosley, I would probably have to bite. If he is the best player available, even if you have a greater need at CB or WR, I'd take him. I think Colbert has been getting burned recently by trying to take the best available player at a position of need instead of best available player period. Now that the Steelers are projected to be about $20M BELOW the cap next year (with an extension to Ben possibly increasing that number to $26M to $30M below the cap) then maybe Colbert can continue to sign young vets in free agency to fill holes so that he can go best available player during the draft instead of gambling on need.

Anonymous said...

It's fun to speculate but people need to stop treating trading back as anything more than a pipe dream.

Patrick said...

so here is a mock draft I did:

http://espn.go.com/nfl/draft2014/features/draftmachine/result?picks=33597,33601,34108,33609,34120,34748,33057,34717,33617,33051,34122,34113,33619,33612,33087,33600,34749,33072,33603,33605,33053,34117,34722,34107,33622,32176,33604,34718,33608,34111,33695,34758

I didn't make these exactly team specific, i.e. I expect Garrapollo to go where Den is. I highly doubt Den goes QB in rd 1 so that is an obvious trade. I also think that Hou isn't taking Clowney for themselves but trading with the Vikings for Bortles (and some picks, but not RG3 tye picks)

Anonymous said...

I'm getting the feeling the Steelers first round big board looks like:

1. Dennard
2. Fuller

Period.

They'll probably get their "Big WR" in the second round (Benjamin, Latimer, Moncrief, Adams, Robinson, Matthews, Bryant), though I have a hunch they'll be itching to trade down to get another third-rounder (possible buyer's remorse over the Shamarko Thomas trade).

Dale Lolley said...

There is no buyers remorse with Thomas. They like him a lot

Anonymous said...

I guess what I meant was, buyer's remorse over trading away this year's third rounder to draft Shamarko in addition to Landry Jones, as opposed to just drafting Shamarko instead of Landry with their original pick last year.

Lance said...

I like Fuller over Dennard, but would be happy with either and I hope one of the two is the pick. This is the year to go CB in rd 1. WR is very deep this year, and I am just not sure you need size, I prefer the crisp route runner with great hands any day, someone like Cooks from OSU.

I am hopeful Gilbert is not the pick, he just not seem to fit the Steeler D IMO, does not have great hips, and not a willing tackler.

Just a few days...I can't wait!!

Dale Lolley said...

I would be fine with either Dennard or Fuller. Think both will be solid NFL players, if not stars.

Henigin said...

I really hope they don't burn a first round pick on a medium-sized WR. What they really need is a big pass-catcher who can help improve the red zone TD %.