[ricardisimo: I cannot imagine us passing on Vaccaro in this mock, but...]
- Pittsburgh Steelers: Jarvis Jones, OLB, Georgia
Walt said it best in his mock, dumb groupthink will lead to Jones falling to a smart team like the Steelers, Giants or Ravens. The Steelers could use a young play-maker to replace James Harrison, and Jones would be a dream come true for them. Sources said Pittsburgh sent its entire front office contingent to the Georgia pro day - including head coach Mike Tomlin.
Jones previously decided not to work out at the Combine, but that wassn't surprising. Scouts at the East-West Shrine told WalterFootball.com that Jones would slide on draft day because they believe he will test poorly before the 2013 NFL Draft and isn't a hard worker in the weight room. The scouts said that watching the game tape, Jones is worthy of being a top draft pick, but they don't believe he will go that high.
At his pro day, Jones verified what the scouts told us with a 40 time in the 4.9- to 5.0-second range. His other drills didn't go well either, but scouts told us he looked better in position drills.
Jones was one of the best pass-rushers in college football in 2011. He tied for the second-most sacks in the nation, 13.5. Jones also had 70 tackles, 19.5 tackles for a loss and two forced fumbles.
The junior was excellent this season. He dominated Missouri, stepping up with huge plays to help lead the Bulldogs to a win. Jones had nine tackles with two sacks, a forced fumble, a pass batted and an interception returned 21 yards to the goal line against the Tigers. He also caused two other forced fumbles that he wasn't given credit for. The turnovers the linebacker created came late in the game and sealed the win for Georgia.
Jones did the same thing to Florida. He totaled 13 tackles, 4.5 tackles for a loss, three sacks, two forced fumbles and one fumble recovery. Jones also made the game-saving play with a forced fumble around the Georgia 5-yard line in the final minutes. It was a tremendous outing that illustrated his ability to make big plays in big games.
Jones is a dynamite pass-rusher. The way he runs down signal-callers in the pocket and flies around the football field is similar to former Texas A&M linebacker Von Miller. Jones' speed and pass-rushing skills make him extremely disruptive. He has a good burst off the edge which takes tackles by surprise and sets them up for him to beat them around the corner or dodge back to the inside.
Jones never takes plays off given his non-stop motor; he gives relentless effort. Jones amassed 85 tackles, 14.5 sacks, 24.5 tackles for a loss, seven forced fumbles, three passes broken up and a pick in 2012. He led the nation in sacks, tackles for a loss and forced fumbles.
The USC transfer fit well in the Georgia defense and looks like an ideal 3-4 outside linebacker for the next level. For a 4-3 defense, he could play in a similar manner to Von Miller. The 6-foot-3, 241-pounder could be the top talent in the 2013 NFL Draft at any position.
- Pittsburgh Steelers: Eddie Lacy, RB, Alabama
The Steelers could use a franchise running back and Lacy is a great fit.
Lacy is in the mold of recent Alabama running backs. Nick Saban's ball-carriers have all had a combination of size, quickness and power. Lacy (6-0, 220) is more like Mark Ingram rather than Trent Richardson. However, Lacy has more elusiveness than Ingram as Lacy has a nice spin move that he regularly used to break away from defenders.
Following his dominant performance versus Notre Dame in National Championship Game (20-140), Lacy's 2012 totals reached 1,322 yards (6.5 average) and 17 touchdowns on only 204 carries. He was the power runner for the Crimson Tide, but lost carries to standout freshman T.J. Yeldon. Lacy caught 22 passes for 189 yards and two touchdowns, too. He had a massive performance against Georgia (20-181) in the SEC Championship.
Lacy was the backup in 2011 to star back Richardson. However, when the sophomore received carries, he made the most of them running for 631 yards on 84 carries with seven touchdowns.
Pick change; previously Robert Woods, WR
- Pittsburgh Steelers: Markus Wheaton, WR, Oregon State
Pittsburgh lands its replacement for Mike Wallace.
Wheaton (5-11, 183) put together an excellent senior season with 91 receptions for 1,244 yards and 11 touchdowns. He displayed a nice combination of reliable hands and play-making ability. Wheaton recorded 73 receptions for 986 yards and a touchdown in 2011.
Wheaton had a strong week at the Senior Bowl. He showed good route-running ability and the speed to stretch the defense downfield.
Pick change; previously Le'Veon Bell, RB
Pittsburgh Steelers: J.J. Wilcox, S, Georgia Southern
The Steelers could use some safety depth.
Wilcox (5-11, 214) is a good athlete who contributed as a runner, receiver and kick returner for Georgia Southern. He finished his career at safety and recorded 88 tackles with three passes broken up and two interceptions as a senior. Some feel that Wilcox has the speed and athleticism of a cornerback. He averaged 24 yards per kick return in college.
A strong performance at the Senior Bowl really helped Wilcox's draft status. He showed the ability to play man coverage and really competed well with the talent from the big schools.
Pittsburgh Steelers: Kwame Geathers, DT, Georgia
The Steelers could use another option at nose tackle.
Geathers (6-6, 350) is a mountain of man who is difficult to move at the line of scrimmage. He would be a good fit to remain in a 3-4 defense as a nose tackle. For a 4-3, Geathers could play as a nose tackle who occupies blockers and shuts down the inside ground game.
The junior has some speed to go with his power and size, but will need to improve his conditioning in the NFL. He was dominated in the second half of the SEC Championship by Alabama center Barrett Jones.
Geathers was the backup this year to John Jenkins, but they were also on the field at the same time in certain packages. Geathers totaled 40 tackles with five tackles for a loss, one sack and a blocked kick. He had 14 tackles as a sophomore in 2011. Geathers should've gone back to school for his senior year.