New mock draft vs2.0
Just finished this, its a rough draft that will be going into a column for my local college paper. Its lengthy but let me know what you think. I may make some subtle changes before it goes to print in two weeks. This is a reallllly tough draft to forecast for the Steelers.
1. OG/T Amini Silatolu Midwestern State
NFL Comparison: Mike Iupati San Francisco 49ers
This small school prospect is jumping up draft boards lately because of his raw athleticism and ability to move in space. He is a perfect fit with the Steelers at 24. He played LT in college but has the look of a OG with some position flexibility if needed. He could be elite in the right blocking scheme. I see him as a near perfect fit for Sean Kuglers blocking style. He can pull and lead on running plays with ease and this talent will make him a contributor from day one. He plays with a real nasty mean streak and has the look of a guard who locks onto LB’s and consistently push’s them out of the hole. He erases rushers with ease with his long arms and athletic base but lacks the ability to slide and mirror on the edge which is the reason he is not viewed as a tackle at the NFL level. Amini graded out as tops in the majority of the positional drills for the OL at the combine anyway. He is a safe unheralded building block that will be selected late in the first or early in the 2nd round regardless. He fits a need so the Steelers don’t pass on him here with the top OL and ILB prospects already off the board.
2. OG/T Kelechi Osemele Iowa State
NFL Comparison: Davin Joseph Tampa Bay Buccaneers
This is a pick I for see happening simply because there is almost no value at an area of need in this portion of the draft. I don’t believe the Steelers are sold on Taa’mu and he may even be gone by this pick. Osemele instead fills out the Steeler offensive interior and solidifies it should any of the main pieces fall victim to injury. He has the ability to play outside if Willie Colon gets moved inside or is placed back on IR as is his usual custom. This selection shores up the o-line for years to come and provides more running room for the backs and more time for Ben to create plays. The offense will be more productive and efficient when they want and need to run the ball and the coaches recognize the need to be better in this area of the game. Osemele has some developing to do in the passing game but the majority of that can be negated with time and coaching. He has surprisingly quick feet and is athletic for his large frame. He is a good but unspectacular pick that needs to be made.
3. RB Bernard Pierce Temple
NFL Comparison: Fred Jackson
Pierce is a must add in my opinion. The team needs to run the ball better and no one is convinced that the current stable is going to get the job done effectively. Outside of Redman there are huge question marks in the backfield. Pierce has the speed and do-it-all skill set to make an instant impact. He can push to be the #1 or #2 guy as early as this season and is an underrated runner with good vision and precise single cuts that get him up field in a hurry. His game tape is impressive to say the least and he is a value in this area of the draft. Running behind the two guards added earlier in this draft ups his stock in the Steelers coaching staffs eyes. This pick brings more balance to the offense. It will help keep Ben Roethlisberger healthy and provide a ball possession attack that will help give the aging defense a rest.
4. DE Derek Wolfe Cincinnati
NFL Comparison: Jeremy Mincey Jacksonville Jaguars
This is simply a best player available pick. Wolfe was a dominant force in the Big East last season garnering defensive player of the year honors while playing mostly at defensive end. He is an attack style end who at 6’5” 295lbs is prototypical for a 3-4 role. He has above average strength and anchors well forcing lineman off the ball and creating gaps for linebackers to work through. He may not ever command double teams in the NFL but he adds some pass rushing flexibility to a vanilla 3-4 alignment. He can pressure and hold the edge and seems to get to the ball carrier more often than not. He has a non-stop motor that Steelers coaches will love. He may need time to learn but is a good player with starting talent and a high ceiling moving forward. This pick is more necessary if the Steelers are unable to land an adequate NT to backup and eventually replace Casey Hampton. Talk of moving Ziggy Hood inside is most likely just talk but should that happen this season or if injury bites the defensive line, Wolfe gives the team the ability to explore several options along the defensive front.
5. OT Lamar Holmes Southern Mississippi
NFL Comparison: Barry Richardson
Lamar Holmes is a well built tackle prospect at 6’5 320 and has the long arms (35 ½ inch) that all GM’s covet in pass protection. He is a typical JUCO transfer who blossomed late but finds a spot in this year’s draft as talent at tackle. The Steelers need a prospect to bring along slowly as a backup type player who can eventually supplant Jonathan Scott or Trai Essex next season. Holmes is that player. He is raw as sushi but has the physical tools and a massive wingspan that can engulf edge rushers. He bends to soon coming off the ball and struggles to sustain and finish off blocks in the run game and played against inferior college talent. The question marks surrounding Holmes are plenty but solid coaching and patience can correct some of his major weaknesses. He is a pick that can grow, take a role as a backup, and help clear up cap space in the future as he is a much cheaper option moving forward than what is currently riding the pine.
6. WR Chris Owusu Stanford
NFL Comparison: Kyle Williams San Francisco 49ers
Owusu (6’ 199lbs) went under looked in a pro style attack at Stanford as higher profile players such as Andrew Luck, David DeCastro and Coby Fleener garnered the bulk of the attention. The Stanford receiver blazed a 4.33 forty time at the NFL combine and has a good feel for a pro style route tree despite just decent hands. The speed and route running ability make him a developmental WR who can contribute on special teams in year one and provide a small amount of insurance if Mike Wallace leaves via free agency next season. An underlying quality that may endear Steeler coaches to Owusu is that Stanford was a devout running team and he readily showed the willingness to dig out players in the secondary and block when needed.
7. ILB Shawn Loiseau Merrimack
NFL Comparison: Desmond Bishop Green Bay Packers
Loiseau has a nonstop motor and work ethic. Though he played at a very small school his ability as an inside backer has been noticed by scouts when going through tape late in the year. He is an all out effort type player with good instincts, block shedding ability and tackling strength. He is a project but he can be a career stud special teamer should Stevenson Sylvester turn out to be the answer inside in 2012. At the very least he will make it hard for coaches to cut him after training camp and he will provide fierce competition on the interior of the line backing core. He could surprise many if he is picked here.
7. WR Dwight Jones North Carolina
NFL Comparison: Ramses Barden New York Giants
Jones is a tall target with big hands who could turn out to be a red zone type WR in the NFL as his speed is not the best. Due to how physical he plays against man coverage he is worth consideration as Ben Roethlisberger wants larger targets to throw to. He is a late round flier at this point and will provide good competition in camp for that last WR spot.
7. FB Chad Diehl Clemson
NFL Comparison: Ovie Mughelli
Coach Tomlin alluded to possibly adding a FB talent to the fold for 2012 and Diehl is a classic sledge hammer blocker. At 6’2” 260lbs he adds almost nothing in the way of receiving but could push David Johnson back into a more traditional TE role as Wesley Saunders is suspended for the first 4 games of the season. He is a possible starter and special teamer who can spread depth back to other areas on the roster which is a need for the Steelers at this point. He is a tremendous pick here and Steeler fans will rejoice to see a FB leading the way in a draft for the Steelers that features a revamped rushing attack as a focal point of the offense moving forward.